FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Young Choe, 347-885-9226
Sonny Le, 510-919-0790
Christine Ahn, 310-482-9333 or 011-82-10-5846-8020
(in Korea, Nov 20-24)
Cindy Sheehan and Medea Benjamin Leading
Delegation to South Korea; U.S. Activists Join South Koreans to Protest
U.S. Military Base Expansion and U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement
NEW YORK, Nov. 17 -- American peace activists Cindy
Sheehan and Medea Benjamin are leading a delegation of U.S. peace and
social justice activists to South Korea to oppose the expansion of Camp
Humphrey, the US military base in Pyeongtaek, South Korea and to protest
the proposed Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement.
The delegation of 18, who will be in Korea from November 20 to November
24, includes members of Working Families Party, Veterans for Peace, Service
Employees International Union, CodePink,
Global Exchange, and Gold Star Families for Peace. This will be the first
trip to Korea for Sheehan, whose son Casey was killed in Iraq, and Benjamin,
founder of Global Exchange and CodePink.
They will meet with elderly Korean farmers of Pyongtaek, whose farmland
and homes were violently seized by the Korean military to accommodate
the expansion of the U.S. military base. For over two years, Korean farmers
have exhausted every legal channel and resisted relocation, holding candlelight
vigils for 800 nights.
"The U.S. government spends $9 billion dollars a month on overseas
military operations," said Cindy Sheehan, "We are traveling
to Korea to witness first-hand how U.S. tax dollars are being spent to
destroy Korean farm lands, homes, schools and lives."
According to Kisuk Yom, head of the Korean-American coalition leading
the U.S. delegation, "There is no democracy for elderly villagers
whose farmlands were stolen. The South Korean public, too, has been silenced,
yet they are the ones who will suffer the consequences of a future military
On Nov. 22, the delegation will join the nationwide mobilization against
the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement. One million Koreans are expected
to take to the streets in Seoul. "The proposed FTA will dramatically
expand the failed model of NAFTA," says Christine Ahn, policy analyst
with the Korea Policy Institute. "We will let the Korean people know
what NAFTA has meant for working Americans: factories shutting down and
farms falling into foreclosure."
Korean Americans against War and Neoliberalism, (KAWAN), a coalition
of U.S.-based Korean organizations working to stop the passage of the
FTA and the expansion of the U.S. military base, is the sponsor and organizer
of the trip. "We hope this delegation will return to the U.S. to
tell the American people about the true human cost of the U.S. military
expansion in Korea," said Hyukkyo Suh, Executive Director of National
Association of Korean Americans. "Korea is a democratic and sovereign
nation, and the Korean people want -- as they deserve -- to make decisions
that will affect their lives for years to come."