Veteran peace activist Sally-Alice Thompson of Albuquerque spoke at a candlelight vigil in Estancia on July 12. The Independent spoke with Thompson about her activism.

Thompson is a 95-year-old World War II Army veteran, said she became a peace activist near the end of the Vietnam War. “It became so completely obvious that it was all wrong that I finally had to face the fact that I was wrong and do a turnaround,” she said.

Thompson spoke to a crowd of about 200 at Arthur park in Estancia on July 12.

Estancia vigil July 12. Photo by Thomas Campbell.

The gathering, a “candlelight vigil” was organized locally by Margarita Mercure-Hibbs in conjunction with Lights for Liberty, a grassroots organization whose mission is “to end human detention camps,” and ensure compassionate care for refugees at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Thompson said the country should have a military that protects its borders.

“I’m concerned with more than just the children on the border,” she added. “I’m concerned about the children in Venezuela and the children in Cuba and in Iran, in North Korea, all the places where we’re putting sanctions on countries, not permitting food and medicine to go in.”

She said she has been “fasting against sanctions and sieges.” At the advice of concerned friends, she modified her fast after a week of no food, and now eats a limited amount, she said.

“Our government makes it so difficult for people in Central and South America by supporting dictators instead of democratically elected leaders,” Thompson said. She continued, “Instead, we support dictators in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras that are compliant with corporations at the expense of their own people. Living conditions become intolerable and they have to leave and look for something better. People don’t want to leave their homes. I want to do anything I can to support the people on the border, and especially the children, but all the people. They all deserve support regardless of age.”

Thompson said, “The children on the border are not getting proper food and medication, but they’re not the only ones. Thousands of children have already died because of sanctions. It’s the fault of the United States government. We have no right to keep out food and medicine. We must stop trying to run the whole world.”

Sally-Alice Thompson in Estancia. Photo by Thomas Campbell.

Thompson said she is the oldest member of Veterans for Peace, a worldwide organization whose goal is to end war.

The Independent sought comment unsuccessfully from Mercure-Hibbs for this story.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement has been contacted several times by The Independent in an attempt to obtain comment and a tour of the Estancia prison run by CoreCivic and contracted with ICE through Torrance County.

The prison will be used for federal prisoners, Torrance County prisoners and temporary housing of detained male refugees, according to Torrance County manager Wayne Johnson.

As of this writing, no prisoners are being housed at the prison, according to Johnson.