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February 01, 2009



This is exactly what it is about: A father who has the right to have his son back. I was expecting that some people would come up with the "smartest" comments such as: I hate Brazil! Or even speculations about David's integrity.


I am a Brazilian living in the US and spreading the word as much as I can on the Internet. I really hope that now when David goes to Brazil in February things work out like it should! It is a shame that some Brazilian or some American authorities are not doing as much as they should! Let’s try to put some pressure on them, and keep up with the good work, Rachel! People like you make me have hope on humankind!


E uma outra coisa que eu queria comentar e que quando contei o caso pra minha sogra que e americana, ela mesma me questionou se o David nao seria abusivo e questionou o porque desse padrasto nao entregar o menino ao pai...se seria um ultimo pedido da Bruna. E ao mesmo tempo, ja ouvi um monte de brasileiros dizerem que sao por essas e outras que estao vivendo no exterior e que sentem vergonha do Brasil e nao querem voltar nem a passeio. Eh uma coisa tao absurda esse pai nao ter filho principalmente depois do falecimento da mae da crianca, que realmente desperta os mais variados sentimentos e questionamentos. Entao, nao acredito que essas opinioes sejam apenas baseadas num "sentimento brasileiro de justificar o sequestro porque o americano eh o bonzinho da historia e o brasileiro eh o vilao".

Vou continuar aqui torcendo por ele e espalhando esse caso.


One thing that strikes me in this case is that probably the powerlessness felt by David is the same powerlessness felt by the ordinary Brazilian citizen.


http://www.midiaindependente.org/ é um site de publicação livre e pode muito bem ser usado para divulgar o caso, especialmente a censura deste.

rita b

I think you should be more worked upt about "the flip side" because the only thing that is going to bring Sean home is pressure from within Brazil.

U.S. Diplomacy can't do much more than it has done. I agree that the idea of a boycott or an invasion are ridiculous, however, if Brazil chooses to ignore the diplomatic measures that the US State Department has taken, what are the choices. You cite a post from Lisa as being intelligent, but in reality, the next step of diplomatic tools would probably involve some sort of "travel warning", economic sanctions, or World Court action to strike Brazil as a member of the Hague treaty. None of that is going to happen. The United States is essentially powerless to do anything else. US courts, specifically NJ State courts, have properly applied the Hague convention. Our State Department has done everything that is necessary to enforce the Hague Convention in Brazil, by filing documents with the Brazilian Central Authority.

Brazil has ignored it. Yes, Brazil. As much as you want to blame this issue on two unsavory Brazilians, the fact is that the Brazilian Court System is corrupt, and has ignored international law and a petition from the Brazilian Attorney General.

What do you suggest that the US government do?

Sean is only coming home if Brazilian public opinion pressures the courts into acting.


I'm proud of you, Rachel.

e torçendo para o Brasi mandar o Sean c/o pai dele.



You know what, Rachel... We deserve a boycott, oh we so do.
I don't think 100% of our judges are corrupt. On the contrary, based on my experience as I've written before here, I believe a very small percentage of judges are bad guys.
But we deserve some kind of reprisal for having local laws that contradicts international agreements and that can be manipulated by some arrogant members of our elite, who have always been above the law since Brazil is Brazil. And we let them do what they want. Democracy is just a joke in countries like mine.
That video just broke my heart, I'm so furious and have never felt so embarrassed for being a Brazilian.


To de longe, mas to horrorizada com esse caso. A começar com essa tal Bruna e sua falsidade. Como pode uma pessoa conviver com outra numa farsa por 4 anos? Foi isso que ela fez e quem sabe já tinha o plano da fuga preparado há muito tempo.
Voltando pro Brasil, com certeza foi orientada a fazer o rolo perfeito e o castigo foi tanto que morreu. Por que nao devolvem o filho pro pai? Porque a justiça brasileira não é pra quem quer nao...é pra quem pode e nesse caso a tal familia corrupta de advogados tá podendo. Até onde nao sei...mas um dia eles vao perder feio e espero que seja logo.

rita b

To clarify, I think that Rachel's coverage of this case has been terrific. However, I strongly disagree that the US Govt could do any more at this point. Brazil is a sovereign country, and the US has done everything it can at this point. Any "stronger" diplomatic action by the US would cause an international incident and turn Brazilians against the US. There is literally nothing further the US State Department can do. I would be curious to see what type of "action" Rachel thinks is appropriate, since she thought "Lisa's" post was so intelligent.

It is up to the government and courts of Brazil. Last I checked, Brazil is supposed to have a democratically elected government---which means that the government should be accountable to its citizens. Therefore, it is up to the citizens of Brazil to begin a movement to bring sean home.


The image of Brazil is so bad outside that it doesn't have a way to get worster.The only thing it will do is to spread the hatred against Brazil and the Brazilians for more than 10 million Americans.I hope that a honest and fair judge from Rio can be able to give the custody of the kid to his father.

Jucara U.

Dear Rachel,
As a Carioca who has been living in NY for 5 years and is married to an american man, I have to say..I am shocked that nobody was able to get the attention of the Brazilian TV to this case, I am embarrassed for learning this case from NBC and not from O GLOBO and that the Justice is proving to be slow and partial. The Lins e Silva family may be very respected and powerful but they are not God. And God will move on this case. My prayers are with David Goldman and his son. Thank you for covering this case in such a loving and respectful way to the case and to my country - God bless you all.


I saw this report and saw you interviewed on Friday. I was like "the Rio Gringa!" Great work!

I have said before, Brazil is a sovereign nation and they do not have to abide by any US court ruling. Furthermore, enforcing international law can be very difficult, especially in cases like this. In these cases, unfortunately, most people are forced to get their kids back on their own. The Brazilian authorities are wrong in this case and should have sent the boy home to his dad years ago. But as Rita B above has said, what can the US do outside of starting an international incident? I think your work getting the story out to the Brazilian public is the most effective thing. Actually getting the story out to the world would probably help, so keep up the good work.

Honestly, I think there's more going on here though. Beyond the courts being influenced by this powerful family, a man's life has been threatened because he's trying to get his son back. This simply goes way too far to keep a child that is not even a blood relative. It's just odd, I don't care where you're from. To me it sounds like they have something to hide that will come out if Sean is allowed to leave their custody. Just my opinion.

Renê Guedes


first of all its a pleasure to write here, in such intelligent and high-level place to discuss important issues of our cotidiany.
I have been following your just and brave campaign about this horrible kidnapping.
Why you dont try to post some coments about this issues on important blogs ans sites here of brazil. I´m not talki8ng about the greta midia, bur democratic and open spaces like www.viomundo.com.br or colunistas.ig.com.br/luisnassif/ (this last blog belongs to Luis Nassif, a great jornalist in Brazil).
I belive you ar doing a nice, wonderful job, fighting this mistification between brazilians and americans arrond them selfs.
I am a engineer from são Paulo and i always read your commets..
My best regards,

Renê Guedes


I have created a community on Orkut.com named after the webdite bringseanhome.or. I am braziliam, but adopted by Americans, so I am deeply touched by the story, sad, angry and discusted by the actions of the two lawyers. There is no justification for them to keep Sean in Brasil.
The media should be doing their part, this is a clear manipulation of the legal sistem and should be reported that someone with money can do that. Can you imagine if politicians find out that they can silence the media with a court order, they will have a field day. Join the community on orkut and spread the word.
Otto- Jersey City, NJ


I disagree that with the statement that the U.S. has done all it can diplomatically. President Obama and President Lula have opened up a dialogue, including a promise to visit each other's countries. Obama could absolutely make the importance of this issue known to Lula. Lula and his Minister of Justice, Tarso Genro, could intercede with these judges, telling them that this is a FEDERAL or SUPREME court issue, and that they have a responsibility to COMPLY with the treaty.


I agree with all the critics who say you should hear the other side of the story. I'm desperate to hear this other side. But it remains silent. Should I say "suspiciously" silent? I don't know. Maybe they have good reasons to keep this silence. Maybe they don't.
Anyway, I was so desperate that I tried another round of searches and I finally found something:

I still agree that the child should be with his natural father, unless someone can produce any good reason against it. Some very, very good, seriously good, undeniably good reason. But it's not for me to decide. We have judges for that, in Brazil or in the US, they should make this kind of decisions, not the mob, even when the mob is "right".

Yes, Brazil has a corrupt justice and an unreliable press, and I don't trust this particular family. I honestly think they are wrong and I tend to believe they are ill intentioned (although I don't know why - cold blooded bandits don't usually fight for children that aren't their own), and it's not unlikely that, with all their knowledge, they're manipulating the legal system in their favor.
But this corruption goes only to some extent. The judicial system is intricate - and sometimes apparently unjust - in any democracy. The press is silent not because they are totally corrupt and in favor of the influential local family, but because Brazilian justice determined so. And we shouldn't condemn the press, in Brazil, US or elsewhere, for obeying the law. I'm sure any American can remember one case or two when they didn't agree with the final verdict, but that's how it works.

Maybe this decision was wrong, maybe the judge was a friend of the family. I can't judge that. But they are using (perhaps "abusing") the system, not guns and thugs, and if it's wrong, we should fight to change the system, not destroy it (or pass over it). Because if we do so, we end up with no justice at all, and this will be the the real paradise for "mafia" families.

Unfortunately I have to say, along with many others here, that pushing US against Brazil, as suggested in some comments to the previous post on the subject, will certainly do more harm than good. Informing Brazilians about it would be much better. And, for all I have seen, the majority of Brazilians who get to know the case tend to be sympathetic to David (except for those who knew the deceased mother, but they don't (or can't) explain why).

Of course the American press has all the right (and duty) to publicize this case, and so has this blog (at least while it's not shut down - and I hope it won't!). And Brazilians have the duty to demand more transparency and efficiency from their judicial system. But they cannot overrule this system just because of one particular case (even one so cruel like this), but fight to perfect this system so that cases like his will never happen again.

Or, as someone suggested, the US president could invade Brazil, like Bush did with Iraq, and rescue the poor boy. He has all the means to do so, and I believe he might even encounter much less resistance, both inside Brazil and from the international community. But I don't believe this is the kind of Democracy Mr. Obama wants to show the World. Besides, with the current crisis between Brazil and Italy, the Brazilian government should be more than interested in finding short diplomatic solutions for any other international conflict.


Rachel, my dear do you have any idea how much you would have to pay to get a web site or blog on a nationally televised show on a major network? You owe me big time kiddo ;)

People should know that we are not angry with the Federal government or Brazilians. We know that the Brazilian legal system is intricate and consists of a large body of law. We certainly do not condone or approve of any vitriolic statements that have been made. We have tried not to be too heavy handed with censorship since we all firmly believe in our constitutional right of free speech however we are and will continue monitoring the comments on the BringSeanHome blog. So far we've deleted an EQUAL number of atrocious comments submitted from people in the USA and Brazil.

This is NOT the USA versus Brazil, this is simply about one little boy and one man who should and must be together. We are going to re-unite Sean and David, of that we are certain, we will NEVER give up.

I hope you have an enjoyable visit with your parents and please Be Careful!


"The press is silent not because they are totally corrupt and in favor of the influential local family, but because Brazilian justice determined so."

Wrong. The Lins e Silva family petitioned a local state judge that they have in their pocket to silence the media. Using political influence to get the judicial system to act in one's favor is the definition of corruption.

Despite this unlawful and absurd "gag order", journalist Dorrit Harazim and intellectual publication Revista Piaui had no problem publishing a stunning breakthrough article on the case in November 2008. As far as I know Revista Paiui is still in business. How is it that a small publication like Revista Paiui was willing to publish an article on Joao Paulo Lins e Silva and the Lins e Silva family, but a large multi-national publication like Globo is ignoring it?


Should Paiui be condemned for ignoring the "law"? Should Rachel?

Perhaps it has to do with the fact that the Lins e Silva family represents Globo and the members of the Lins e Silva and Ribeiros family have strong business and political connections to Brazilian mass media? Again undue influence to stifle the press and maninulation of a free press = corruption.

Thank goodness for honest and brave journalists and bloggers like Dorrit Harazim and Rachel Glickhouse for attempting to get this story out to the Brazilian public.

One day the staff at Globo and the Brazilian public will learn that REAL journalism is more than showing the bouncing breasts of the latest celebrity of the day.


To JamesJosephus,

I don't want to start any fight here, but I didn't say that the judicial is not corrupt. Actually I said it is. What I said is that the press has a reason to not publish anything about this other than their corruption. If Piauí is brave enough to face he risk of a fine, of course they shouldn't be condemned, but applauded. I only think that it is at least understandable that Folha de São Paulo and Rede Record didn't want to pay it, neither other media groups, seeing what happened to them. Did you read the link I posted? It explains that, in cases involving minors, this silence is always mandatory, even when the judge is not in any body's pocket. This may or may not be true, but this is where the problem is (the justice, prohibiting any publicity, not the press), so this should be the focus of anyone really interested in solving this absurd problem. I think attacking those who can't do anything about it won't help anyone. The press may not be innocent (I'm sure they are not), but while this court order exists, they can't do anything, or at least they can argue they can't do anything. So it's up to us, outside Brazilian main media, to spread the word, and to the lawyers to get this decision changed, and also to diplomats to try a faster solution.

And I'm sure David and those who help him are doing exactly this, and I never tried to criticize them. I wish them the best of lucks and I'm sure so much dedication will be rewarded. I just wanted to offer my two cents of understanding where the problem really is to those who seem to be looking at wrong directions (and with the wrong attitude).

I don't condemn Rachel either. If you read my comment to the end, you will see me doing the exact opposite of that.

Ion Paul

I am the father of a small child and after I saw the dateline episode, I was shocked. I want to simply thank you for reaching out to Sean's father. The world would be a better place if we could all do at least one selfless act now and then, as you have done.

I also wanted to say that you are absolutely right in your conclusion. Nationality means nothing in this case. Being a person who has lived around the world and grew up in between two cultures, I can say that there are good people and bad people of every race, nationality and ethnicity. If we could see past the social constructs that set us apart, maybe it wouldn't be so hard for us to come together for the really important moments.

The fact that Sean's dad is right and the Brazilian family and Sean's step-dad are wrong doesn't pass judgment on them as Americans or Brazilians. This case has touched so many people so deeply because it is at the heart of what it means to be parent and to love your child.

Thank you, Gringa de Brasil for letting people know (sorry, I don't remember your name) Please continue and we hope to see a happy ending to this story!

Best wishes,


My Congressman, Christopher Smith (R) is headed to Brazil tomorrow with David for his next court hearing with Joao Paulo Lins e Silva.

Dan Plainview

I have a bit of experience in cases like this, unfortunately. To me, the Grandparents are the force behind this and are using this Lins e Silva fella as a front. They want to raise these children (Sean and the new baby girl) together. The U.S. Goverment can do more (and may be). I think that situations like this can best be remedied politically without a lot of fanfare; well-placed phone calls or personal conversations. This is a State Dept job and Hillary needs to step-in if she hasn't already ... my guess is she already has but we will never read about it. I am not saying she needs to influence a judicial decision, but come on ... this is cut-and-dry and there needs to be some well-placed pressure applied to get people to do the right thing ... and where Brazil can be put in a position where they do the right thing while saving face, not because they were backed into a political corner in the world press.



06/02/2009 - 08h07
STJ realiza audiência de conciliação de pai americano e padrasto brasileiro em disputa por menino
O ministro Luís Felipe Salomão, da Segunda Seção do Superior Tribunal de Justiça (STJ), realiza, nesta sexta-feira (6), audiência de conciliação entre um pai norte-americano e um padrasto brasileiro que disputam a guarda de um menino de oito anos. Ela acontece às 14h, na sede do Tribunal. O caso corre em segredo de justiça.

Segundo o ministro, esta é uma audiência exclusivamente de conciliação, seja em relação à definição da guarda da criança ou ao direito de visitação ao filho. "Se não houver conciliação, pretendo levar o conflito de competência a julgamento em curto espaço de tempo, talvez até na próxima semana", afirmou.

Esse é mais um round de um caso que ocupa os tribunais do país desde 2004, quando a mãe, brasileira, saiu dos Estados Unidos com a criança, então com quase três anos de idade, sem a autorização do pai. No próprio STJ, ela obteve a guarda definitiva do menino.

Entretanto, com o seu falecimento, em agosto de 2008, no parto do seu segundo filho (meio irmão do menor e filho do padrasto), o pai biológico ingressou com uma ação de busca e apreensão, movida pela União, na qual pede o cumprimento do Tratado de Viena. Já o padrasto pede o reconhecimento da paternidade socioafetiva.

O juízo estadual, no qual o padrasto pede a guarda do enteado, já negou um pedido do norte-americano para visitar a criança. O juízo federal, no qual tramita a ação de busca e apreensão, concedeu ao pai biológico o direito de visitação ao filho, mas o encontro não ocorreu.

Em razão do conflito entre as decisões, o norte-americano ingressou com o conflito de competência no STJ, para que seja decidido qual o juízo responsável pelo exame da questão.

Coordenadoria de Editoria e Imprensa

Diego Vilar

"Luckily, there were some intelligent reactions, like this one from Lisa in LA, also on the BSH blog:

'Wait…let me get this straight. The State Department of the most powerful country in the WORLD can’t stop two corrupt lawyers from kidnapping a child who belongs to someone else??? We can invade Iraq, locate Saddam Hussein in a hole, but we can’t retrieve an 8-year-old from Ipanema? They know who the people are, they know where they live…yet they can’t do anything to stop them? HOW CAN THIS HAPPEN?!?!? Poor David Goldman. You couldn’t write a movie this barbaric.'"

Lisa's is the intelligent comment your gathered among them all? Wow.. how's that smart? Sounds like she's angry cause the US hasn't sent a Delta Force squad here to "rescue" his son back, by force... It's called sovereignty, Lisa, something many, many Americans seem to know nothing about, let alone recognize. And one can't just go to another sovereign country and impose his/her will regardless of the existence of a local system. There's also something called jurisdiction. Whatever a US judge in law, a congressman or even the president thinks is the right course of action is exactly just that: a thought. A thought that, together with other's, will be heard, analyzed and considered by the Brazilian judiciary system, who will decide the case accordingly to the law. Our law. We have our own laws, and they might be different, but it's still the law system in place here, and that's got to and will be respected. I'm sure a lot of Brazilians don't agree with whatever laws were enforced on them in American airports back in 9/11, but hey, guess what? They had to accept it. No need to go that far, actually, there are simplier cases where the roles are inverted, I'm sure. But I'm loosing the focus here already. My point is: stop with this ridiculous way of thinking that you can defy any sovereign country and impose your will. You can't. In fact, you have been doing it so often to the point where it's become banal. One symptom of that is exactly Lisa's comment: she's not angry cause they "can't", but because they "didn't".

Now, I'm not well informed about the case, so I won't even take a side, but I'm sure there is more than one side to every story, and that's one of the reasons of the existence of law systems: disputes. Know the facts, support whatever you believe in, do whatever you think may help, but please stop this imperialistic way of thinking already. It's just ridiculous.

That being said, I do hope Mr. Goldman has nothing against him that prevents him to reunite with his son, I really do. If not for the benefit of the child, a father should not be kept from raising his own son.

Mari Biddle


realmente a nacionalidade das partes eh o que menos importa neste momento. O que importa eh a estabilidade emocional de um garotinho de 8 anos no meio deste vendaval de egos, corrupcao e dor com a perda da mae.

Eu, brasileira, questionadora e fiel defensora de que pessoas que optam pelo "jeitinho" tem de ir para o inferno, dedico boa parte de meu tempo a enviar e-mail, escrever cartas, chamar a atenca de mais brasileiros para esta caso sui generis de abducao internacional.

Que os deuses ajudem David nesta batalha.

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