State Watch

LULAC president urges Latinas not to join the military after disappearance of Fort Hood soldier

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Domingo Garcia, the president of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), said he is urging Latinas not to join the U.S. military after the disappearance of Vanessa Guillen, a U.S. soldier stationed in Texas who went missing in April. 

Guillen, a 20-year-old from Houston, was stationed in Fort Hood, Texas when she went missing. Her family and their attorney said the military dragged its feet on the investigation, which only resulted in the arrest of the suspect this week. 

“We are asking all women, especially Latina women or their families: Do not enlist in the army until we have assurance they will be protected and taken care of when they serve our country,” Garcia said in a statement.  “And right now I just don’t believe the military is capable of doing that because of what happened to Vanessa Guillen.”

Before the two suspects were found, the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command (CID) and LULAC each pledged $25,000 for any information on the suspects’ whereabouts.

This week, human remains that Guillen’s family believes are her’s were found near the Leon River in Bell County, Texas. 

The family’s attorney, Natalie Khawam, told reporters that Guillen was killed with a hammer before her alleged attacker, Aaron David Robinson, and his girlfriend, Cecily Anne Aguilar, attempted to burn her body before dismembering her with a machete. 

Robinson died by suicide days ago after being confronted by police in Killeen, Texas, according to the CID, who is leading the investigation. Aguilar is in custody and charged with second-degree felony tampering/fabricating physical evidence.

“There’s cameras everywhere, so it’s really impossible for her to disappear there from the largest military base in the United States without anyone knowing or finding out,” Garcia said. 

Khawam said that Guillen intended to file a harassment complaint against Robinson before her death. Those claims sparked the hashtag #IamVanessaGuillen on social media, which many current and former soldiers have used to share their experiences of sexual harassment and assault on military installations.

A CID spokesperson contended at the agency’s press conference that there was “no credible information” that Guillen had faced sexual harassment. Her family is calling for a congressional investigation.

Guillen’s family and several House lawmakers have called for a congressional investigation into her disappearance. 

Tags League of United Latin American Citizens Sexual harassment Vanessa Guillen Vanessa Guillen

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