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Letter from Louie
Brother Louis De Benedette, member of the Clarence Fitch Chapter of Vietnam Veterans Against the War, has started his 4-month sentence for actions at the School of the Americas on Veterans Day 1995. Louie is incarcerated in the federal correctional facility at Otisville, New York, an old Army camp converted to a prison - Louie probably does not feel right at home...
- Ben Chitty USN 65-9 VN 66-7 68 NY/VVAW
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June 27, 1996
I am in Otisville Camp, NY. Been here for 1 week and get out Oct 20. It is sometimes boring since there is not much diversion, and being 53 I cannot lift weights 12 hours a day or play sports. The camp is adjacent to the penitentiary in Otisville. We are 100 men, and we work the grounds outside the main prison. There are also 20 or so deer. The men are serving 6-10 year sentences, mostly drug-related. These sentences are too long for non-violent crimes.
I hope you got my video. Alvaro and I wanted to do this so that you all would know him. The next time he returns I'll start with us vets. Too much had to be done, and I had to work to raise money. Alvaro is back in Peru and I'll be hearing about him by letter and through a friend who will call him in Peru. I worry about those kids. It's really a horrible government and military. Someday I may have to get them all out of there because I do not see any movement that can change the military. I believe it is important to do what I do, but even if we close the school, I do not know what that would mean to Peru. I suspect the military would continue. Maybe a nonviolent movement will arise like the one Alvaro's mother belonged to.
In the end, I believe we need to disarm our own government and this is far more difficult than almost anything else in the world. Our name is truly prophetic - the Vietnam Veterans Against the War. Let's never forget why we exist and the fraternity and the community we have. We are necessary, and we are brothers and sisters.
De Benedette, Louis
F.C.I. Otisville, The Camp
P.O. Box 1000
Otisville, NY 10963