Fernando Suarez del Solar

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Fernando Suarez del Solar is a peace activist based in Escondido, California.

On March 27, 2003, Fernando lost his son, Jesus Suarez del Solar, when he stepped on a US cluster bomb while fighting in the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Since then, Fernando has been traveling around the country speaking out against the invasion and occupation of Iraq. In December he traveled to Iraq with Global Exchange and a group of military families to listen to the needs and desires of the Iraqi people, and returned home to meet with congress people, UN officials and the media to call for the withdrawal of US troops. Fernando is also an active member of Military Families Speak Out.

Fernando sees no contradiction between supporting the troops and being against the war. When he visited Iraq with the human rights group Global Exchange in December 2003, he brought thousands of letters of peace and love from US children for both Iraqi children and the soldiers. He set up a group to provide psychological counseling for Hispanic families who have loved ones serving in the military or have suffered the loss of a family member.

Prior to his son's death, Fernando lived a quiet life in Escondido, where he immigrated from Tijuana with his wife and children in 1997. The 48-year-old father makes a modest living working as a cashier at a 7/11 store and delivering newspapers.

Fernando has received criticism for his outspoken anti-war stance from all corners, from his in-laws to other immigrants who call him an "ingrate" to military families who support the war.[citation needed]

He is deeply troubled by the military's heavy recruitment of Hispanic youth in low-income communities. He has created Proyecto Guerrero Azteca to teach young people about the harsh reality of military service and to provide them with modest scholarships that will help them pursue alternative careers. He works closely with Project YANO, one of the oldest counter-recruitment organizations in the country.

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