Letters to the Editor

Week of February 28th, 2005

On Raoul Lowery Contreras’ “A Father Lives Through His Dead Son” http://www.hispanicvista.com/HVC/Columnist/rcontreras/022105contreras.htm

Mr. Contreras is at it again. For years I have read many of his works in various newspapers that publish his opinion pieces. I thought I would finally take a moment to express mine in words as well.

Mr. Contreras has assumed the role of an expert in areas such as immigration and "Latino or Hispanic" issues, yet there is not anything he has done or attained that makes him an expert in these matters. I cannot identify with Mr. Contreras because to me he is not representative of a Latino in anyway, but yet, he seems to blend in with the conservative mainstream white American point of view. Again, Contreras just does not relate to me or my community.

 Surprisingly, I have never met Mr. Contreras, only his mother. I attend many Latino events in my community and never have I seen Mr. Contreras there. I believe Mr. Contreras if at all, rarely interacts with the Latino community, especially the immigrant communities. I don't appreciate Mr. Contreras points of view because they have no base for truth and he clearly differentiates himself from Latinos.  I know Mr. Contreras is a Republican and the Republican Party has never served the interest of the working class.

As a personal friend to Fernando Suarez del Solar and his family, I know the allegations of Mr. Contreras against Fernando are not true.  Mr. Suarez del Solar did in fact move his family from Tijuana to San Diego for Jesus to attend school here, learn English and prepare to join the Marines. This is a fact and Mr. Contreras should try engaging in an actual conversation with Mr. Suarez del Solar to get his facts straight.  Fernando is a wonderful person, very educated and one of the most eloquent speakers I have ever heard. I know he has touched the lives of many people around the world and he gives hopes to us here in this country with his genuine testimonials and struggle for peace. Fernando’s words are genuine and no one feeds him propaganda. On the other hand, I wonder where Mr. Contreras gets his information, I know his republican friends are so nervous about Fernando Suarez del Solar's activities, that they probably encouraged him to write against Mr. Suarez, a person who is undoubtedly Latino and understands the Latino community.  I applaud Fernando's efforts because I know he is doing positive work to end the Iraq War and bring awareness to communities who are targeted by military recruiters.Consuelo Martinez, Escondido, CA mujeractivista@yahoo.com


It is journalistic insanity to start a criticism of a private citizen by noting that he or she is supported by a particular group financially as if that is a crime and then proceed to write as if this phenomenon is limited to this private citizen. However this is what Mr. Contreras did in his op-ed about Fernando Suarez del Solar activism. It is not only common but it is as much a part of the anti-war movement as it is the pro-war movement to pay those who travel around the country spreading their beliefs if it is one shared by the groups mentioned, thus focusing on Mr. Suarez activism without mentioning or juxtaposing it with the reality that this happens on both sides of the issue is intellectually dishonest.

Mr. Contreras intellectual dishonesty is on display even more when he writes that there is no proof of certain realities being present in the life of Mr. Suarez prior to his son being killed in Iraq as if it is necessary for those things to be present for one to become an activist. Further more, the absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, Mr. Contreras has no proof that my writing this response to his op-ed is my first time writing a letter in response to an op-ed but clearly he understand this his op-ed is what gave birth to this letter as Mr. Suarez son’s death gave birth to his current activism.

Mr. Suarez has found reporters willing to hear what he has to say because what he has to say is not an opinion only held by him it is an opinion held by millions of men and women in America and around the Globe. The very reasons that Mr. Contreras opinions are given a place to be heard is the very same reasons that Mr. Suarez opinions are being given the opportunity to he heard. If we are to believe that Mr. Suarez is given a script to read from then we must assume the same is true of Mr. Contreras, and finally saying Mr. Suarez could not find Iraq on a map prior to his son death is not only insulting to him and his family but cheapens the price his son paid in Iraq. When we juxtapose Mr. Contreras opinion about Mr. Suarez with the fact that over 30% of Americans still believe
Iraq had something to do with the attacks on America, we can then realize the ignorance that makes it so necessary for Mr. Fernando Suarez del Solar to be out front speaking as he has been. Faheem Amir, Vista gaztecaproject@yahoo.com


Concerning Raoul Lowery Contreras' attack on Fernando Suarez del Solar, Mr. Contreras shows the same insensitivity and hypocrisy that characterizes the neoconservatives and the party they now control. 

He says that, "like Fernando" [they're on a first name basis?], he grieves for Mr. Suarez del Solar's son, Jesus. 

Many of us grieve the injuries and deaths of every man and woman in the unnecessary Iraq war.  Only a handful, like Mr. Contreras, are so insensitive as to compare that grief to the grief felt by the parents of those children.  Mr. Contreras' unfeeling statement is just one more insult in a piece dedicated to attacking the intelligence and sincerity of the parent of a fallen Marine.   Michael Suarez (no relation) mangotea@frontiernet.net


Dear Msrs. Osio,

I read the article attacking Fernando Suarez del Solar, by Raoul Lowery Contreras, recently distributed by HispanicVista.com.  I also read your response to a complaint letter from John Wilmerding, concerning the Contreras article. 

You wrote to John Wilmerding that "Mr. Lowery-Contreras exercised his rights by writing his opinion". 

While journalism does include principled debate, presenting sharp differences of opinion and conviction, the Contreras article does not qualify as principled debate.  It is a heartless and scurrilous hit piece, ridiculing, insulting and smearing a father who has spoken out publicly to denounce the war which robbed him of his child.  Contreras' rhetoric is deliberately hateful and contemptuous.  It is not editorial opinion -- it is hate literature.  Moreover it is not generalized hate literature scapegoating some group under the guise of political analysis -- a category of hate writing which frequently enters public discourse, via very elastic standards of "value-free" political inclusivity.  This was a personalized and wounding individual attack on the character of a grieving parent. 

 I do not consider HispanicVista.com to have exercised responsible or principled editorial judgment in this instance.  The arguments you gave Mr. Wilmerding to supposedly justify publishing the Contreras piece ring hollow -- offering facile platitudes while evading compelling ethical questions raised by your decision to re-publish personalized hate literature,  thereby expanding its reach, while inaccurately dignifying it as journalism.   

Please reconsider your criteria for publication in the future.  Please refrain from spreading hateful personal character assassination, thinly camouflaged as editorial commentary.     

-- David L. Hoffman, Coordinator, Humanity Check interfaith peace and reconciliation project No. 357, 122 Calistoga Road, Santa Rosa, CA 95409, U.S.A. e-mail:  humanitycheck@earthlink.net   web site:  http://home.earthlink.net/%7Ehumanitycheck


Mr. Contreras writes: "You people stick to your unreal world and I'll stick to my world, the real world."

The main point that strikes me is the struggle to define "reality".  

Everything that happens affects everything else.   Bombs dropping "over there" affect people "over here".   We are all living in a web of life, and we are all connected.  

When the war industry and military elite want to coopt the resources of this planet for the next 40 years, towards war, then people who do not share this vision of "reality" need to make our voices heard.    My reality includes living without fear of daily violence.   If I was living in several areas of earth, my reality would be in direct conflict with another reality that includes allowing people to come into neighborhoods and cities , and kill people  and destroy homes and businesses.   People can direct our own thoughts and hearts, but in the struggle to define "reality" in the external sense, people who use violence to resolve conflict do not have a right to dictate that reality to the rest of the planet, against most people's will.   People use military power to control "reality", or they try to, and the more people who simply refuse to buy into that principle of being, the sooner a reality that is not based on violence will come into mature manifestation.

 Rebecca rahale@jaggedlightning.com


Mr Contreras:
We have never communicated but I have followed your career through your many columns and op-eds over the years.  I am writing you today regarding your recent article on Mr Fernando Suarez del Solar.

Mr Suarez came to my attention when he voluntarily appeared at a local meeting of a peace group here in San Diego shortly after his son died in Iraq.  No one knew him but we were all amazed at his powerful speaking ability and his absolute sincerity.  Those of us who call ourselves Chicanos had not heard a more lucid presentation in Spanish for many decades. No one told him what to say.  The white leftists who were present did not even understand what he was saying.

For your information, Mr Suarez comes from highly placed family en Mexico.  His father was a minister in several PRI administrations. He received an elite early education from the Jesuits, attended a military high school, and was a university student at the UNAM.  He was a leading community activist in Tijuana before moving to the US. I do not know your background, but I would venture to say that Mr Suarez received a better education than either you or I did.

I have come to know Mr. Suarez well and I believe I have a fairly good understanding of the antiwar movement.  Mr Suarez is his own man in every sense of the world.  To assert, as you do, that he is a poor uneducated immigrant who is the puppet of radicals is to circulate a lie.  It is also an unthinking confirmation of the racist expectations of many of your readers.

I understand that you do not share Mr Suarez's political views.  You should have said so.  Instead you distort a man's biography in order to discredit his views and then have the nerve to claim you share his grief.

Only a published apology will undo the pain you have caused Mr Suarez and the Latino community that has come to know him.
Jorge Mariscal, University of California, San Diego gmariscal@ucsd.edu


From: John Wilmerding

On Tuesday, February 22, 2005, CERJer and 'Padres del Guerrero Azteca' Fernando Suarez del Solar fvsuarez2000@yahoo.com.mx,  forwarded the following disgusting article from the HispanicVista.com web site (written by Raoul Lowery Contreras, a contributing columnist).  I am horrified at the insults these fascistic types are hurling publicly at him.  Should he so wish, he can easily take recourse against them in a court of law, and sue for slander and damage to his reputation.

The title of the article is misleading -- it could be taken as positive:  'A Father Lives Through His Dead Son'.  The son's name, as it happens, was Jesus.  Now, one could almost mistake the article as a Christian reference, right?

Far from it.  Contreras makes Fernando out to be a "dupe" of "leftists".  Little does he know that the man lives by his faith.  He as much as calls Fernando stupid, and insults his intelligence right and left.  What do you expect from the author of 'The Illegal Alien: A Dagger Into The Heart Of America'.

Contreras has seen to it that his smarmy screed has been published on several web sites.  I have no doubt that it has been translated into Spanish as well.

So a notorious hack writer and pseudo-journalist -- not only an apologist for fascism in the USA, but a fascist shill roughly equivalent to the so-called "Jeff Gannon" -- has attacked one of our own, and a grieving father at that -- 'Father of the Aztec Warrior' who was killed by American ordnance in the illegal Iraq-Attack.  Contreras' writings are often seen in the company of screeds by neo-con fascists like David Horowitz, Rush Limbaugh, and Phyllis Schlafly.

Write to Contreras at this address if his slander of our beloved Fernando doesn't appeal to you: sdraoul@att.net
John Wilmerding wilmerding@earthlink.net


On Counterpoint by Daneen G. Peterson – “A ‘Whiney American’ Speaks Out Against Illegal Aliens - http://www.hispanicvista.com/HVC/Opinion/Guest_Columns/022105peterson.htm


To Dr. Daneen G. Peterson:
How unfortunate that you do not identify yourself (affiliation and occupation) to give readers an idea of your credentials and affiliation.  Most unfortunate for you, however, is that you do not demonstrate any scholarly tradition --that of attempting an unbiased analysis of scientific quality.  On the one hand, few of your sources deserve recognition for their scientific credibility.  Huntington's analysis (e.g., "Hispanic Challenge"), for example, has been criticized for its lack of scientifically-based scholarship by prominent scholars, while sources like FAIR are just as credible, unbiased and scandalous as the Inquirer.  On the other hand, you have failed to consider a whole set of academic literature published in well recognized scholarly outlets that contradict your opinions.
Dr. Patricia Hamm
Patricia Hamm, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Political Science
Iowa State University
521 Ross Hall
Ames, IA 50011-1204
(515) 294-6047
FAX (515) 294-1003


On Patrick Osio’s “Oh yes, Congressman Duncan Hunter is that disingenuous.” http://www.hispanicvista.com/HVC/Columnist/posiojr/022105osio.htm


I am a Naturalized U.S. Citizen born in Mexico but I, unlike my fellow paisanos did use the legal system to immigrate into the U.S.  Frankly, I am tired of people name bashing those who want to do something about the illegal alien problem. Labels such as racist, zealot, are always used. 

Mr. Osio I wish you would take a trip into Mexico and see what Mexico is doing on their southern border with Guatemala and Belize.  They do not have a triple fence (not that they worry about the preservation of biological diversity and watershed integrity) but what they have is very effective.  They have the military deploy all along the border with high observation towers and the would be illegal aliens know better that to run away from the mexican soldiers. 

I think that there is a lot of people with hidden agendas be it political, financial (something to the tune of 16 billion dollars that Mexico receives from the illegal aliens in the U.S.) or whatever.  You sir, are calling a large number of Mexican/Americans naive and gullible  because we are in favor of stopping the flow of illegal aliens entering into the U.S. and I find that insulting and intolerable.  From: gochoa@adnc.com

(Editor’s note: Patrick Osio has written on the barbaric conditions and treatment of illegal immigrants entering Mexico through it’s Southern border.)


To accuse legislators, that vote against fixing immigration laws that would stop illegal entry into the United States, of being xenophobes may be the wrong approach.  Most of them have voted against laws that would have punished their employers. To point out that they pander to xenophobes is another issue.

Here in California we have had a few examples, ex governor Wilson, being the best known of them.

As long as politicians, from both sides of the isle, can make an issue out of labor or immigration problems they are assured reelection. It is therefore, in their self-serving interest not to fix it.

As long as these blowhards can pontificate and stir the emotions of the electorate they keep their jobs.

Let's say that they were to pass a law that allowed needed unskilled workers to come from countries south of the border with proper documentation and issued at their countries of origin, wouldn't we know who and where they were coming from? Wouldn't their stay be easier to regulate and document as to time and place. They would be allowed entry into areas where they were needed, for a set length of time.  They could cross legally, back and forth, during their stay to visit relatives rather than attempting to have their relatives cross illegally to be with them.

Isn't our country's goal to have and build strong family values?

 Why do cities like Tijuana have to hire more police to try to keep a wave of people from all over South America and the Mexican interior from temporarily using their already taxed public services. These Mexican police officers could better spend their time fighting drug smugglers and all problems that drug dealing bring to its own citizenry. As long as we are it, how come so many of theses officers have to die so that "Legal Citizens" on this side can enjoy their drug addiction? 

 How come legal residents of cities like Tijuana have to tax their citizens to provide services and the blood of dead policemen so that" Legal Citizens" in La Jolla and the rest of the U.S. can have access to inexpensive labor -- Bert Acosta, San Diego CA 


CJ  Miklica cmiklica@sgcmail.com

What a joke!  Liberal opinions just never change. What your illustrious contributing columnist doesn't understand is that we have "criminals" infesting the state of Arizona (and elsewhere). They have absolutely no intention of learning the language of America, which is English in case you also don't get it.

 The illegal aliens sneaking in our country come here to pillage, cheat, lie and get in line for free handouts while demoralizing our neighborhoods and public thoroughfares. The crime rate has soared due these people who quite honestly, have been encouraged by the Mexican government to come here because they don't want them. Such a deal?????

This Maceri person should shut his pie hole and be grateful that he even has the courtesy of our press to state his stupid ideas which give fuel to illegals and future terrorists.

You won't succeed.  AMERICANS will push them out. Breaking our laws, with the cooperation of the liberal party is soon to be history. Thank you God.