On October 2, 2010 at 4 A.M. at the General Hospital in Nogales, Sonora, Mexico a friend and a son as well as a brother died of AIDS. He never got to see his 28th birthday. The story is one of the saddest that I have been involved with, and the pain I am feeling is just terrible and the only outlet I have is to tell Ruben’s story here on my blog. It is times like this that I understand that I do have a great deal of compassion I sometimes wonder if I have much anymore. For at this time I am in a state of emotional pain and devastation, and I am pleased to have these feelings. My concern, is that as I have grown older I do feel the pain of others at times, but I also feel numb to the stupidity and anguish of some of what I see and read about, both in my work as well as what I read and see in the news. These feelings of pain and anguish are normal and healthy, and most of all a process of healing, even for me.
There is a Marion County Sheriff, Salem, Oregon that should be very very proud of himself, good “police work!” Approximately 18 months ago, it was a deputy who sealed… …I had the authority to enforce the law, there was the “letter” of the law and there was the “spirit” of the law. … ….I always sided on the thought “give a break” when I could. Why do you ask? Easy, “there but by the grace of God go I.” Or, was it all the coppers who cut John J. Nazarian a break way back when I was a real “ADAM HENRY”…
…Ruben [Valdovinos Cortes] had been in the United States most of his 28 years, coming from Mexico as a child with no choice at the age of 4 (some of these kids never return to Mexico, hell some don’t even speak Spanish, the US is all they know). Attended school and graduated Mendota High School, Fresno County, California (I can remember sending Ruben money for his cap and gown, it was just the thing to do). Ruben had all the same dreams that every teenager who graduates has, onward to bigger and better things! He applied for his green card through the Catholic Charities in Fresno, California, reaching for the Dream… …All was on target and the months turned into years and one day a letter comes, the letter denied Ruben further access for a green card, his blood test came back “HIV POSITIVE”. …but he had lived here since he was 4 or 5, did that not mean anything? Graduated from school and worked hard and paid taxes, and did more to take care of his brothers and sisters than many fathers do. God Bless America, America the Beautiful, the land of plenty…well for some anyway.
Typical of Ruben, he was upset but set his goals to going back to work and seeing if in time things would change…they did in early 2009… …It would almost seem Ruben’s future was written in whatever pain and grief one life’s could be written….was it all just written in some book that this would be the trail Ruben would have to follow, was this just a sick celestial gag? He would be sent off to Arizona and be held in Federal Detention… …however some of his medical needs were being met and he was dealing with the issues at hand, he was relatively healthy and alive! But his situation soon changed….
…. Ruben tried to find work any place he could and a place to live and to just live a life in a place that was as foreign to him as it was home for his mother.. …One positive was that Ruben had learned Spanish…can you imagine if he had not spoken Spanish?
…well do not feel too bad, they do the very same things to their own people…even someone who is forced to return to his “homeland,” after living almost his entire life in what seemed like his country, the good ol’ U.S. of A. Ruben would become so sick that he would search out his mother. Funny, is it not, when we cry out it is always for the ones you hope can help, help she did in her own way. Ruben’s mother lives in her extremely humble cinder block shack with tin shutters and no running water hot or cold, and… …When I saw him I knew it was not going to be good. Ruben had a look I had seen hundreds of times, yes I said HUNDREDS of times in San Francisco and in Los Angeles. …Why am I such a SOB, there is one little clue! It is a look that we saw in documentaries of concentration camps, the bony structure of the face and the sunken eyes of the survivors. Ruben was dying and I…
…Understand this, and hear my pain, had a deputy sheriff in Salem, Oregon showed a little compassion and… …Ruben could have lived many more years. And if this miserable rat trap called Mexico could show a little compassion for its own people, perhaps Ruben could have seen a few more birthdays in his “new” country, after all he was one of its “sons” returning to his “home” compliments of the United States. Ruben Valdovinos Cortes died in Nogales, Mexico on October 2, 2010 at 4 AM, alone, in a place that was as foreign to him as it would be for you or me.
There is so much anger in my body at what happened to Ruben that I cannot clearly express it, my language is tame compared to what I want to scream towards the heavens. Ahhhh but what the hell, now we get to deal with a Mexican Mortuary… …none of these protections are available to protect the people of Mexico from the vultures in the funeral business that they must deal with, like Funerales Y Crematorio – J.G. Noriega, Nogales, Sonora, Mexico. …I had my sons pay these ridiculous fees, knowing we were getting screwed to the wall…what else could I do….
…And just as I paid for Ruben’s cap and gown for his graduation from high school, I am now paying for his body to be cremated so that he can be placed with his grandmother’s remains in some far away place in Mexico. I have asked for some of his ashes to be kept here in my home…as it seems he has as much right to spend eternity here with us as in Mexico. One of the most painful things for me now is the thought, could I have done more? …I will always have these thoughts.
My final thoughts: I, John J. Nazarian hold the Marion County Sheriff’s Department, Salem, Oregon, The United States of America as well as Los Estados Unidos Mexicanos responsible for the death of Ruben Valdovinos Cortes. Many of you will have opinions as to my findings on the short life and the death of Ruben. Simple, real simple, all I have to say is tread lightly if you disagree with me, and if you agree with me I still have lots more tears to shed.
To the read the complete article of two countries failing in a moral responsibility to this young man you can read the full article at Desperate Exes.com.
©John J. Nazarian
October 7, 2010
Used with the permission of John Nazarian P. I. – writer
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