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News ::
29 Sep 2003
Modified: 11:14:16 PM

By Bill Hackwell
San Francisco
Via Workers World News Service
Reprinted from the Oct. 2, 2003
issue of Workers World newspaper


By Bill Hackwell
San Francisco

Fernando Suarez del Solar is a man who measures his words. He does not
appear particularly comfortable speaking in front of microphones and
television cameras. But since March 27 that is what he has been doing.
On Sept. 19, after traveling throughout Northern California speaking to community groups and students, he told his story to a meeting here of the Act Now to Stop War and End Racism coalition.

It was on March 27 that his son, Jesus Alberto del Solar Navarro, a
Marine with Delta Company, was killed in Iraq near the Kuwaiti border.
Since then the lives of his family members have completely changed.

When three Marine officers came to the family home in Escondido, Calif., with an official "We regret to inform you" letter, del Solar wanted to know what had happened, to get some closure.

"They lied to me," he says. "To this day they won't return my calls or
give me straight answers about how my son died."

The Marines told del Solar that his son had been shot in the head in
battle with Iraqi forces. Then, in a Marine ceremony for Jesus, aired on ABC, it was announced that he had died when he stepped on a cluster

Weeks later a soldier who had been there came to their house and told
them that Jesus had been the lead scout in the unit. After the cluster
bomb went off, the commander told them to keep moving, there was nothing they could do. It took three hours for a helicopter to get to him. By that time the 20-year-old had bled to death in the sand.

He left behind a wife and infant son.

The military offered a free burial--but in a military cemetery. This was not in keeping with Mexican traditions of burying the dead close to the family. The funeral cost over $4,000, which the military refused to pay.

All that changed, however, when the soldier's father started to speak
out and money started to flood in from all over the world. The military said they would pay for the funeral if del Solar would stop speaking out against the war. In the end, the family took the money, but the father to this day continues to speak out against military recruitment and the war.

Fernando Suarez del Solar had moved his family from Tijuana, Mexico, in the early 1990s. Like thousands of other Mexican immigrants, they hoped to escape poverty and find opportunity. Before he was 18, Jesus started to get phone calls and literature from military recruiters, urging him to join for the adventure.

"It was relentless. It wasn't like they were lying, they just weren't
telling him the truth," his father recalls. Jesus joined the Marines
against his father's advice. His letters from boot camp told how racist the drill instructors were. "They would constantly slander his Mexican heritage and this would make Jesus furious."

The Latino and Black soldiers constantly had to prove themselves by do
ing extra push-ups and early-morning duty. On Feb. 5, the day Jesus left for Iraq, he told his father to make sure that none of his cousins joined the military. "It's not for us."

Jesus, like 35,000 other immigrants with green card status who are
fighting in Iraq, hoped to get U.S. citizenship by going to war. After
his death he was awarded U.S. citizenship posthumously. His father
didn't want to accept it. "It meant nothing to us and was an insult. It was like Bush saying, oh poor little boy, he died in my war, give him this." Later on, the family decided to accept the citizenship for
Jesus's wife and son. "They change the immigration rules all the time.
For us, you never know what can happen or when you might get deported.
We felt this might be some protection for them."

What would this grieving father tell President Bush? "My son went to
Iraq not for the reasons you told him but to watch over the oil fields. I would like to know, what is the magic number? How many deaths do you need to fill the tank in your car? How many gallons of oil are equal to the blood being spilled there by the American people? The people need to know the truth about this war.

"Send your two daughters to the front lines in Iraq, and see what they
tell you when they get back."

- END -

(Copyright Workers World Service: Everyone is permitted to copy and
distribute verbatim copies of this document, but changing it is not
allowed. For more information contact Workers World, 55 W. 17 St., NY,
NY 10011; via e-mail: ww (at) Subscribe wwnews-
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I am sure the brave marine would disagree (english)
29 Sep 2003
I am sure the brave young marine would disagree with your explotation of his death. Obviously he possesed the intestional fortitude to defend his country and his family.

You simple fuck, you coward, go back to smoking weed and stay the fuck out of world politics, or better yet, move to canada
Leo at it again (english)
29 Sep 2003
spreading his ignorant hatred of the world. Young soldiers who are uneducated, innocent and naive are the ones who are exploited by the war-profiteers.

All war-loving politicians exploit young soldiers who know nothing of war. And the masses who suffer from a sickness called nationalism go right along--whether it's Bush or Hitler.