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Latinos Demand: U.S. Out of Iraq

By staff

Los Angeles, CA – On Aug. 27, Latinos Against War In Iraq, SEIU Local 660, National Chicano Moratorium Committee, Partido Nacional de La Raza Unida, MECHA and other community and labor groups will participate in a mass march and rally to demand an end to the U.S. occupation of Iraq. The demands also include that the U.S. get out of Latin America and an end to U.S. military recruiting of Latino youth in high schools. The protest will start at 10 a.m. in Belvedere Park, East Los Angeles and will m arch to Salazar Park for rally at noon.

The event will also commemorate the 35th anniversary of the historic Chicano Moratorium of Aug. 29, 1970, when over 30,000 Latinos protested the war in Vietnam and the high casualty rate of Chicanos. That massive rally was attacked by the L.A. sheriffs department and L.A. police, causing a rebellion were three people died and hundreds were injured and arrested. Ruben Salazar, KMEX news director and LA Times writer, was killed by the Los Angeles County sheriffs, and became a martyr of the Chicano community.

Latinos feel that our war is here at home – in the struggle for genuine equality and justice, free from racism and poverty. Our fight is for education, health care and good jobs.

Latino youth are targeted by the U.S. military for recruitment, especially in inner-city schools with a high number of immigrant youth. These students already face overcrowded schools and high drop-out rates. The military offers money, immigration status and citizenship. These youth are sent to fight, die and kill in foreign lands in unjust wars and are not provided the opportunities for college admissions and skilled jobs. Many of these youth have fled harsh conditions in Mexico caused by NAFTA or have fled from war-torn Central America where the U.S. government supports repressive military regimes.

The recent Latino service men killed in Iraq is reminiscent of the high casualty rate of Latinos in the Vietnam War. “This targeting for military recruitment of our Latino youth is a racist practice. Our youth should be recruited to college and jobs, not war,” states David Cid, teacher at El Sereno Middle School and member of Latinos Against War In Iraq.

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