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US pushes harder in Brazilian custody case

March 16, 2009 5:29:14 PM PDT
State lawmakers have joined the chorus of U.S. officials calling for Brazil to return an 8-year-old boy to his father in New Jersey. The state Senate on Monday applauded David Goldman's efforts to have his son returned in a case that he believes is parental abduction.

"All the people of this state feel the outrage that you must feel to the people who did this to you," said Senate President Richard Codey, D-West Orange.

The boy was taken to Brazil in 2004 by his mother, Bruna Bianchi, who later divorced Goldman. She died last year after giving birth to a child by her second husband, Joao Paulo Lins e Silva, a lawyer from Rio de Janeiro. Both children are being raised by his family.

The boy's family in Brazil has said it's better for him to remain where he has lived for nearly five years.

The state Senate's support comes two days after President Barack Obama raised the case with Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. In recent weeks, the U.S. House of Representatives and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have called for Goldman to get custody of the boy.

Goldman, who lives in Tinton Falls on the Jersey shore, told the senators that other children are in similar circumstances. The State Department says 3,000 abducted U.S. children are living in other countries, including 70 in Brazil.

"My son coming home will be the beginning of the positive results for the rest of those children," said Goldman, who returned Sunday from a trip to Brazil where he was able to visit his son for only the second time since 2004.

In Rio de Janeiro, about 75 protesters gathered Sunday morning outside the hotel where Goldman was staying in the Copacabana neighborhood.

The crowd - mostly made up of friends and family of the Brazilian stepfather - chanted support for Lins e Silva and carried banners proclaiming that Brazil is the boy's real home and that he wants to stay.

"If David wins custody and takes him to the United States, I will renounce my Brazilian citizenship," said Luca Bianchi, the 30-year-old brother of the boy's mother. "He is just as Brazilian as me and has the right to remain here."


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