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Guatemalan hunger strike ends- (an initial) victory for the Mothers

Olga Lopez, Norma Cruz and Raquel Par, after receiving the news of the acceptance of the procedures for revocation.

Olga Lopez, Norma Cruz and Raquel Par, after receiving the news of the acceptance of the procedures for revocation.
(photo courtesy of Prensa Libre)

(Following up on my post, Guatemalan Mothers go on hunger strike, demand the return of their stolen children, from July 17th)

It has taken me several days to get this update up, but the result appears worth the wait.

On Saturday (July 25th), the ten day hunger strike in Guatemala staged by Sobrevivientes activist Norma Cruz and a number of Guatemalan mothers whose children had been stolen came to its conclusion.

The courts issued a finding admitting the invalidity of, and beginning the procedures for revocation of the adoptions of their their three daughters who had been kidnapped and placed for American adoptions back in 2006.

Norma Cruz, (also see here as but one of many profiles) co-founder and director of Sobrevivientes, is one of the recipients of the third annual US Secretary of State’s Award for International Women of Courage. Sobrevivientes (or “Survivor’s Foundation”, an NGO- click here for English translation, also see the blog, and English translation thereof)

Again, I’m going to primarily point readers toward the raw materials and English translations rather than attempt to characterize the materials. The post will be constructed of several parts:

  • part I, excerpts from articles about the the hunger strike
  • part II, some details on the arrests in connection to the kiddnappings
  • part III, images and day by day reports from the newspapers about the hunger strike
  • part IV, further details about the prosecution of Judge Mario Castañeda Fernando Peralta who enabled such adoptions
  • part V, recent news articles pertaining to the broader context Guatemalan adoptions play out against and the situation of womyn in Guatemala
  • part VI, adoption statistics from children imported from Guatemala to the United States 2002-2007 (Keeping in mind Guatemala has currently suspended international adoptions, previously, it was one of the highest volume “sending countries” to the U.S. market)

part I

From a piece in El periodico on the hunger strike, Saturday, July 25, 2009 – 6:46 hours
and (via Google translate, Spanish to English)

Lasted ten days on hunger strike undertaken by the association Sobrevivientes activist Norma Cruz. The result of the demonstration was positive. Yesterday the second trial, the Eighth and Tenth Ramo Civil admitted the invalidity of adoption proceedings brought before the judiciary in cases of three girls who were stolen in 2006.

A justice activist brings an open process for recovering stolen three girls, AFP 25/07/2009

and (via google translation, Spanish into English)

Cruz, president of the Survivors’ Foundation, from which helps women victims of domestic violence, or in this case, the system of impunity that prevails in it as this Central American country, began a hunger strike on 15 July, outside the Supreme Court (CSJ).


“The mothers of these girls have long suffered because the justice system does not work. It was worth far, we have managed to move the system. We achieved a positive resolution,” said Cruz, satisfied after being informed of the decision judicial.

Also participating in the hunger strike Olga Lopez, whose daughter, Arlene, was stolen on September 27, 2006 when he was barely six months old and Raquel Par Loyda Rodriguez, mother of Angely and Heidy, abducted in April and November of that year.

According to research conducted by the Survivor Foundation, girls stolen, given up for adoption so presumably illegal, now live with their adoptive families in different parts of the United States and respond to the names of Sindy Colwell, Karen and Kimberly Abigail Azucena.

The process of revocation would reverse adoptions by foster families, who must return to the minors to their biological mothers.

According to Cruz, this “could last many months and even years.”


In May last year, these three mothers, along with Ana Escobar, whose daughter had also been stolen, held a hunger strike outside the National Palace of Culture, who wanted to denounce the mafia engaged in these practices.

In July 2008, thanks to investigations of lawyers from the Survivor Foundation, Escobar retrieved her daughter Esther, stolen on March 26, 2006 and ready to be released for adoption abroad.

The National Civil Police (PNC) on Thursday arrested two persons who allegedly stole a pair of Rachel’s daughter, and Abner Cifuentes Telma Velasquez, who are under arrest warrant since May last year and now in custody for the crimes aggravated theft, abduction and trafficking.

In the coming days, the House of Amparo and the preliminary CSJ must decide whether, as requested by Cruz, he withdrew the immunity to a judge of the Family, Mario Fernando Peralta, who approved the anomalous form of adoptions of stolen children.

Peralta is accused of crimes of abuse of authority, breach of trust and breach of duties.

“It will be the first judge who brought the justice system for committing unlawful,” said Cruz.

As well as an older piece, Three mothers began a hunger strike to regain their stolen children in Guatemala,AFP – 15/07/2009

and (via Google translate, Spanish into English)

part II

Foto Prensa Libre: Esbin by García

Foto Prensa Libre: Esbin by García

More on the two arrested

Thelma Virginia Velásquez Revolorio, 53 and Ludwing Cifuentes Abner Peralta, 34

Young remains in custody and linked to the process by stealing girl 17:10, 23/07/2009

and via Google translate, Spanish into English

Aggrieved identify suspected stolen children 9:50 25/07/2009

and (via Google translate, Spanish into English)

part III

The hunger strike begins

Activist Norma Cruz began a hunger strike to get three girls, 11:39, 15/07/2009

and via Google translate, Spanish into English

photo courtesy of Prensa Libre

photo courtesy of Prensa Libre

Day 2

Mothers call for justice, 14:13, 15/07/2009

and via Gooogle translate, Spanish into English

(also see related video in the upper right hand corner)

Day 4

Norma Cruz takes four days fasting, 14:14, 18/07/2009

and via Google translate, Spanish into English

Free Press Photo: Félix Acajabón

Day 6

Free Press Photo: Félix AcajabónActivist Norma Cruz meets with president of the Supreme Court, 20:24, 20/07/2009

and via Google translate, Spanish into English

Day 7

Norma Cruz said feel weak, but resist until justice, 19:14, 21/07/2009

and via Google translate, Spanish into English

Day 8, Foto Prensa Libre: Daniel Herrera

Day 8, Foto Prensa Libre: Daniel Herrera

Day 8

Norma Cruz urged judges to dismiss hunger strike, 18:52, 22/07/2009

and, via Google translate, English into Spanish

Day 10- strike ends

Norma Cruz arrives at the tenth day of hunger strike, 10:22, 24/07/2009

and via Google translate, English to Spanish

Norma Cruz ends hunger strike, 14:10, 24/07/2009

and via Google Translate, Spanish into English

Norma Cruz ends hunger strike by anomalous cases of adoptions, 15:50, 24/07/2009

and via Google translate, Spanish into English

part IV

Here is another piece about the prosecution of the Judge, Mario Castañeda Fernando Peralta

MP seeks preliminary against Judge Escuintla for several offenses, July 14, 2009 – 7:09 hours

and via Google translate, Spanish into English

“There is evidence to show that Mario Castañeda Fernando Peralta committed the crime of human trafficking, abuse of authority, dereliction of duty and prevarication,” said Rony Lopez prosecutor against organized crime.

The official referred to two cases: that of Karen girls Abigail López García, given up for adoption on December 10, 2008 to a family and that of Naomi Yahaira Muyus, both stolen from their biological mothers. The latter investigates the whereabouts and the date it was given to another family. It is assumed that the real name of the former is Aniely Hernandez, daughter of Loyda Rodriguez.

However there are at least 20 more cases that are investigated.Thus the section called yesterday to the Administrative Center for Management of Criminal Judiciary (OJ), which started a process against the preliminary judging. According to the MP, there are documents which indicate that Peralta Castañeda is involved in a network used for the trafficking of children.

part V

A Couple recent pieces pertaining to the context Guatemalan womyn live (and die) in

part VI

Finally, the (dripping with adoption marketing) Adoptive Families Magazine provides the INS Immigration Statistics on Guatemalan children adopted in the U.S. while Guatemala was still open to American adopters. Note the gold rush mentality ramp up just prior to the May 2008 suspension:

Number of Adoptions from Guatemala:
2007: 4,728
2006: 4,135
2005: 3,783
2004: 3,252
2003: 2,328
2002: 2,219

All of this set against the broader backdrop of Guatemalan women increasingly being murdered and left in the streets.

5 Responses to “Guatemalan hunger strike ends- (an initial) victory for the Mothers”

  1. marie slattery Says:

    Thank you for the coverage of the mothers in Guatemala pleading for the return of their stolen children.

    Please see the following and share:

    Three Days for Three Daughters

    Please consider joining this international hunger strike named after three girls who were kidnapped and ultimately placed for adoption in Guatemala.
    It is to bring awareness and an end in the illegal trafficking of children who are sold for adoption

  2. Baby Love Child Says:

    By way of personal note- I have been critical of fasting as a tactic in other spaces, in relation to other fasts- primarily those of an experiential nature as opposed to a political nature. I’m well aware of the history of the tactic, though.

    For some of us, we will likely utilize the designated time period to draw attention and as an educational opportunity, but not participate in fasting itself.

    Still, I thank you for the comment and the work being done.

    As I mentioned recently to another adoptee activist, “each in their own way”.

  3. Lorraine Dusky Says:

    Again, Baby Love Child, thanks for posting a full and complete story about this. Like many of my generation, I have friends whose daughters waited and waited to have a child, and then discovered the only way to do so was to get somebody’s else’s. If only they would take the time to read about the corruption in international adoption–but they don’t. They live in a cocoon and assume they are saving a baby from a horrible life, not that they are raising a child who has been figuratively ripped from his or her mother’s arms.

    lorraine dusky

    PS: thanks for the comments about the post over at Birth Mother/First Mother Forum.

  4. Baby Love Child Says:

    a child who has been figuratively ripped from his or her mother’s arms.

    …or not so figuratively.

    Thank you.

  5. Baby Love Child » You’ve got the kids, I’ve got the cash, let’s make some adoptions. Says:

    […] Once the kids are here does anyone for one minute think they’ll be returned? Again, just ask the mothers of Guatemalan children who were brought to the United States how that getting their kids back has worked for […]

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