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"Another death in Fort Hood": the case of soldier Ana Basaldua revives criticism of the Texas military base


The LULAC organization requested that the FBI investigate the death of the 20-year-old girl, who told her family that she had suffered sexual harassment at the military base where Vanessa Guillén was murdered in 2020. "How many more?" Guillén's sister claimed .

The discovery of the lifeless body of the Latina soldier Ana Fernanda Basaldua Ruiz this Monday in Fort Hood (Texas), the same base where Vanessa Guillén was assassinated three years ago, has revived criticism of the Army and calls from officials, relatives of dead soldiers and organizations, demanding that the base be fully investigated or shut down, and that the FBI intervene.

After Noticias Telemundo exclusively published the discovery of the body of Basaldua, 20, of Mexican origin, Fort Hood said that so far there are no indications of "a homicide" and promised "a thorough and independent investigation" by the Criminal Investigation Division of the Army (CID).

The death was reported to the soldier's family as a possible suicide, her parents told Noticias Telemundo.

But that version has been questioned by both Basaldua's family and by several of her friends, who reported that the young woman told them she had suffered sexual harassment on the base and that no action was taken.

“We do not tolerate harassment in any of its forms, it is unacceptable,” Lt. Gen. Sean C. Bernabe said at a press conference on Friday.

[Friends of soldier Ana Basaldua say she was harassed at Fort Hood by a sergeant and another soldier before she died]

Fort Hood made headlines in 2020 when 20-year-old Private Vanessa Guillén was found dismembered near the base after being murdered inside.

A soldier suspected of sexually harassing and murdering her took her life as he was going to be questioned


The case focused on sexual crimes within the Armed Forces and prompted legislative reforms.

They remember with great pain the soldier of Mexican origin who died at the Fort Hood base

March 19, 202302:02

The news of Ana Basaldua's death has reignited the public conversation about whether the Army has undertaken substantial changes to protect soldiers.

"Those responsible for the death of Basaldua Ruiz must be held accountable for their actions, and LULAC once again reiterates to the Army that its recruitment will be affected unless the safety of Latino service members within its ranks can be guaranteed," said the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) by making a request for the FBI to directly investigate the death of the Latina soldier.

Other groups such as the humanitarian organization Alquimia Global are demanding that the military base of some 36,500 soldiers, where dozens have died in recent years, be completely closed.

“It is very clear that your authorities do not take into account the safety of your soldiers and,

despite the fact that the Vanessa Guillén law was enacted, there is a deep

and disgusting cultural problem at the base.

As civilians, we are concerned by studies showing that Fort Hood has the highest rate of sexual assault of any military base," an online signature-gathering petition states.

[Two friends Ana Basaldua say she was harassed at Fort Hood by a sergeant and another soldier before her death]

Mayra Guillén, sister of the soldier killed in 2020, reacted to the news of Basaldua's death at Fort Hood by noting on Twitter that "sexual harassment and sexual abuse are not service incidents."

Guillén shared a photo with the two soldiers and said: “Vanessa did not sign up to be harassed, sexually assaulted.

Ana did not sign up to be tormented with sexual harassment.

When will it be enough?

How many more?" 

Following Guillén's murder, an independent panel found that the Fort Hood military base is "permissive of sexual harassment and assault."

The report was based on

the testimonies of 507 female soldiers


The investigation also found that the base's criminal commanders and detachments were inexperienced, over-assigned and under-supported, leading to inefficiencies with an adverse impact on investigations.

Other investigations after Guillén's death led to the dismissal of 14 leaders of the base, in December 2020.

In an extensive campaign on social networks, survivors of sexual abuse and harassment in the Army shared their stories after Guillén's death, with the Law I am Vanessa Guillén being one of the most important achievements, The law adopted in December 2021 penalizes the sexual harassment under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, and strengthens the framework for independent investigations of sexual crimes within the Army.

[The last days of the soldier Ana Basaldua in Fort Hood: harassment, disciplinary measures, sadness and “everything possible to be able to leave”]

“Congress last took historic steps to eradicate sexual assault in our military, but until the services stop failing young soldiers, the job is far from done,” Rep. Veronica Escobar, D-Texas, wrote on Twitter.

“Another tragic death has occurred at Fort Hood,” said Mayra Nohemi Flores, a former Republican representative from Texas.

“Ana Basaldua Ruiz deserved to live in freedom without harassment or abuse.

My heart goes out to her family and to all the women who were ignored or forgotten by a skewed system that failed them."

In September 2023, during a Congressional Military Personnel Subcommittee hearing, it was revealed that 8% of active duty women in the Military and about 1.5% of men experience some form of unwanted sexual contact.

For women, this is the highest assault prevalence rate reported in the Army since the annual survey was instituted.

Reports of sexual assault among military personnel increased by 13% in 2021 compared to 2020, although the percentage of soldiers who suffered such an assault and reported it has decreased, according to the same hearing.

In October of last year, a 29-year-old Fort Hood soldier was arrested on suspicion of being related to multiple sexual assaults at that Texas military base.

"I do not conceive": mother of soldier killed in Fort Hood rejects the hanging version

March 16, 202302:42

Ana Fernanda Basaldua lived in Long Beach (California) and had entered the Army in July 2021, being assigned to Fort Hood since December 2021.

The soldier knew of Guillén's case, a soldier friend revealed to Noticias Telemundo, and for that reason she did not want to be assigned to Fort Hood.

“None of that seemed right to her, but they are still orders that she had to follow,” she said.

Other of her soldier friends say that she told them that she was harassed and that she reported it to her superiors, but to no avail.

After her denunciations, they assured, she was changed from the platoon.

They also stated that the young woman wanted to leave the base and that she was not in a good mood.

"He told me that she was not comfortable, that her whole life was wrong," said her father, Baldo Basaldua, who said that he last spoke to her the day before she was found dead.

Source: telemundo

All news articles on 2023-03-20

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