Father a Baby, Go to Jail

or… Child Support Prison and Baby Factory
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Oh Lordy! If you didn’t already suspect that the so-called “justice” system in Costa Rica was a little wacky, here’s a story that might move you towards that conclusion.

A friend of mine made the mistake of getting a local chica pregnant. Actually, there were two mistakes. Getting ANY girl pregnant is a mistake unless you actually WANTED TO. Even then it could be a mistake. But beyond that, getting a psycho bitch from Hell pregnant doubles (or more) the mistake.

My friend knew better. He had broken up with “Ruby” quite a few months before, when her hostility, violence and substance abuse became too much for him and after a big fight she moved out. The only thing they really had in common was sex, which got them back together occasionally for a night here or there. And it was on one of those nights that Ruby had miscalculated when to get her birth control injection and became pregnant.

I can hear some of you out there saying “AHA! A TRAP! SHE MEANT TO GET PREGNANT AND SOAK THE GRINGO!” Well, I’m sure that does happen but in this case I am almost certain she had no intention of getting pregnant. She tried to find some way to get an abortion but in Costa Rica it’s next to impossible. So both father and mother bowed to the inevitable and became parents.

Ruby moved back in with “Mark” and they were able to maintain a sort-of relationship through her pregnancy and for about a year after, until Ruby’s substance abuse and violence made their living together impossible once again. Had Mark not had a child with this psycho, he wouldn’t have had to deal with her at all, let alone what came next.

Now that they were split up, Mark thought the worst was over. Silly Mark! Mark’s love for his son became a weapon in the hands of evil-bitch-Ruby, and she had absolutely no hesitation in using it to the max. At first it was a pay per visit deal. Mark hands Ruby $200 and gets to see his boy for 2 days. Rather exorbitant by local economic standards, but that was just the appetizer. Ruby wasn’t satisfied with that. To backtrack just a bit, Ruby was a Nicaraguan who had been raised in a dirt floor shack in Managua. But she felt she was entitled to… well… EVERYTHING! As she was fluent in Spanish and Mark was not, she used the system against him to get some judge to rule that Mark had to pay $1800 a month child support. Never mind that he barely earned that in his business, she got the ruling and got a court order that he would pay up or go to jail.

Now, HERE is where I get to the REAL point of the story. So far it’s just another greedy Latina/poor abused Gringo lament, but here’s where it gets funny, and here’s where you get a look into how Tico society deals with problems.

Solely on Ruby’s word, Mark was found to owe several thousand dollars back child support. In cases like these, the “justice” system puts out a “capture” order for the person alleged to be in debt for child support. Mark successfully evaded the authorities for months, but one morning on the way to work, Ruby lay in wait for him across the street, cell phone in hand, speed dial to the police at the ready, and within a few blocks of home, Mark was “captured” and taken to a police sub-station. He made several calls to his business partners and friends but none of them had the kind of cash to get him sprung, so he was taken off to a special “facility” (not technically a jail) where he would be held along with many other alleged deadbeat dads of Costa Rica.
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All of this is second hand from Mark. He was not impressed with the facilities, what a shocker! Filthy, overcrowded, understaffed, falling apart, under equipped… about what you might expect. Mark had a few thousand colones on him, which allowed him to purchase a bed to sleep on. Without money, he would have had to sleep on the floor somewhere.

First of all, I should point out that the amount of child support owed by the average Tico (or Nica) “detainee” was/is a few hundred dollars. In some cases it was undoubtedly unwillingness to pay. But for a large number, it was more inability than unwillingness. Should people who can’t support children have them? Perhaps not, but it is an undeniable fact that they DO.

But “parental responsibility” (or lack thereof) isn’t the point of this post. Here’s the interesting twist. The “facility” has certain “luxuries” available, for a price. Visitors can bring in most anything short of weapons, and these things are available for purchase by those prisoners who have a little cash. And one thing that can be purchased quite easily inside this “facility” is sex. Men will have their sisters or daughters or maybe even wives or girlfriends come in and make themselves available to other prisoners for a few thousand colones so maybe they can buy some candy bars and a roll of toilet paper.

Weird enough for you yet? Hang on, there’s more! Do you suppose the prisoners and their “lovers” use any sort of birth control? Don’t be silly! And what happens when you have unprotected sex and no birth control? AH, YOU GUESSED IT! Juan, who is behind bars for not supporting the child(ren) he already has, makes ANOTHER BABY! Isn’t that special?

To get back to Mark, he found a friend who had the money and was willing to lend it to him to get out of custody. Without that he would still be inside the walls. He is currently trying to get enough money together to hire a good attorney and get his child support reduced to something reasonable, along with visitation rights. I wish him luck

As Yakov Smirnov used to say, “What a country!”
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