Saturday, December 19, 2009

Every Father's Worst Nightmare

I've been watching the case of David Goldman and his son for a long time.  I'm sure I'm not the only divorced dad who has been monitoring the plight of this dad and his child.  For those of you who aren't familiar with the story, Mr. Goldman married a woman from Brazil and had a son. She took the boy to Brazil for a visit and then divorced him in Brazil. Of course she got custody of the little boy.  She remarried, but then died in childbirth.  Her family has kept Sean, even though his father wants him back.  Mr Goldman has been fighting his way through the Brazilian courts to  regain custody.  It's been an emotional roller coaster for him and no doubt for his son.

Every father who goes through a divorce fears that his ex will take the child or children away to a place where he can't retrieve them.  I've been there.  That's why I'm a computer geek in Kentucky instead of a government contractor in Arizona.  My lawyer in Arizona told me that if I wanted any rights to see my children, I had to go to Kentucky.  The courts just wouldn't help me much if I lived halfway across the continent.  

It's bad enough when you have to go between one US state and another.  It's quite another thing when you're fighting in the courts of another country altogether.  There are treaties to prevent just this situation, but Brazil is apparently not following their treaty obligations. 

The boy is a U.S. citizen, period.  A foreign country is holding him against the wishes of his remaining biological parent and in contravention of treaties that both countries have signed.  So far our government has only given lip service to getting the Brazilian government to release this young child to his father. Presidents Bush and Obama both made noises about this, but nothing has come of it.  The State Department is squawking now, but I don't have much faith in that resolving the issue.

Congress is threatening to stop a trade deal we have with Brazil and its neighbors.  I think this doesn't go far enough.  If I were president (OK, OK, I know, that thought gives you all shivers and night sweats) Brazil would be restricted from doing any trade with any entity that is headquartered in the United States.  I would stop our Olympic team from participating in the Rio de Janeiro Olympics. I would recall our ambassador, and ask Brazil to remove theirs.  Yes, that would hurt a valuable trading relationship and negatively impact the economies of both countries, but I'm pretty sure that Brazil would hurt more than we would.

If after 30 days they still don't send the boy home, I would go before the United Nations and ask that other countries join us in punishing Brazil for not living up to their treaty obligations.  Again, I think the global economy could survive losing Brazil better than Brazil can survive losing the rest of the global economy. 

If that still didn't work after another 90 days, I would go to Congress for a declaration of war.  It wouldn't be one of those  resolutions authorizing force.  I'm talking about an honest to goodness, re-direct the entire country to one purpose declaration of war.   Yes, that's extreme, but the life and freedom of one American citizen is worth it. 

No country has the right to unlawfully detain a citizen of another, especially a child.  Until Brazil sends little Sean home to his father, then we have no business acting like Brazil deserves our friendship.

No comments:

Creative Commons License
DaddyBear's Den by DaddyBear is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at