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Rep. Smith not happy with Brazil getting Olympics

October 4th, 2009
U.S. Rep. Christopher Smith (R-Hamilton)

U.S. Rep. Christopher Smith (R-Hamilton)

Rio de Janeiro may be one of the party capitals of the world, but Rep. Chris Smith was in no partying mood yesterday after Brazil’s largest city was awarded the 2016 Summer Olympics, calling the decision “unfortunate.”

The congressman from Hamilton for months has demanded that Brazil’s government obey international laws and end its cruel practice of harboring “kidnapped” Americans, including 9-year-old Sean Goldman of New Jersey.

“If the Olympics Committee is not going to listen to appeals about human rights when it comes to an egregious violator like China, when it comes to a country where kidnappers find safe haven, like Brazil, it’s any wonder that these issues do not play into their decision whatsoever,” Smith told The Trentonian.

Rio is the primary city at the heart of an alleged extralegal attempt to block the Jersey boy from being returned to his American dad, David Goldman.

Smith has repeatedly traveled to Brazil with David Goldman to win custody of his son, but the Brazilian court system is allowing a stepdad, who is a connected Rio de Janeiro lawyer, to have custody of the boy.

The stepdad took custody of Sean after the boy’s mom, Bruna Bianchi Goldman, died last year. David Goldman said the boy’s mom in 2004 abducted Sean from New Jersey to Brazil.

The IOC “really doesn’t factor in human rights in their decisions, and the classic case in point is China,” Smith said, adding that the IOC selected China for the 2008 Games despite knowing about Beijing’s “egregious” human rights violations.

The congressman alleged Brazil is harboring 65 “kidnapped” American children. Smith said he thinks the Brazilian people are “wonderful” but that its government is breaking international law and needs to do the right thing or face punishment.

Smith alleges that Brazil is violating the Hague Convention on international child abductions. He also accuses Japan of breaking that convention, citing the case of a Tennessee man arrested Monday in the Land of the Rising Sun simply for trying to reclaim his two “abducted” kids.

In June, Smith introduced a bill in Congress that seeks to slap Brazil with trade sanctions if the South American nation doesn’t comply with international child abduction law. The measure, if passed and enacted into law, would suspend certain trade preferences with Brazil.

Smith in July unveiled a comprehensive “International Child Abduction Prevention Act of 2009” that seeks to establish procedures for the “prompt return of children abducted to other countries.”

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