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Jesus Hurtado

Monday evening before Thanksgiving 2006 the phone rang at my home, and a man introduced himself to me, and said he’d like to share with me a proposal about bringing the troops home from Iraq.

He sounded sincere, and I agreed to meet with him the next morning at Resource Center of the Americas.

Jesus Hurtado was his name, and when I got to the Resource Center, I met him: a neatly dressed articulate gentleman with a very noticeable Spanish accent.

He gave me his proposal (short form accessible here; and longer form here). I read it later, and it is a proposal not unlike millions of other proposals we have variously formulated in our heads: ideas about disengaging from an awful and unproductive conflict.

But the proposal was not the topic of our table talk that Tuesday morning, and not the main reason for highlighting this intense man who had once been in the Bolivian Army. .

Jesus had along with him a large album, full of newspaper clippings of a 20 day hunger strike at the Cathedral of St. Paul which began Thanksgiving Day, 1989. Jesus was one of eight people who went on their strike to protest the killings of Jesuit Priests in El Salvador, and to draw attention to atrocities there. As evidenced by the album and our conversation, the strike drew a large amount of attention then, though I have been unable to access information about it on the web. Those on strike, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press of Dec 10, 1989, were Fr. Roy Bourgeois, Valerie Steffenson, Rodolfo Pivaral (Guatamalan), Jorge Montacinos, Rene Hurtado and Jorge Manjivar (all El Salvador), Jerry Rau, and Jesus Hurtado, a Bolivian.

At the conclusion of our conversation, and after reading his proposal, I felt that at the very least, Jesus deserved an opportunity to share his story, and his ideas about ending the Iraq War. Take a few moments to read his proposal, either short or long form, and stop over at Minneapolis’ St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church, Upper Room of the Parish Center, 1 p.m. on Sunday, December 3 to hear him tell his story and share his ideas. Sunday is the first Sunday of Advent, and this conversation will be a good beginning to the season.

(In his writing, Jesus describes himself as follows: “I am a Bolivian national by birth, and a U.S.A. citizen. I work as an electro-mechanic technician. Married. A father of a daughter and a son. In 1989, I was part of a 20-day hunger strike group at the St. Paul Cathedral, St. Paul Minnesota, with Father Roy Bourgeois and others to protest the conflict in El Salvador.”)

Jesus Hurtado Iraq War Proposal - Short Version - printable .pdf file (150Kb)

Jesus Hurtado Iraq War Proposal - Long Version - printable .pdf file (258Kb)


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