The Office Of the Americas (OOA) was founded in 1983 by activist Blase Bonpane, who continues to serve as the organization's director, and his wife Theresa. Prior to creating OOA, Mr. Bonpane had helped introduce liberation theology to Latin America during his 1960s assignment as a Maryknoll priest in Guatemala. Moreover, he has worked as a commentator on the Pacifica Radio Network and as a professor at both UCLA and California State University-Northridge.
OOA is a nonprofit organization that seeks to “end the long-standing international culture of militarism” and promote worldwide “justice and peace” through a variety of “broad-based educational programs.”
OOA's public education campaigns are targeted broadly toward students, religious and human-rights groups, and “all others concerned about issues of international justice and peace.” The organization's major programs include the following:
offering information and commentary to mainstream and independent media as well as to scholarly publications;
producing TV and radio commentaries, including World Focus, a weekly broadcast for the Pacifica network;
holding press conferences and background briefings;
assisting in the production of documentary, feature film, and TV presentations;
publishing Reports from Blase Bonpane;
lecturing at universities and at meetings of “peace and justice” groups nationally;
disseminating information on legislative issues;
providing services for, and networking with, other “peace and justice” organizations; and
presenting expert testimony in litigation before federal courts.
During the 1980s and '90s, OOA consistently denounced America's involvement in Central and South American affairs. Indeed, the Bonpanes led dozens of delegations and thousands of Americans to areas of conflict in Nicaragua, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras, where they joined locals in publicly denouncing U.S. policies in those places. In 1994, OOA worked in Chiapas, Mexico to arbitrate talks between the Mexican government and the Zapatistas, an armed group of anti-free trade Mexican revolutionaries. In July 2007, an OOA trip to Nicaragua was sponsored by the pro-Sandinista organization Nicaragua Network.
OOA also helped bring numerous Latin American luminaries to the United States to speak on college campuses and in other forums about the harm that U.S. policies had inflicted on their countries. Among these speakers were such notables as former Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega; Miguel d'Escoto and Ernesto Cardenal, former cabinet-level ministers in Ortega's Sandinista government; Salvadoran rebel leader Ruben Zamora; and Nobel Peace Prize winner Rigoberta Menchu.
In addition to its consistent opposition to United States foreign policies, OOA has also been unremittingly critical of American domestic affairs. Characterizing the U.S. penal system as racist and corrupt to its core, for instance, OOA asserts: “Just as in the case of the arms business during the Cold War and the eternal Bush Wars, corporate profits are the driving forces for the prison industrial complex.”
 Central to this mission is a campaign designed to discredit those “areas of U.S. foreign policy” that are “illegal and/or immoral.” “We have lived in a culture that glorifies war,” Bonpane once said. “We have to abolish the war system.”
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