Judge Hernandez has given the Monahans 60 days to hand over the girl, and threatened to call the international police agency Interpol if they do not. And that's where the linear story ends. The Monahans' intentions are unknown, but if you honestly think that a judge in small and powerless Guatemala can successfully order a family in the mighty United States to relinquish their child, then you haven't studied the grotesquely one-sided history of U.S.-Guatemala relations.In the essay, he recounts an episode from his book, when a child adopted at 7 from Guatemala returns at 14 to meet her birth family. He says he was reminded of the episode by the story of Anyeli/Karen Abigail, ordered by the Guatemalan court to be returned to her biological family:
It was we yanquis who executed a coup d'etat in 1954 to remove democratically-elected Guatemalan President Jacobo Arbenz; used the beautiful countryside as our own banana republic during the Cold War; armed and trained its right-wing military during the brutal, 36-year civil war to further our own foreign policy goals; and forced the CAFTA free trade deal down the throats of Guatemala City's powers-that-be last decade.
The most recent chapter in the unequal relationship between the United States and Guatemala is about international adoption. Last decade, Guatemala became the largest "sending country" in the world for adopted children. Nearly 20,000 Guatemalan children were adopted by American families between 2004 and 2008, and a full 1 percent of all babies born in 2007 in "the land of eternal spring" were relinquished by their birth mothers and adopted abroad.
Of course the girl will return to the United States with Judy on Thursday... The match today here in this jungle in Central America was not going to be fair. In fact, it was fixed to begin with. Two poor Guatemalan boys with no money, no resources, and no valuable passports never really stood a chance against a middle-class white woman from the United States when it came to fighting over the 14-year-old girl they all love and need so badly. At the end of this week Guatemala's most valuable natural resources, its children, will still be leaving the country on airplanes for El Norte, and this particular case will be no different. At the end of the month, Guatemala's role will still be one of subservience to the United States of America.To the extent that he is prognosticating the fate of Anyeli/Karen Abigail, all I have to say is that I'm afraid he's probably right.