29 Apr 2011

The Author

Author of the award-winning book Finding Fernanda. Senior Fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism. Redux Pictures photographer. Read more here.

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Searching Mothers Demonstrate in Front of Guatemala’s National Palace

A set of photos from the demonstration on April 26, 2011 in front of Guatemala’s National Palace is on the public Facebook page for Fundación Sobrevivientes. After five years, these three women– Olga López, Loyda Rodríguez, and Raquel Par– are still trying to find out what happened to their stolen children. They have been demonstrating in Guatemala to draw attention to the cases since 2008.

“No es justo que nosotras [las madres de las niñas sustraídas para dar en adopción irregular] estemos sufriendo y sus ciudadanos en Estados Unidos estén contentos con nuestras hijas,” Olga López told the press, which roughly translates to, it is not fair that the mothers of the children kidnapped for illegal adoption are suffering, and the citizens of the United States are content with our children.

Here are a few images from the set:

Olga López holds a photo of the child she believes to be her daughter, now living in Illinois. To her right, a snapshot of her daughter Arlene Escarleth, before she was kidnapped.

Signs show the faces of people who have been recently arrested and face charges including human trafficking, conspiracy, and aggravated kidnapping in connection to illegal adoption cases.

An image of baby Heidy Par, missing daughter of Raquel Par, is affixed to an empty stroller.

Raquel Par holds an image of her missing daughter, Heidy.

Sobrevivientes founder Norma Cruz points to a "Wanted" poster for criminal fugitive Marvin Bran (a man who is also in my book, Finding Fernanda)

Norma Cruz offered the following statements:

“Es importante que las niñas sepan que sus mamás no las vendieron, no las abandonaron. Sus mamás han estado luchando año tras año. Tres humildes mujeres están enfrentando a todo un sistema que lo que hace es proteger el mercado de seres humanos en el mundo. Los niños y niñas guatemaltecos no están a la venta. No se venden. Pueden ser familias pobres, pero el ser pobres no les quita el derecho de tener a sus hijos con ellos. El sistema de justicia guatemalteco y las autoridades en general tienen que sumar esfuerzos para esclarecer todos estos hechos. Lamentablemente esto se sigue dando, por eso nosotras hemos planteado que hasta que no se esclarezca estos hechos no se le dé salida a un niño más.”

[ROUGH TRANSLATION] “It’s important that the girls know that their mothers did not sell them, they were not abandoned. Their mothers have been struggling year after year. Three humble women are facing a whole system that acts to protect an international market of human beings. The boys and girls of Guatemala are not for sale. They are not sold. They may be poor families, but being poor does not take away the right to have their children with them. The Guatemalan justice system and the authorities generally have to join efforts to clarify all of the facts. Regrettably, this is still going on, so we argue that until there is an investigation of these facts not one child more should leave.”

A full set of photos can be seen here.

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