"It was cowardice. I have an immense affection for the boy." This was American David Goldman, in Rio, this Thursday, giving vent to his frustration, after being informed that he would not take his son back withÂ him to the United States, five years after Sean, 9, was kidnapped by his own mother to Brazil.
Goldman had just heard that the minister Marco Aurélio de Mello from the Supreme Court (STF) had ruled in favor of a preliminary injunction to keep the child in Brazil after a Federal Court from Rio had decided on Wednesday that Sean should be taken to his father in 48 hours.
Goldman commented that this will be his 5th Christmas without his son, adding: "I'm extremely worn out, but I still have hope."
Earlier in the day, just arrived from New Jersey where he lives, he was in good spirits: "I hope to leave with my son."
He had been received at the airport by officials of the U.S. Consulate in Rio and was escorted by two police cars to the Marriott Hotel in Copacabana Beach.
Orla Blum, a spokesperson for the US Embassy in Brazil, also lamented the Justice's ruling. She said the State Department was disappointed with the decision and inforrmed that the Embassy would assist Goldman and would contact Brazilian officials to see what could be done.
Silvana Bianchi, the maternal grandmother of Sean – she was the one who filed the preventive injunction to keep her gandson in Brazil -Â praised the minister's decision. Bianchi has denied that the child suffered "psychological torture" as argued by Goldman and said that he can visit his son whenever he wishes.
"Today I felt proud to be Brazilian," the woman said, "to see the Constitution of our country respected. To know that a child in Brazil will be heard," she stated in an interview with Reuters.
Earlier in the day, lawyers for the Brazilian family presented a sign they said had been made by Sean, addressed to President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, with the following sentence: "I want to stay in Brazil forever."
Sérgio Tostes, the lawyer defending the stepfather of Sean, Paulo Lins e Silva, told reporters that the boy should remain in Brazil at least until February 2010, when it will be decided if he will be heard by the Court, as the filed injunction requested.
"The Hague Convention is clear: whenever a child refuses to return, her will should be taken into consideration," Tostes said. "The court's decision today is that the boy should remain with the family until all appeals are brought to justice."
The lawyer said that before the Supreme assess whether the child will be heard by the Court or not, he will file an appeal against the decision of Rio's Federal Court.
Tostes denied that the Brazilian family tries to prevent Goldman from seeing his son. He just needs to set a time, stated the lawyer. For him, the father is the one who creates difficulties when visiting the son accompanied by U.S. Congressmen and US consulate's representatives "He doesn't show up because he doesn't want to. He's a negligent father," Tostes commented. "He shows up much more often on TV than to see his son."