On this auspicious day, September 11, on the corner of Third and F Street in Chula Vista, six protesters chanted “No justice, no peace, U.S. out of the Middle East!” and “Money for jobs and education, not for war and occupation!”
Although, Chula Vista is not known as a hotbed of radicalism, the people protesting the possibility of U.S. strikes in Syria were greeted by many honks from sympathizers.
When asked why they were on the corner of this underpopulated main drag of western Chula Vista, they answered that they were marching down to Juan Vargas’s office. Vargas holds the U.S. House of Representatives' 51st District seat, which encompasses all of Imperial County and California’s entire U.S./Mexico border.
Abel Macias, who is part of Answer Coalition, said that the group was going to Vargas’s office because in a statement on September 7 Vargas had declared support for the military strike.
Macias said not only did he disagree with military intervention in Syria, but he believes that as a result of President Obama’s threat of a surgical strike, the government has pushed to the back burner crucial domestic issues such as education and immigration.
Bertha Gutierrez, a protester and a member of a group called Abajo y a la Izquierda, said the first action needed to be peace talks rather than the threat of military intervention. Gutierrez said she favored a policy “that helps with medicine and food” and that violence does not end violence.
When the protesters arrived at Vargas’s office, they chanted outside for about 15 minutes and then asked to sit down with Vargas’s senior field representative, Eddie Meyer. Meyer welcomed them into the air-conditioned conference room for a sit-down.
Meyer also provided the Reader with a copy of Vargas’s press release from September 4.
It states, “It is of utmost importance that all decisions made regarding Syria are based on truthful and vetted evidence. During today’s hearing, Secretary of State Kerry and Secretary of Defense Hagel assured me and the American people that the evidence of chemical use was factual, transparent and presented in its entirety.… Today’s hearing also confirmed that only targeted and limited strikes would be used. With a clear plan in mind, I support the White House moving forward.”