a RIO NEGRO Newspaper SA. publication
Wednesday, 9 February 2005
A United States family is denied political asylum
The Spauldings want to settle in Bariloche. They assure us that they are persecuted by the U.S.
SAN CARLOS DE BARILOCHE(AB) – The committee of eligibility for refugees (CEPARE) of Argentina denied the petition for political asylum of a United States couple with five children (aged from six months to 13 years) that has been traveling the world since April of 2003 and avoiding incidents looking for a place to settle.
Gary Spaulding, the head of the family, asserts that he feels persecuted by the government of his country because of his “condition of humanitarian Christian missionaries” and “because of defending his religious values”, and after traveling through various countries looking for asylum he wants to settle in Bariloche, even if they also deny his right to an appeal.
According to Spaulding’s comments, his family’s drama started to develop the 16th of April of 1993, while they were living in Chicago, when he and his wife wanted to help the members of the Branch Davidians with food and humanitarian aid, who had entrenched themselves in Waco, Texas, and were surrounded by agents of the FBI. That day Spaulding and a friend were detained and jailed when they tried to cross the police checkpoint, and he said he had proof that the explosion and fire that killed 86 people including 17  children three days later, was not a self suicide ordered by David Koresh, as was broadcasted, but rather an attack with military gas and flammable material. He explained that since that moment he began to be followed by a cult investigator and that, in 1997, when an assault with a car bomb happened in the southern part of the state of Indiana, he was interrogated by the FBI in connection with the act, as though they consider him a terrorist.
Spaulding asserts that he has degrees in Spanish, French and German languages for English speaking people, but when he was detained he was working as a farmer at a [their family’s] farm. Later he organized a campsite for [his own] children, and said that police agents, social workers and others threatened him with taking away his children because they didn’t have a permanent shelter and didn’t go to [the government] school. He explained that he didn’t fear legal actions by the Justice System, rather the illegal ones, “because that way they don’t need proof to criminalize the father,” and that he held to the methods of [Christian] homeschooling.
Until 2003 the Spauldings lived with relative tranquility in a house under-construction, but when it was finished they decided to leave the country believing that the threat against them continued. They boarded a cruise ship in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to avoid the strict control measures of airports, disembarked in Barcelona and went to Andorra, where they intended to stay to live. However, a United States communiqué marked him as a criminal for “obstructing authorities [in 1993 in Waco] and falsifying documentation and vehicle registration in 1994”, and they were expelled from Andorra, [no questions asked.] After that they were in France, Holland and Switzerland, where their fifth daughter was born, but their petitions for asylum were denied in all of those places and they were not allowed to enter the United Kingdom [nor Ireland] either. Finally Gary, his wife Vickie Lynn and their children L’abri, Jireh, Beni, Talitha and Ciela, left for Paraguay, and the 17th of December of 2004 entered Argentina by way of Clorinda and asked for protection as refugees under the terms of the Geneva Convention.
Looking for a place to live
The Argentine C.E.P.A.R.E. regarded Spaulding’s arrest when he tried to get food to the group entrenched in Waco as justified for “having interfered with the duties of public servants”, and also considered the claim that his children should receive obligatory public education as reasonable. [For an exposé of this fraud, see: Argentina Asylum Appeal]. It reasoned that the migratory or asylum measures that the countries took where they wanted to enter can’t be linked with persecution by the North American authorities, but are decisions of sovereign states, and that “It doesn’t seem probable that fear based in persecution exists, under the terms laid out by the Geneva Convention of 1951, and its Protocol of 1967.” For that reason it denied the refugee status to the petitioners, concluding that they don’t have the necessary requirements.
The Spauldings asked for reconsideration of this measure, but at the same time look to regularize their situation as immigrants and settle in this city. But they don’t have money for food, a place to stay, nor clothes and shoes to wear, and they say some institutions, like Caritas, started to turn their back on them.* Since arriving in Bariloche they were living at a camp in Colonia Suiza, but they no longer have money to pay for their stay, they don’t have clothes to change into and at this moment they are only provided with humanitarian aid by Eduardo and Susana Nahuelfil, from the Salvation Army. (AB)
*The Bishop of Caritas, Monseigneur Fernando Maletti, said to me in the Bishop’s office, Pasaje Gutierrez 893; “I have dark complexioned people to help. I can’t help blonds.”
Translation from Spanish by: L’abri