Soldiers dad: Aid needed for Baghdad hospital

SAN DIEGO – Fernando Suárez del Solar is a man with a mission. Meeting this determined and compassionate father at a local social justice center here (a pink house on a working-class street corner) evokes a lot of thoughts and emotions. He is resolute in his quest to save children’s lives.

Suárez del Solar became a leader of the peace movement when his son, Marine Lance Cpl. Jésus Suárez del Solar Navarro, was killed while serving in Iraq. Instead of remaining silent and struggling alone with the crushing grief, Suárez del Solar moved into action to prevent the killing of any more soldiers and civilians, especially Iraqi children. He led a historic delegation last December of antiwar veterans and families of military service people to Iraq. It was there where he visited a Baghdad hospital and saw the effects of war on children – up close and personal.

“This hospital had one vaporizer and parents lined up with their children for hours so they could get a 2-3 minute treatment,” Suárez del Solar told the World. Asthma and other respiratory illnesses are major problems there as a result of the bombings.

“We met with the doctors at this hospital. And at that meeting I promised to try to help this hospital right now,” he said.

So Suárez del Solar, under the auspices of Project Guerrero Azteca and in cooperation with American Friends Service Committee, is conducting a campaign to collect medical supplies. The supplies will be delivered March 2 when AFSC members will travel to Baghdad and visit their newly opened office.

In a letter addressed to “those who love life, doctors who care for children, and San Diego community and humanitarian organizations,” Suárez del Solar made a plea for the children suffering with intestinal infections, respiratory problems, typhoid and leukemia.

Suárez del Solar explained to the moms and doctors that by himself he couldn’t help, but he has confidence that thousands of Americans will respond to this crisis.

“I explained that, by myself, I have no money, but that there are thousands of good Americans and together we could give them help,” he said.

Supplies can be sent to Suárez del Solar, 1817 E. Grand Ave. #65, Escondido, CA 92027, Attn: Project Guerrero Azteca. He is looking for anything from antibiotics, bandages, cough syrup, disinfectants, fever reducers, gauze to surgical supplies, thermometers and vaporizers.

Supplies are preferred, but checks can also be sent to the address above. Write “Medicine for Iraq” in the memo space.

The author can be reached at talbano@pww.org.