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BABY STEALING IN GUATAMALA
by: S.R. Shearer
In the first week of June 1994, "20/20" reported on charges of baby-selling in Guatemala. The charges - which had gained wide-spread acceptance among the peasants in that impoverished land - were that "middle men" were buying (and in some instances, stealing) babies for sale to rich, yuppie-class North Americans. The "20/20" report centered on two cases involving North American women who, while visiting Guatemala, almost lost their lives to infuriated mobs who believed the women had come to that unsettled and poverty-stricken land to receive stolen babies to take home. The program tended to treat the charges as myths generated out of superstition and ignorance; as a result, "20/20" was disposed to ignore the veracity of the charges by the peasants, and instead centered its report largely on the tragic plight of the two women - both of whom were well-educated, middle-aged, yuppies - exactly the type of women Guatemalan peasants had come to believe were at the center of the growing baby-trade.
But reliable news reports from Guatemala City painted a very different story from that which had been painted by "20/20." For example, F. Colindres and C. Morales, reporting in Cronica, a centrist newsmagazine in Guatemala City, said that - in fact - foreign adoptions of Guatemalan children had mushroomed in recent years - and that behind this phenomenon was a network of baby brokers, lawyers, politicians, police officers, and even officials in the Ministry of Public Health and Social Welfare who offered Guatemalan children to North Americans for prices ranging up to $15,000 per child. In addition, there was evidence that many of the same people who for years had been involved in right-wing Death Squad activity provided the "muscle" sometimes necessary to obtain the children.
Childrens advocate Guillermo Carranza explained that baby brokers go to clinics, hospitals, and poor villages where they look for women willing to give up or sell one or more of their children. But, as in any business, things do not always work out. Some women immediately regret having sold their babies. If they try to renege on the agreement, they may have to go into hiding to avoid reprisals. Child-buyers also approach prostitutes and young women who, out of ignorance or need, rent out their wombs as surrogate mothers.
Because of the poverty of so many young women and the large sums of money that
prospective North American parents are willing to pay, the selling
of children has, according to Colindres and Morales - and contrary
to "20/20s" report - become a thriving business
in Guatemala. One investigator, Claudio Porres, chief of criminal
investigations for the public-health ministry, says that at
least twenty gangs - all of them in one way or another linked
to the same people who are involved in Death Squad activity
- profit from the trade. Porres, noted as an exceptionally honest
official in a world otherwise characterized by corruption and
blood-shed, reports that in the first two months of this year
alone, police (under his orders) recovered fifty-four newborns
(with a "street value" of almost one million dollars)
in ten houses and arrested thirteen people, including two lawyers.
But such "recoveries" are few and far between, and
represent less than 10 percent of the real volume, which - if
true - would be an annual trade in babies approaching $60,000,000.
Given the demand for babies, officials suspect that many of the children who disappear may in fact be illicitly adopted with help from unscrupulous professionals who exploit weaknesses in the legal adoption process. Former Congressional Deputy Mario Taracena, who has tried to get a new adoption law passed, makes more specific charges. He says that "in Guatemala it is easy to find a doctor who will sign a birth certificate without seeing the baby, a social worker who will certify the childs socioeconomic status without even knowing where the babys parents live, and a notary public who will attest to documents he has not seen."
Taracena notes that the baby trade involves both civil servants and politicians. In one case, Taracena accused Justice Juan Jose Rodil, president of the Supreme Court, of being the owner of a "birthing house" from which infants were allegedly sold.
Since these initial reports, a growing body of what now appears to be irrefutable evidence has surfaced to corroborate Carranza, Taracena, Porres and the others. For example, on Friday, June 5th, 1996, ABCs Nightline aired an account by Emily Buchanan of the BBC of widespread baby stealing in Paraguay. The account reported on a massive flow of hundreds and hundreds of North Americans who were streaming into Paraguay to obtain babies - at a cost of upwards of $44,000 per child. Again - as in Guatemala - the muscle behind the baby trade are the Death Squads.
Christians should ask themselves, are these the kind of people they want to get mixed up with? Yet this is precisely what is happening when they allow their names to be tied - if only indirectly - to people who are involved in Death Squad activity - people like Calero, DAubuisson, etc. - people who, if not themselves directly involved, are tied to those who are.
- An ancillary charge is that the babies are being stolen for body parts.
- The two women were June Weinstock and Janice Vogel; the case of June Weinstock is particularly heart-rending; she was beaten senseless by a mob in San Cristobal. She is currently hospitalized in her home state of Alaska; she remains in a coma and is not expected to recover.
- The figures become even more astronomical if one assumes that the fifty-four babies recovered by Porres represent only the work of the "free-lance" operations.
For example, a recent - and much more balanced news report on the baby trade in Guatemala, a report aired by "Now" on August 17, 1994 - showed the activity of one gang which operated a "house" in Guatemala City through which some twenty babies passed every two weeks - that would be an average of eighty babies every two months. If its assumed that each of the other nineteen gangs have similar houses out of which they operate, then the trade in babies in Guatemala could approach $144,000,000 a year.
Similar operations are beginning to spring up in many of the other Central American nations, to say nothing of Mexico - in Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama and El Salvador; many of these countries could prove even more amenable to the trade in babies than Guatemala. Indeed, Francisco Goldman, an authority on the baby trade in Guatemala and who helped with the "Now" broadcast of August 17, 1994, says that the expansion of the baby trade shows no slackening, and agrees that it is spreading to other Central American nations. If the trade does continue to spread, than what we may be talking about in a few years is a trade in human flesh - and baby flesh at that - amounting to more than a quarter of a billion dollars a year.
- Much of this information was taken from reports which first appeared in Guatemala in the newsmagazine, Cronica, by F. Colindres and C. Morales; it appeared in this country in World Press Review, May 1994, pg. 45
- Christian Voice is a Moon-connected group that has operated out of the Heritage building. Gary Jarmin, a "former" Moon operative, gave an interview to a Moon-connected newspaper after he joined the Christian Voice (CV) staff in which he attacked critics of Moon. CVs chairman, Robert Grant, has been a leader of Moons unification network front groups such as the American Freedom Council, which fund raised for Oliver North. Jarmin also had a consulting business in the Heritage offices. (See Bellant, Coors Connection, pg. 9.).
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HELP BECAUSE WE DO NOT "LINK" WITH OTHER SO-CALLED "CHRISTIAN"
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in the abject poverty that American corporations have
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machine has ravaged - A BLOODY, TERROR-RIDDEN RAMPAGE
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OF THE "PRINCE OF PEACE." [Please see our articles,
"The Third World
as a Model for the New World Order," Inside
the American New World Order System" and "The
American Empire: The Corporate / Pentagon / CIA / Missionary
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