The dire situation of objector Kimberly Rivera and her family, and how you can help

riveraMario Rivera interviewed by Bob Meola, Courage to Resist. October 27, 2012

Mario Rivera is the husband of Kimberly Rivera, the U.S. Army War Resister, who was deported from Canada on September 20th.  He is also the father of their four children.  Recently, he shared with us his family’s very dire and challenging situation as Kimberly awaits a likely military court martial. Below is their story, in his words.

Kimberly left Toronto and voluntarily crossed the border into New York and was handcuffed at the border when she told them who she was.  She was turned over by border officials to Fort Drum personnel.  Fort Drum held her for one day and then they stuck her in the county jail for four days. Then Fort Carson came and got her.   I heard from her when she was approaching the border and was going to turn herself in the next morning.  Then I didn’t hear from her for about 48 hours, until she was in county jail, and she told me what happened....

We [Mario and Kimberly] have four children. Christian is ten years old. Rebecca is eight. Katie is three. And Gabriel is one-and-a-half.   We said good-bye to Kimberly on September 19th in Toronto and I was left with the kids. We didn’t want them to be exposed to what was going to happen with her.  Christian and Rebecca know what’s going on. The younger ones think that Kimberly is just lost.

riveraI explained to them that Mommy is away for a while and she will come back as soon as she can. Katie thinks she’s lost and wants to go rescue her. She is anxious and nervous about it. She closes herself off from people as she’s missing her mom real bad.

Gabriel too.  He misses his mom real bad.  He holds a picture of her and kisses it and tries to reach through the picture to grab her. He was breast fed until two months before the deportation.  He was being weaned off....

We are staying with my parents in Texas.  It’s pretty hard.  My parents aren’t a well off family.  My dad struggles to find work every day.  He does roofing. Sometimes there is work.  Sometimes there is not.  My mom is physically disabled.  She is barely able to walk as it is....

We spend the food money as best we can. There are nine of us. We eat a lot of rice even though such a high carb diet isn't recommended for someone who has been diagnosed with diabetes. My wife doesn’t know how hard it is for us here. I try to keep it from her so she doesn’t worry about us. The little money we had, we had to spend on the kids’ uniforms.  The public schools in this district require uniforms. $35 shirts. About $50 for the pants. The girls can wear pants, skirts with leggings, or a dress.  They cost about the same. The only thing they’re not strict about is the shoes they wear....

My depression gets bad. I try not to show it for the kids. My physical situation is deteriorating. I have trouble getting out of bed sometimes because of all the pain I’m going through.  My depression will flare up pretty bad sometimes due to my physical pain and being separated from my wife, the situation we are in food-wise, financial-wise, and transportation-wise. There are moments I get lost in my mind.

My kids were used to being in an apartment where we were all in reach of each other 18 hours a day. They went from that to this. I can’t imagine how bad they are feeling being separated from their mom like they are....