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A Letter from Latino Military Families

Bring Our Children Home from Iraq Now!

by Maritza Castillo, Miladys Guerrero, Estela Guerrero, Maria Carrasquillo, Et Al.

September 12, 2003

Michael G. Jones
Colonel, U.S. Army (Ret)
Strategic Planning Office
Florida Department Of Military Affairs

Dear Colonel Jones,

We, the relatives of the Florida National Guard soldiers want to express our position in relation to the last postponement of the return of our soldiers back home. We want to inform you that we are united in the fight for the return of our soldiers.

This letter shall serve to remind you that these soldiers have now been away from our homes for eight months, away from their children, wives and parents, away from their universities and jobs, involved in a guerilla war in an unknown country, not knowing the culture or the language of the place, menaced by mines, bombs and guns, risking their lives 24 hours a day, standing in their uniforms and carrying their equipment in temperatures of up to 130? F.

In less than 3 months, this small company has suffered countless attacks, leaving 4soldiers crippled and another soldier in coma, not to mention the injured soldiers at the AR Ramadi.

The National Guard soldiers are civilians, not active members of the Army. They have never received the training for combat in the desert or to face urban guerrillas. We know that, since their arrival at AR Ramadi, our young soldiers have been patrolling and searching the houses of presumed guerrilla forces. We know that they lack adequate equipment, that in many cases they have patrolled without bulletproof vests and without the necessary ammunition to face the guerrilla forces. Isn’t this enough? How many months, how many abuses are we supposed to endure?

We will not mention each suffering and difficulty that our soldiers have endured. We just want to tell you that we know what they are going through and that we will not keep quiet in the face of this dishonor. We will not rest until our young soldiers come back to our homes.

We are determined to continue on this campaign to the end. If necessary, a group of mothers will go on an indefinite hunger strike. You will not only be responsible for the lives of our soldiers, but for that of their mothers. We shall not accept political apologies. Lack of governmental will by President Bush to work together with the United Nations and to restore the power to the Iraqis is the reason why the participation of an international force comprised by big nations is not possible. The coalition we are being told about does not really exist. It is our troops that carry the load of this war. It is our children who are being sacrificed due to an arrogant and unfair attitude.

For this and for other reasons, we demand the return of our soldiers now!! We shall not abandon our loved ones; we shall not abandon our troops. We shall continue demanding their return day-by-day, street-by-street, door-to-door. We will ask the world to join us. We will not abandon our fight until our soldiers are back in our homes.

Respectfully yours,

Maritza Castillo
Miladys Guerrero
Estela Guerrero
Maria Carrasquillo
Julio C. D’Augerot
Antonia Mendieta
Carlos A. Mejia
Teresa Lugo
Johanna Guevara
Anna Caballero
Mario Murillo
Patricia Luna
Ligia S?nchez
Patricia Cabadiana
Mirtha Bonilla
Claudia Gonzalez
Paola Gomez
Euri Vel?squez
Ingrid Soriano
Ana Guerrero