Arecibo, Puerto Rico August 20, 2023 Statement: Young veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, who suffers from his mental faculties due to his incursion into the wars, is accused of taking his father's life in events that occurred in May , 2022
August 08, 2023 / Sonia Santiago Hernández / Mothers Against the War - Christian González Martell is a 39-year-old Puerto Rican young man, a veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan who deprived his father of his life on May 30, 2022 during a psychotic episode. . At the first hearing on September 14, the judge determined that he was not prosecutable at the time. Despite this, he has been subjected to several hearings in court. His trial will begin on September 21st.
His family had tried to get him treated at the Veterans Hospital in Rio Piedras upon his return from the military.. His mother, Romilda Martell, tells us that Christian has multiple mental health diagnoses: schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress syndrome and others, result of his participation in wars. The treatment of him at the Veterans Administration was substandard and irresponsible. They only assisted him sporadically and virtually. He exhibited extreme paranoid behavior, poor judgment, hallucinations. Mrs. Martell asked for support and adequate treatment for her son, to no avail. Today she awaits trial for murder.
We have several veterans incarcerated: Orlando Rivera, a veteran of the war in Afghanistan, in 2014 murdered 2 people on the Tuque de Ponce beach, while he was jogging. Doña Carmen Delgado was one of the victims. As she opened an umbrella , he murdered her with a pistol and continued jogging..His family had taken him to the Veterans Hospital on several occasions. They told him that there were no psychiatric beds and that he should go to a civilian hospital. Soldiers and veterans are prohibited from talking about war actions. It is difficult for them to receive therapies in civilian clinics... The Veterans Hospital did not follow up. He was sentenced to 97 years in prison.
Esteban Santiago, a young Puerto Rican veteran, is imprisoned for life in a jail in Florida. He murdered 5 people at the Ft. Lauderdale airport
in 2017. His family had taken him to receive treatment at the Veterans Hospital in PR when they noticed his incoherent and aggressive behavior after having fought in Afghanistan. That hospital did not treat him responsibly.
Twenty veterans commit suicide daily. Forty percent of the two and a half million soldiers who have participated in the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan have a mental health diagnosis, mainly Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome.
Others in the military have traumatic brain injury, which is characterized by bodily paralysis and stroke-like symptoms. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan cost 3 trillion dollars. That money could have been used to take care of their health and to help the victims of wars.
We Mothers Against War demand that the Veterans Hospital fulfill its ministerial duty. They only have 30 psychiatric beds. Hospital management has a condescending and irresponsible attitude towards the veteran population. The Department of Defense's annual budget is $864 billion, almost all of which goes to the arms industry and maintaining the infrastructure for warfare.
We urge the soldiers to request conscientious objection, a right contemplated in the military regulations. If for ethical, moral or religious reasons they decide to follow its principles and not continue in military life, they can request it. It is their right. We urge the youth not to sign a military contract. They do not know where they are going to send them to war, to kill or to be killed.
Motherhood is and generates life. War is the antithesis of motherhood. When we gestate a son or a daughter, we create to live, not to kill. We at Mothers Against War in Puerto Rico have the historic commitment to preserve the lives of our military sons and daughters and those of the thousands of innocent victims we do not know.
The main message that Madres Contra la Guerra wants to convey is the commitment to a Puerto Rican society, lover of peace and preserving the total integrity of the human being. Motherhood is life and war is the antithesis of motherhood
- Esposa y mamá de veteranos reclama mejores servicios en la Isla, Primera Hora, Keishla M. Carbó Otero, 10 de noviembre de 2022 | English
- De soldado en Afganistán a asesino en Puerto Rico: las fallas en el manejo de Orlando Rivera, Noticel, Sep 10, 2014 | English
- After Maria, VA Battles PTSD, Other Health Issues in Puerto Rico Veterans, American Homefront Project, Jay Price, November 2, 2017
- The Puerto Rican Experience In The U.S. Military: A Century Of Unheralded Service, Dr. Harry Franqui-Rivera; Senior Digital Aide, Monique Aviles, Center for Puerto Rican Studies | Hunter College
- San Juan VA Medical Center, Mental health care: 787-641-7582 x12355 | https://www.va.gov/caribbean-health-care/locations/san-juan-va-medical-center/
- VA: PTSD: National Center for PTSD: https://www.ptsd.va.gov