Monday, May 14, 2012

U.S. Won't Return Guatemalan Girl to Her Mother

Remember the case of a Guatemalan girl, kidnapped from her mother in Guatemala, and ultimately adopted by an American Family -- a Guatemalan court ordered her returned to her family?  I blogged about the case here and here and here.  Well, sadly but not surprisingly, the U.S. has notified Guatemala that it has no intention of returning the girl:
The U.S. government has told Guatemala it won't return a girl adopted in 2008 after being snatched from her Guatemalan mother, because the two countries had not signed the Hague Abduction Convention at the time of the kidnapping, a Guatemalan official said Monday.

Foreign Relations Ministry spokeswoman Celeste Alvarado quoted a diplomatic cable from the U.S. State Department as saying the two countries formally ratified the convention on Jan. 1, 2008, more than a year after toddler Anyeli Hernandez Rodriguez was abducted in November 2006.

Alvarado said the U.S. note cites Hague Convention articles indicating it isn't required to return the child if there was no treaty in force at the time.

The girl was adopted by a Missouri couple, and a Guatemalan judge ordered last year that the girl be returned.

* * *

A leading Guatemalan activist in the case disagreed with the State Department's position, arguing that the U.S. government is obligated under international treaties to return victims of human trafficking or irregular adoptions that have occurred within the past five years.

The girl left the country on Dec. 9, 2008, according to court records, and that date and not her abduction date should be taken into account, said Claudia Hernandez, assistant director of the Survivors Foundation, a human rights group that filed the court case for the child's biological mother, Loyda Rodriguez.
I find the reasoning bizarre -- why would the date of the abduction be the determinative date?  The adoption -- the creation of a legal status -- occurred almost a full year AFTER ratification of the Hague Convention by the U.S. and Guatemala.  Thus, the legality of the adoption should be determined under the Hague Convention. 


Reena said...

All legalities aside-- I wonder how the APs plan to explain all of this to their daughter-- a few years from now. I wonder if they have fully thought through how she is going to feel about this situation. It is not like she will never find out.

Stephanie said...

This is disgusting and horrific. You can just basically kidnap a child from the street and once the child is "adopted" by well to do Americans the natural family is SOL. What does this say about our society? It say's it is sickening and unjust, is what it say's...