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Raul and Claudia

Posted by Dr. D , 13 October 2012 · 400 views

Several years ago Claudia Maria Alvarez Saenz got pregnant.  She was sixteen and her boyfriend, Raul Delgado Cortez was 19.  They wanted to marry but her father refused permission because she was too young.  They couldn’t tell him that she was pregnant because they would never have been permitted to see each other again.  They planned for a few days and one night slipped away and took a bus to the border.  In a few days they were in San Antonio where Raul found work in a car wash and they rented a room.  Somehow they had “made it” and were happy to be together and found safety within each other.

Seven months later, Claudia went into labor and they hurried to the hospital.  She was taken to a labor room while Raul filled out the admission forms.  He had spoken with the hospital months before and asked about costs.  He had saved and was prepared to pay cash.  When asked how old the mother was, he replied honestly, “seventeen.”  An hour later the police arrived at the hospital and Raul was arrested for statutory rape.

Everything was done through an interpreter and while an inexperienced public defender argued that if a rape did occur, it was in Mexico, outside the jurisdiction of Texas, it didn’t seem to matter.  The Judge claimed that the location of a crime is not an issue; every nation has the right to prosecute under extraterritorial jurisdiction.  Nor was it important that the Mexican culture is different and rural-dwelling girls often marry at sixteen. In places like Oaxaca and Guerrero, a man can still buy a girl from her father.  It didn’t matter that they were a couple deeply in love.  Nothing mattered.

Raul was sentenced to prison.  All he asked was that the money in his pocket be given to the hospital for Claudia and his son to be released.  The sentence was suspended and he was turned over to immigration authorities.  A couple weeks later, immigration went to the room and found Claudia and her baby.  She was breast feeding and surviving on the last scraps of food in the refrigerator and pantry.

For some reason, Claudia and the baby were left at the border first.  The bus driver told them to get out at 2 a.m. in a turbulent border city.  She sat with the baby in a small plaza near the Mexican immigration office for three days until Raul arrived.  After that they had no place to go, except home.

For seven years Claudia and Raul were not permitted to even speak to each other.  He would go to the mass and sit far in the back just to watch her as she sat between her parents.  If she glanced backwards, her father would pinch her leg.  She drew a heart with lipstick on her bedroom window for him to see when he passed by.  In June, their son entered the first grade and in August, Claudia’s father died.

Last Sunday, Claudia Maria Alvarez Saenz and Raul Delgado Cortez were married.  I am now the godfather of their son.  Raul spent seven years building and furnishing a small house where they now live.  They no longer think about things like justice or controversy.  They are too busy being who they were meant to be.

Star of the Sea
Oct 13 2012 11:14 PM
Wow just wow! I'm speechless!
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