Guatemalan native Rodi Alvarado left her home and children because she feared her abusive husband would kill her. After a decade of beatings by her husband, Alvarado left Guatemala basically penniless and made her way to San Francisco. There, she petitioned for political asylum. Her case is unusual because she is a victim of spousal abuse.
1. Has your case progressed in the courts? How long have you been waiting?
My case has still not been decided; I have now been waiting for 10 years.
2. Do you believe that any of the domestic violence counseling and aid organizations you've witnessed in America could be implemented with any success in Guatemala?
I really don't think it would be successful in Guatemala. Men from Guatemala and other Latin American countries have a big "machismo" and it will take a lot to change that. Many Latin American men in the U.S. even mistreat their girlfriends or wives for going to the support group. But at least here they can get protection -- in Guatemala, they cannot.
3. Has your support group helped you to further overcome the fear you felt as a result of years of abuse?
Yes, it has helped me very much.
4. Has the feedback from the American public been generally positive or negative in response to your case?
The feedback has been very positive and has helped with my case. Many Americans from all parts of the country have supported my plea for asylum, and have made phone calls, and sent letters and faxes to the U.S. attorney general, and to other government officials who have power over my case. I know that these efforts on my behalf have really helped.
5. Do you think domestic violence would decrease in Guatemala if your application was accepted and Guatemalan men realized that women had an alternative to suffering their abuse?
I don't think domestic violence would decrease. What I think needs to happen is that the government of the U.S. and other countries have to use their influence to pressure the government of Guatemala to protect women. My government won't do it on its own, but pressure from outside could really help.
For an update on current developments in Rodi Alvarado's case, visit the website of Human Rights First.