El Paso-centric info and commentary from the Center of North America

NPT DC: An El Paso soldier protests: ‘Military recruiters are targeting young people in Latino communities’

From a news release by the ANSWER Coalition, an activist group planning and carrying out anti-war activities in D.C.:

Eric Murillo, a U.S. Army veteran from El Paso, Texas, decried, “Military recruiters are targeting young people in Latino communities. Our communities face high unemployment and young people are struggling to be able to pay the tuition costs necessary to go to school. The recruiters are offering the promise of citizenship to immigrant youth. This is the most cynical manipulation by the Pentagon. Our young people need real jobs. We need affordable education and immigrants need full legal rights.”

Follow the jump for the full text of the news release.

Murillo being interviewed Thursday

Iraq War veterans carried out a dramatic banner drop at the headquarters of the Veterans Administration in Washington, D.C., on the 6th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq.

A U.S. Army National Guard veteran scaled the facade of the VA building and dropped a 25 foot-long, 6 foot-high banner that read “Veterans Say No to War and Occupation, March 21st – March on the Pentagon.” He was handcuffed and detained.

The dramatic banner drop was carried out in front of a well-attended press conference organized by the Veterans and Service Members Task Force of the ANSWER Coalition.

“This is the beginning of three days of sustained activities timed to coincide with the sixth anniversary of the illegal invasion of Iraq. On Saturday, March 21st, veterans and service members will be the lead contingent in the National March on the Pentagon,” stated James Circello, an Iraq War veteran and a spokesperson for the group.

Other speakers at the press conference included representatives from Iraq Veterans Against the War. Also present were delegations from Veterans for Peace and Vietnam Veterans Against the War.

Eric Murillo, a U.S. Army veteran from El Paso, Texas, decried, “Military recruiters are targeting young people in Latino communities. Our communities face high unemployment and young people are struggling to be able to pay the tuition costs necessary to go to school. The recruiters are offering the promise of citizenship to immigrant youth. This is the most cynical manipulation by the Pentagon. Our young people need real jobs. We need affordable education and immigrants need full legal rights.”

Similar actions were organized today in cities throughout the country by the Veterans and Service Members Task Force of the ANSWER Coalition.

More than 1,200 organizations are co-sponsoring the protests set for Saturday, March 21st in Washington, D.C., Los Angeles and San Francisco. The demonstration in Washington, D.C., will begin at 12:00 noon at 23rd St. and Constitution Ave. NW. The demonstration will march to the Pentagon, and then on to the headquarters of Boeing, Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, and KBR (the former Halliburton subsidiary), located in Crystal City, Virginia. The marchers will carry hundreds of flag-draped coffins representing the multinational victims of the U.S. war drive.

For more information about the Saturday, March 21st march, go to

Written by newspapertreeelpaso

March 20, 2009 at 10:40 am

Posted in Uncategorized

26 Responses

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  1. I don’t think the recruiters tied your hands or forced you to sign on the dotted line. ~ a veteran~


    March 20, 2009 at 11:41 am

  2. He’s a veteran and has earned the right to say these things.

    I heard these same accusations before, just depends where the protest is being held, the only difference was the race, economic group or ethic background and education. The US Army is not specifically targeting “LATINOS”.

    The appeal is jobs, benefits,education and a sizable cash bonus depending on the field YOU CHOOSE.

    The economny is a major factor and we are in bad shape right now, so where you think a lot of people, young and older go. The raised the age limit to 42 and there is no shortage of those folks going into the service. They have mother AND fathers joining with their children.

    Ive gone with young folks to see recruiters and everyone of them had the contract checked and rechecked to ensure the enlistee understood what they were getting and to determine if there were any misleading promises being made. They also made it a point to discuss everything with the parents.

    Are there any recruiters being sneaky, probably, but they are far and few. Just as in any profession.


    March 20, 2009 at 11:42 am

  3. They didn’t tie the hands of my comrade, the situation presented to him as a young Chicano living in the desolation of Dell City did that.

    Realize, Mrs. Duke, that for many, the military is presented as the only option.

    Do it up Eric!


    Dave Cortez

    March 20, 2009 at 11:44 am

  4. When I joined the U.S. Air Force in 1963, nobody forced me to sign and to raise my hand as a soldier of the United States. A friend of mine wanted me to join the Navy under the Buddy System. He was going to benefit by gaining his residency and, eventually, citizenship. But, he kept putting it off, until I decided to leave him behind and join the Air Force. There is nothing wrong with a young Chicano joining the military. And, there is absolutely nothing wrong with promising citizenship. The way the economy is going nowadays, it makes sense to join the military. The military has been at the forefront in pushing Chicanos to learn more about the world, to pursue higher education, to learn to defend his/her country in times of war and in times of peace. I know I’m going to get blasted by my Chicano brethren, who think anything to do with the military is damn and damnation. I joined the service because I wanted to go to college under the GI Bill. Otherwise, I never would have been able to attend U.T.E.P., Columbia University, or any other school. But, hey, it’s my country too – and I love it so much, that I will do anything it takes to defend my beloved USA.

    Sin Fin

    Joe Olvera

    March 20, 2009 at 12:18 pm

  5. While a recruiter did not “tie my hands” I was recruited in high school at the age of 17. As a US citizen, and grandson of a WWII veteran, I did not have to join, but did so because I did initially believe in what the US ARMY was doing throughout the world. I no longer feel this way.

    As an NBC (Nuclear Biological Chemical) non- commissioned officer, I believed that our mission in Iraq was just. The Iraq regime was supposed to have sophisticated chemical and biological weapons, (which they aquired from our government-Iran/Iraq war?) which threatened world peace. This of course was proven to be false, since Iraq did not use, nor did we find these so called WMD’s.

    This was our initial justification for the Iraq invasion. The invasion was in fact a criminal act, and under international law – wars of preemtion are in fact illegal. If we say otherwise, then any country that we threaten (N. Korea, Iran, others) would have the right to carry out attacks on our soil.

    In any case, I am not against the veterans, the military, or any other such nonsense. I am against unjust wars and a broken government that does little to take care of the veterans that come home from these horrible wars. Just take a walk in downtown and you’ll find that a large numbers of the homeless are in fact veterans. Is this a way to treat the ones who we are supposed to honor?

    Veterans need jobs and education, not illegal wars and occupations.

    If you all want to join me in fighting for veterans rights and better treatment of these warriors, I welcome you. I’m also willing to have a debate or just have a conversation. I do not view the military as the “enemy”. The enemy is those who wage wars for the benefit of the few. Look around you brothers and sisters. Who is gaining from these wars? How about KBR, Boeing, Halliburton, and on and on.

    Who is not? Veterans are in fact among the hardest hit by the nations economic situation…and yet we continue to pump billions of dollars into these occupations.


    Eric Murillo
    Medically retired in 2006

    Eric Murillo

    March 20, 2009 at 1:15 pm

  6. To all who served with honor,

    Thank you for your service.


    March 20, 2009 at 2:56 pm

  7. You’re welcome! May you never thirst, may you never hunger, may you never want.


    March 20, 2009 at 5:56 pm

  8. Pues que estas pendejo? Its a matter of being an American! Not a Mexican, a Hillbilly, a negro, a redneck, a jew… and its not the FBI, the police departments …Sir its the American people, the honest, the common sense thinking people that make the REPUBLIC, the UNION of people of this great country, GREAT. I didnt spend four long arduous years in the Marines to hear this B.S. I feel for you, your injuries but you could have stayed out sell dope and find your head in a five gallon bucket. Think of that next time you cash all your checks, son.

    big ed

    March 20, 2009 at 6:07 pm

  9. I was 17 years old when I graduate from High School. Being an Army Brad I firm believe and still do that every women and man should serve their country. Yes war is hello but since Christ time, the the Roman Army and strongly believed defending Roman at what ever cost. We as American have always taken freedom as what is owe to you but let us not forget that if it wasn’t for those proudly Veterans who many gave it all and served are the ones be thank for their sacrifice.

    I think those Veterans that protest against their country for sending them to war, should always not forget those before them that some gave it all and others put life on the line this great country. We all were proud to do our duties with out any complaint. These Past War Veteran (99%)service with honor and pride without any pressure or promise, you young services women and men have suffer like all of us but you lack maturity to understand that “FREEDOM COMES AT COST, IT IS NOT FREE”

    I was young when I first went to Vietnam on Dec 18, 1964. I a pround leg man (INFRANTRY)facesing the world totally difference what I was brought up with. I quickly learned to adapt to my surrounding and also the reality of the situation I was go to embark on. Yes my four tours in Vietnam, I fear for the life my troops and mine.

    If I was again to service my country, I will proudly serve and the USA. That freedom of speech is owe to you all but those who served and still serving.

    I strongly request to those protest agaisn your Country should take a different approach by “MAKE A BETTER PLACE TO LIVE, LEAVE THE USA.” If those that are protesting and think this country is not worth fight for, get at the USA. All of you remind me of two traitors by the name Jane Fonda and John Kerry. Fonda for action at the HANOI HILTON (pows)by giving small notes each pow believe that she would taken back to USA but instead turn those precious note to the emeny causing the beating to death some pows and leaving other pows with memory of the Beating, that Jane Fonda betray of our fellow comrades.

    I strongly oppose with what you young Veterans are doing. Spend your mind and energy to help USA much better with Liberty for all.


    SSGT E-6 Miguel A. Sotomayor Jr., who serve four tour with the 1st. Infantry Division Dec 28, 1964 – Nov 18, 1968 and do it again if call to defend the USA.

    SSGT-E6 Miguel A. Sotomayor Jr

    March 20, 2009 at 8:20 pm

  10. I am touched by your powerful words, Eric. Blind “Patriotism” is one of the most dangerous weapons on this Earth. Listen to these guys, the ones angry at your stance, their bitterness and lack of logic is stunning. No, sir, i will not give my life to become a pawn in Cheney’s reptilian oil game. The Bush’s are in bed with the Saudis, and were recruiting businesses to Iraq using the war as a marketing tool. This is fact. How could we allow the past administration to wage a war and allow the vice president ( and countless others) to BENEFIT MONETARILY for this? it’s nothing short of criminal and you know it! Open your eyes, America. They use fearmongering to scare the people into submission. The American Way is not to blindly take your licks from Uncle Sam but to think, be industrious and speak up when you see an injustice. Those that call it lack of patriotism are only foolimg themselves, because the rest of America is waking up. Add some depth to your thoughts, I dare you.


    March 21, 2009 at 7:20 am

  11. “Pues que estas pendejo? Its a matter of being an American! Not a Mexican, a Hillbilly, a negro, a redneck, a jew… and its not the FBI, the police departments …Sir its the American people, the honest, the common sense thinking people that make the REPUBLIC, the UNION of people of this great country, GREAT. I didnt spend four long arduous years in the Marines to hear this B.S. I feel for you, your injuries but you could have stayed out sell dope and find your head in a five gallon bucket. Think of that next time you cash all your checks, son.”

    Oh, and this guy, look at the hatred, the bigotry. maybe he felt his only option as a Mexicano was to “Sell dope”. Sorry sir, but thats not the only option. Don’t act like you’re schooling this young man with your hateful ramblings. Just compare both writings, his logic, his respectful questioning, and your feeble racist rant. “a Hillbilly, a negro, a redneck, a jew…” believe me, those words prove you don’t love AMERICANS or even yourself at that.

    Eric, keep using your voice, speak clearly and your words of TRUE patriotism will inspire and motivate for positive change, the real American Way.


    March 21, 2009 at 7:32 am

  12. The indictments of the last war are fueled by personal politics and hatred for the last administration not some movement to save the US or help Veterans.

    If you want indictments for misleading the people, there will be a lot more Past Presidents than the last one, to include those already buried. Better take a minute to study our past history before you continue your rush to judgement.

    Study Truman’s real decision to use the A bomb, Eisehower’s involvement in Indochina, JFK’s Bay of Pigs and Laos, Johnson’s Gulf of Tonkin, Clinton Executive Order for Kidnapping-Secret Interrogations, Carter’s signing of the largest Target list in history and of course we all know what just happened. Talk about war contracts, study the list of investors from both parties in Viet Nam.

    Each of those Presidents had different motivations, some honorable and some not so honorable. Nevertheless they misled the people with a white lie here and there. Geopolitics are difficult and very risky but govern the way these Presidents make decisions. I am just glad not to be the President, a tough job with a lot of second guessers.

    I dont like wars anymore than you do, my father was permanently disabled in Korea, I was wounded in Viet Nam and now my son is disabled from Iraq. Sometimes wars are unavoidable. I wont be cheering when the next group is sent for the next one, but neither will I walk with shame because I was in one of the last ones.

    I only defend your right to say the things you say because you are a Veteran and an American but that doesnt remove the nasty taste it leaves in my mouth from the things being said by you and others.


    March 21, 2009 at 10:14 am

  13. Army recruiters do target the ‘economically disadvantaged.’ Their job is to fill a quota with qualified ‘warm bodies.’ They won’t find many in Beverly Hills or other affluent communities. They are not supposed to lie or mislead and can be punished for doing so. Like any good salesman they will accentuate the positives and downplay the negatives. The Army doesn’t pick the wars we fight.


    March 21, 2009 at 2:36 pm

  14. Half the kids in Beverly Hills probably dont work because of the family money, the rest enter the family business. So that is a bad example.

    Go with with an applicant before he ships. He will have all his paperwork checked by the recruiter, the recruiter’s boss and an NCO who is not assigned with the Recruiters. This NCO will take the applicant into a room away from the Recruiter and reverify the contract and discuss any promises. Is it possible someone could pull a fast one, maybe, but not likely.

    The majority of ENLISTEES that quit Basic or hate the service will hide their shortcomings by blaming the recruiter. The military has a program now, that a recruit can quit basic and go home with no repercussions.

    I have met many enlisted and officers that come from wealthly families. The recruiters will target anyone that is willing to listen. You will find that a very large number of military are much better educated than their civilian counterparts, so we not talking about some dummy enlisting..

    Those days of getting a drunk to sign a contract and shipped out are LONG gone. We have many enlistees and officers enter active duty, over the age of 30, these arent kids and know what is expected. Most go on and become excellent military people..

    By the way, they do have recruiting stations in afflulent communities and they still meet their goals.


    March 21, 2009 at 6:28 pm

  15. Eric Murillo: your followup comment to your NPT article didn’t mention the premise of that article at all. All of a sudden your train of thought became treatment of vets, vice the initial “targeting” of Latinos.

    How often are you checking in to see the comments posted here?

    I guess you could get a second NPT article out of your comment, if you tried.

    As for your supporter Gris, the names have changed, my friend. I haven’t heard a peep out of Cheney or Bush in two months. Yet the blame game goes on, because it’s hard to get rid of old habits and start thinking about new personalities running the same game. This, I think, is the chief revelation that will come to those who spent the last eight years hating on personalities — in error. It’s the system that should have been focused on; Obama’s Administration, Bush’s Administration, and so on, going back to the OPEC rise in the 1970s. How stupid to have hated all these years on “BushCo” when they were practically pawns themselves. How amateurish.

    4 Borders Pundit

    March 21, 2009 at 7:37 pm


    sergio martinez

    March 22, 2009 at 9:34 am

  17. Saludos,

    Look for an op ed after I return from DC. There is still alot of work to do here in the city, but as soon as things slow down, I will write about the event. Will be back in EP Monday.


    Eric Murillo

    March 22, 2009 at 1:31 pm

  18. Eric it seems you are the “pawn” of an anti-war group. There is a problem with your statement of recruiters targeting Latinos. Eric maybe you forgot but El Paso is over 75% Latino. You are misleding the American people who don’t know the demographics of El Paso. You are beening used.

    And to the rest of you who think the armed services are target certain minorities SHOW SOME PROOF! Stop making stuff up. A recent article in Marine Corps Time put that lie to bed. The military is picture of the American society. Maybe some more logic and depth is needed before such lies are passed off as truth. I dare you to tell the truth!

    Sgt Manuel Alvarez USMC
    29 Palms, CA

    Manuel Alvarez

    March 22, 2009 at 10:23 pm

  19. Sgt Alvarez, let him have his 15 minutes of fame. He will slowly disappear from the media after they no longer have a use for him. Sadly he doesnt realize that a protest of that size goes largely unnoticed by Washingtonians.

    Remember Cindy Sheehan that USED her son’s death for her 15 minutes. She forgot that her son VOLUNTEERED for Iraq, BELIEVED in his duty and was PROUD to serve there.


    March 23, 2009 at 8:00 am

  20. It is a shame that these attacks come from the same people who themselves are under attack. It seems that anytime that anyone disagrees with the US GOVERNMENTS policy, it is taken as a sign of disloyalty to the nation and disrespect to other veterans. Perhaps the level of indoctrination that you endured was much more severe than mine.

    Pendejo? Orale! Que viva la raza no? This is hardly worth responding to. I feel sad for you hermano, but in spite of the inappropriate response, I am not angry but rather disappointed in the response.

    For everyone out there who continues to let veterans suggest that only they are qualified to talk about the governments actions, please disregard. We are ALL responsible for our governments actions and we all fund these wars much like we do the bail out and bonuses that the AIG execs receive. WAKE UP!

    The statement regarding Latinos being targeted was made in Washington DC and referred to the problem on a national level…not just El Paso. Since you live in the city though, maybe you should watch some Spanish television, particularly Futbol matches which are often time sponsered by the US Marines or US Army. Maybe you should spend some time in some time in Bowie HS, Ysleta HS, Socorro HS, and on and on…then compare that to Coronado HS and other higher income schools in the city.

    In any case, here is a link to an article written by a Chicano studies prof. in Califas –

    More to follow on these numbers.

    By the way, when were you last in the service? I was medically retired in 2006 so maybe your comments reflect your era.

    Dave, Gris, and others…thank you for your support! We can no longer be silent. Special thanks to Vietnam Veterans against the War, IVAW, Veterans for Peace, and the other members of the ANSWER Coalition – Veterans and Servicemembers Taskforce for the work done during the march against the military industrial complex.

    Un abrazo

    Eric Murillo

    March 23, 2009 at 3:33 pm

  21. There is contradiction in statements. First you state the remarks reflect an era, therefore no longer valid,but embrace the VIET NAM V


    March 23, 2009 at 4:07 pm

  22. Strange the system didnt let me finish the statement.

    As I was saying you embrace the Viet Nam Veterans Protest group, then you imply there is disloyality for expressing opposition to your statements.

    Your statements are not NEW, they are recycled 60ish speeches. So dont be quick to pat yourself. It is strange that these groups always claim a certain ethic group is targeted, the group type changes when they change neigborhoods.

    He is trying to convince you we are not past the days when blacks were cooks, fillipinos were waiters and hispanics were the ditch diggers or cannon fodder. Turn off the 1940’s movie.

    The indoctrination you speak of, is called loyalty to my country, fellow servicemembers and MYSELF. Also a basic and real comprehension that is nothing is free, especially freedom and citizenship is something to be proud of..

    You havent seen the tears of gratitude of a citizen of foreign country when you arrive. Watch the Movies, Killing Fields or Schindlers List and then decide if what we do is so disgraceful or we are used.

    I will defend you as a Veteran and an American but that’s as far it goes. There is no need to use profanity, he is one of ours and has earned the right to disagree.

    There is much disappointment in the remarks he makes. With time his bitterness will pass and the healing will start.


    March 23, 2009 at 4:34 pm

  23. Eric you are truly a sad individual. My article that I refer to was in this past December 2008 issue of Marine Corps Times (by the way to was re-printedin the Army Times, Navy Times, and Air Force.) But you use a 2003 article written by a chicano professor, published in a chicano newspaper. Hardly fair and balanced.

    “A recent Pew study shows that Latinos are relatively underrepresented in the military when compared with their numbers in the civilian workforce, yet they are overrepresented in combat units, comprising 9.49 percent of the enlisted personnel, but 17.74 percent of those directly handling guns.” I know this is hard for you to fathom but have you ever considered that maybe those Latinos DID NOT score very well on their ASVAB? I know this is a shocking possiblity. Maybe those Latinos are grunts because they did not qualify for technical fields and NOT because of their skin color or last name. I know, once again shocking.

    What era are you from? I enlisted in September 2004 out of the Coronado recruiting station. I worked hard to earn my Sgt stripes. I am still serving till April 2009. So what era are from again?

    I too defend you as a Veteran and as an American. But I can’t stand for, is your misleding statements. It is also true it is your God-given right as an American to disagree but so do I and the others who disagree with you.

    Tell you what why don’t you send care packages to our brothers and sisters that are still in the sand box. Do something positive. Or maybe donate to Soldiers Angels or any other groups that truly support our troops. And since you can’t give any positive website here goes one:

    Semper Fi,
    Sgt Manuel Alvarez USMC
    29 Palms, CA

    Manuel Alvarez

    March 23, 2009 at 8:06 pm

  24. Sgt Alvarez,

    Again, no disrespect, but you point to the lower asvab scores as a reason as to why latinos are grunts…but don’t see that as a problem. I suppose you assume we are inferior test takers? Did you know that Bowie HS has the highest drop out rates in the city? They also lack alot of the educational programs – music, art, others, that you had at Coronado.

    In any case, these are not personal attacks on yourself or any other service members. This is directed against policy and those who make war for profit. Respect the warrior, not the war is a slogan of the VVAW, and it fits here.

    Here are some sources from the NYT who i suspect is a credible enough source, since a Professor is not. Enjoy!

    Recruiting latinos, a NYT link :

    Another NYT article on latino recruiting:

    As Sgt. First Class Gavino Barron, dressed in a crisp Army uniform, trawls the Wal-Mart here for recruits, past stacks of pillows and towers of detergent, he is zeroing-in on one of the Army’s “special missions”: to increase the number of Hispanic enlisted soldiers.

    Sgt. First Class Gavino Barron, an Army recruiter, on the march for volunteers in Commerce City, Colo.

    He approaches a couple of sheepish looking teenage boys in the automotive aisle and seamlessly slides into Spanish, letting loose his pitch: “Have you ever thought about joining the Army?” “Did you know you can get up to $40,000 in bonuses?” “I’m from Mexico, too. Michoacán.”


    These are hardly biased sources like the Marine Corp Times you cite. In any case, I saw this stuff first hand. There were Salvadoreans who I served with who had been recruited under the promise of citizenship during my tour in Europe.

    I will continue to fight against the wars, and hope that you and all other soldiers can stay home with your families instead of fighting for KBR, Boeing and others who profit from war.


    Eric Murillo

    March 24, 2009 at 12:00 pm

  25. Eric once again you show how much of a pawn you are. What you obviously don’t get is that the New York Times and La Prensa are left leaning media outlets. You think the New York Times is “a credible enough source”, the ‘Grey Lady’ lost her credibility long ago. Marine Corps Times, Army Times, Navy Times and Air Force Times at least have the stones to report both sides of the debate. Not like the NYT one way reporting.

    Eric what is your real beef with the military? What is so bad about a latino wanting to better themselves? My brother-in-law graduated from Bowie and has excelled in life beacause of the military. After high school he joined the Army National Guard and served 15 months in Iraq. Came back and joined the Sheriff’s Department. Now he is a Border Patrol agent in the El Paso area. He is living the American dream. He always credits the Army for all he has accomplished. Maybe he excelled so well because of his determination? Maybe he didn’t buy into the victimization you enspouse.

    Eric I graduated from Hanks and then moved to the westside. By the way did you know ALL the school districts in El Paso are considered low-income by the federal and state government.

    Eric I too have examples of Latinos in the military who thank God for the opportunities the military gave them and their families. Stop assuming and generalizing how Latinos in the military feel.

    Manuel Alvarez

    March 24, 2009 at 5:52 pm

  26. Eric I found the Pew study on Hispanics in the Military. It seems the good professor from the La Prensa twisted the facts from the study. “Latinos are slightly overepresented among enlisted personnel who most directly handle weapons.” The good professor makes it seem all Latinos are being put in the infantry and that is not true.

    Here is the study so you can read it yourself and learn that the professor an agenda.

    But I’m pretty sure you too have an agenda as well and will twist facts for your personel purposes.

    Semper Fi,
    Sgt Manuel Alvarez USMC
    29 Palms, CA

    Manuel Alvarez

    March 25, 2009 at 12:39 am

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