FORT HOOD, Texas (KXAN) — The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) held a press conference Friday morning outside Fort Hood where it called for a “top-down” investigation by the Pentagon and the FBI on the death of Ana Basalduaruiz, a private in the US Army.
Officials from the Army’s Criminal Investigation Division said in a news release on Thursday that “no foul play” was evident and that Basalduaruiz’s death remains under investigation.
LULAC communications director David Cruz told the press conference that the group was not there to attack the US military, but to defend the safety of the soldiers so they can better serve the nation.
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“For the military to say ‘no foul play’ would also indicate a deafness of tone to the concerns of Ana Basalduaruiz’s father and mother, who said she was subjected to alleged sexual harassment, repeated and consistent sexual harassment, by others service members, up to and including a direct superior to whom he has reported,” Cruz said. “LULAC wants those facts, it has looked into those statements, it has looked into the parties involved, allegedly talked, and we wanted it done by an outside entity.” .
LULAC drew a comparison between Basalduaruiz’s sexual harassment complaint and the 2020 death of Vanessa Guillen, another Latina female soldier at Fort Hood who reported sexual harassment.
Guillen’s death prompted legislative action under the #IAmVanessaGuillen Act, which requires the military to turn over allegations of sexual assault and misconduct to investigators outside the soldier’s chain of command.
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“Last time LULAC was here, we supported Vanessa Guillen’s mother, and she said ‘If we cannot ensure the safety of men and women, our sons and daughters and our loved ones, we cannot send them into the’ army,” Cruz said. “LULAC has not changed its position. The safety of our military is a requirement within the ranks if they continue to want to recruit our young men and women, our sons and daughters, our husbands and wives, and our loved ones.”
LULAC National Sergeant. Arms’ AnaLuisa Carrillo-Tapia also spoke at the press conference. She called on the Army to protect the well-being of soldiers to ensure they remain “mission-ready.”
“Anything that prevents them from being mission-ready is a danger to our nation,” Carrillo-Tapia said. “Our service members are one of our greatest and most valuable treasures, and anything that harms them harms us.”