Wednesday, February 25, 2009

What do Sean Goldman and Elian Gonzalez have in common?

This is not an underground case but I wanted to voice my opinions about it.

So what do Sean Goldman, 8 years old son of International parental kidnapping victim parent David Goldman and Elian Gonzalez, 7 years on June 28, 2000, son of Juan Miguel Gonzalez Quintana of Cuba have in common? Both Sean Goldman mother and Elian Gonzalez mother tragically died and at very young ages found themselves involved in International parental kidnapping cases (source: Wikipedia).

In the United States of America, some of us claim to have the best legal system in the world, bar none. Despite what some special interest cause groups in America think, I believe this extends to our family court system, especially in our handling of International Parental Kidnapping cases such as the Elian Gonzalez case. On June 28, 2000, after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the case, the boy's asylum petition filed on behalf of a Miami relative was upheld by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta and Elian was returned to his biological father in Cuba. That cases involved International politics but eventually the correct decision was made in accordance with International parental kidnapping treaties such as the Hague Convention.

In Sean Goldman's case, he was born in the United States in 2000, the son of parents David Goldman of New Jersey and Bruna Ribeiro, a Brazilian national. In June 2004, Bruno Ribeiro boarded a plane in New Jersey for Rio de Janeiro. She called her husband David and told him she wanted a divorce and was keeping their son in Brazil. As in many International parental kidnapping cases, rather than seek custody of the child through the child's last residence, the New Jersey county court, she took the law into her own hands and fled to Brazil, playing judge, jury and executioner, refusing to let David see his son. To further complicate matters, during the ensuing International legal battle, Bruna Ribeiro, the abducting parent was granted a divorce in Brazil, married her lawyer Joao Paulo Lins e Silva a son of a family law attorney in Rio, then died during the birth of a new child in 2008. The Brazilian court granted custody to the step father, Mr. Lins e Silva and since that time, despite litigation, David Goldman has only seen his son once and the Brazilian Court refuses to return Sean Goldman to his biological parent. With the Brazilian step grandfather a family law attorney and the wife marrying her attorney, this case is not as much about International politics like the Gonzalez case as it is about the shortcomings of the Brazilian family court system and the lack of response by the Brazilian government to intervene.

Nevertheless, the New York Times is reporting that it is possible that Hilary Rodham Clinton, America's new Secretary of State might add this case as an agenda item when speaking to Celso Amorim, the Brazilian foreign minister when they meet today. As a member of the family abduction victim parent community, I would really like to see Hilary step up to the plate ensure Sean Goldman is returned to his biological father, David Goldman immediately as well as other kidnapped children residing in Brazil.

No comments: