Clinton Intervenes in US-Brazil Custody Case

March 4, 2009 - 11:09 AM
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New York (AP) - Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has intervened in an international custody dispute over an 8-year-old boy, saying Wednesday she is pushing Brazil to return him to his father in New Jersey.
 
The boy, whose Brazilian mother died last year, is being raised by his stepfather, a lawyer in Rio de Janeiro.
 
Speaking to NBC's "Today" show from Jerusalem, Clinton said David Goldman has followed the rules "under every known law of international adoption" and should be granted custody of his son. She applauded his efforts to get custody of the boy.
 
"I did raise it at the highest levels of the Brazilian government," she said.
 
Goldman's wife, Bruna, took the boy on a vacation to Brazil in 2004 and never returned to the United States. She divorced him, remarried and died last year after giving birth.
 
Goldman has said he was denied visitation for years.
 
Clinton said Goldman's case is an example of a problem around the world. She said there were nearly 50 U.S. children in similar situations in Brazil who should be returned to the U.S. -- and more around the world.
 
She compared the case to the Elian Gonzalez custody battle, which ended in 2000 when the administration of her husband, President Bill Clinton, decided that a young boy should be returned to his father in Cuba over the objections of relatives in Miami.
 
U.S. Rep. Christopher Smith, a Republican from New Jersey, intervened in Goldman's case last month and traveled to Brazil with him.
 
While Smith was there, Goldman, of Tinton Falls, was able to meet with his son for the first time in nearly five years.
 
The custody case remains in Brazilian courts -- and Brazilian administration officials have said there is little they can do about it. Foreign Minister Celso Amorim told Brazilian media several weeks ago that the case is being handled by the nation's justice system.
 
Clinton's comments on Wednesday come two weeks before Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is scheduled to meet with President Barack Obama in Washington. She did not say during the interview whether the presidents would discuss the case.
 
Goldman did not immediately return a message from The Associated Press on Wednesday.