Recruit’s Death After Alleged Harassment Shakes US Army

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The family of Ana Basaldua Ruiz, a 20-year-old Mexican-American soldier, is calling for an investigation into her death, which occurred at the Fort Hood military base in Texas. Ana’s family does not believe the official version that she committed suicide, and a powerful Latino civic group is also calling for a transparent investigation into Ana’s death, stating that Ana had been the target of repeated sexual harassment. The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) demands an external authority carry out the investigation, rather than the military. Ana’s father and mother have both been vocal about their disbelief that Ana committed suicide, stating that a sergeant was harassing her and that she was being persecuted.

This is not the first death of a Mexican-American soldier at Fort Hood; in 2020, Vanessa Guillen was murdered after denouncing sexual harassment. Following Vanessa’s death, a dozen officers were removed from the base amid demonstrations calling for an end to impunity for sexual abuse at military installations. President Joe Biden signed an executive order at the beginning of 2022 to criminalize sexual harassment in the Army.

The base’s press office released a statement that there were no indications of violent actions against Ana and that investigators are working to gather all evidence and facts surrounding her death. LULAC and Ana’s family are calling for a complete and transparent investigation into her death and for justice to be served for Ana and other victims of sexual harassment and abuse in the military.

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