One day in 1991, my wife Siomi, 37, showed up at my office in Caracas, with “terrifying” news: “I’m pregnant!”, she said. “What?” I cried. “I’m pregnant!” she answered.
We made a pact not to tell anyone. We already had two children, Maria Carolina, 15, and Carlos Alberto, 12. By then I was 41 years old: almost old enough to be a grandfather! “No one can know, Siomi! Swear it to me!” What would people think? What would my in-laws, parents, friends and neighbors think? “Aha!” riposted Siomi: “How are we going to make sure no one finds out?” The truth is: I didn’t think of that “little” detail.
Of course, abortion was out of the question. In 1983 I produced and directed a program on WAPA TV (Puerto Rico’s Channel 4), which included controversial topics. One such issue was abortion, a practice that by then was already legal on the island.
It was recording material for the subject of abortion that I had to expose myself to what they now call “late-abortion”, that is, a procedure performed from the 21st week of pregnancy, when the creature can survive (with or without medical assistance) outside of his or her mother’s uterus. It was an absolutely different experience from what we know as “curetaje” – (“First Trimester Abortion”) –, a “venial” practice of abortion, but: abortion at last!
I witnessed and recorded the raw murder of several children with more than 21 weeks of gestation. The experience was simply: indescribable! In one case they had to cut the child to pieces, which felt and suffered just like those who were mutilating him, in order to remove the baby from the womb. In another case, which I also recorded, the child was able to born intact, but they placed him on a metal table and threw the placenta over him, in order to drown the creature.
Until that terrible experience, the issue of abortion gave me neither cold nor heat. I was insensitive to that horrible reality. Of course, many of the video clips couldn’t be aired because of their visual and emotional rawness, but I made sure – very lightly – to explain the procedures and especially the one that referred to the “late-abortion”. Although, as a journalist, I was supposed to be impartial, that segment became a cry against the practice of abortion: from the very moment of conception! I was, by the way, heavily criticized and WAPA’s production department scolded me, since abortion during those days was a “political issue” and the TV stations didn’t want to get involved one way or another. I however was willing to resign and in the next program, I increased my anti-abortion alerts, being – this time – a little more raw and descriptive. I must comment that my religious beliefs or lack of them, did not mediate in my uncompromising position against such abominable and inhuman practice.
So when my wife Siomi broke the news of her pregnancy, abortion was by no means part of our choice, nor were we giving our child up for adoption: he was our son! Well: our daughter! We decided, in secret, to call her Veronica Alonso. But we continue with the complicity of secrecy.
Dr. Enrique “Henry” Wallis
When we finally landed, we began to make our plans for Veronica. Siomi made an appointment with her lifelong obstetrician, Dr. Enrique “Henry” Wallis, RIP and began to control herself: secretly!
One day, passing near the Leopoldo Aguerrevere Clinic, where our first two children were born (then we would have two more), I thought I’d stop by the baby goods store. Already, of course, we knew it was a girl. As for the birth of a girl, I have to make a parenthesis.
When Siomi gave birth to Maria Carolina in September 1976, Dr. Wallis telephoned me from the operating room to congratulate me on the beautiful girl we had. “Agirl?” I asked Wallis in a somewhat disappointed tone. That girl turned out to be a blessing of life. When Carlos Alberto was born, in 1979, Dr. Wallis called me back from the operating room to congratulate me on the handsome boy that had been born to us: “A boy?” I exclaimed totally disappointed. I was betting on another girl!
That other girl was about to be born very soon and would be called Veronica: we’d call her “Vero”! She will learn to ride horses before she learns to walk. She’d live on the bosom of a magical mountain surrounded by animals. I would teach her to swim before her first birthday… and maybe she’d be a pediatrician.
One day we gathered our parents and gave them the pleasant news. Astonishment was present, but gave way to congratulations. Our children got excited and Maria Carolina wept with emotion.
But Veronica wouldn’t be born. With a week to go, Siomi didn’t feel her. We took her to the clinic’s emergency and Dr. Wallis gave us the fateful news: Veronica had died in Siomi’s womb!
After achieving some emotional stability, I called the Vallés Funeral Home in order for them to go and obtain her mortal remains. Veronica would be buried next to her great-grandparents in the East Cemetery of Caracas. I stopped by the funeral home and chose her coffin before calling the clinic to schedule the delivery of his tiny body. I remember wondering who she looked like.
Then my already destroyed world fell apart when the clinic informed me that the “conception products” had been discarded among other “products”. “What do you mean by discarded?” I was informed that Veronica had been thrown into a “container” with other “products” or human waste. The container was taken away by the IMAU (Municipal Garbage Institution).
I screamed, cursed and went crazy. Good thing I got the infamous news over the phone. If I had been present: I don’t know what I would have done. But, badly, I rebuked myself and called my friend and lawyer, Dr. Juan Garantón, whom I told the story to.
Dr. Garantón assured me that he would win the case, but I set two conditions for him. The first one: he will sue the clinic for the largest possible amount of money and the second one: he was never to tell me how much money the clinic gave us! I didn’t want to know how much the clinic valued Veronica and our pain as parents.
Indeed: we won the case. There was no need for a legal claim in court. Dr. Wallis, who was one of the shareholders of the Leopoldo Aguerrevere Clinic, was our greatest advocate. Dr. Garantón received the largest sum ever imagined by him. He even got more than what he asked for. I emphasized for him to make it clear that those were not “products of conception”: They were the human remains of Veronica Alonso! Our little girl!
“What to do with so much money?” The answer was given to us by Father Cuenca, RIP, Siomi’s spiritual consultant, who had married us 17 years earlier, a Cuban parish priest of La Caridad del Cobre Church in Caracas.
Father Cuenca told us about a foundation called “Provive”, run by Ms. Christine Vollmer, which was dedicated, among many other programs, to finding foster homes for unwanted children of unmarried mothers without financial resources, thus avoiding the “necessity” of abortion.
For some reason I never understood why I didn’t want to meet her. I sent our lawyer with the check, which had to be re-made in the name of “Provive” and asked him to warn Ms. Vollmer never to inform us of the amount.
Months later I received a messenger from “Provive” with a bulky dossier describing all the programs that, thanks to Veronica, would be carried out through the aforementioned foundation. It was a very nice detail of Mrs. Christine and, moreover: a healer! Veronica had not died in vain and from “the other place” had helped an indefinite number of children to be born. Perhaps, I convinced myself later on, some of them may have become pediatricians: as “surely” Veronica would have been!
The story didn’t end there, but this time: for the best!
We decided to look for a “replacement” and Alejandro Enrique Alonso was born.
Veronica died poisoned by her own fluids, something difficult to explain and much more to understand. Dr. Wallis, in part, felt guilty since he could have increased the controls.
When Siomi learned that she was with child again, she re-consulted with Wallis, who confessed that he had “mixed feelings.” “No, Doctor. You will bring our son into this world!” This time the “protocols” were strictly complied with. Alejandro would have died as Veronica did. Dr. Wallis saved his life and not only that: we named our son: Alejandro ENRIQUE, in honor of Dr. Enrique (Henry) Wallis! That finished healing us all: Siomi, me… and Dr. Wallis! I wanted to think that in that spiritual healing, Veronica had a lot to do.
Carlos Alberto, Alejandro Enrique and Maria Carolina when Eduardo Jose was born
But Alejandro, the son of old parents, was growing up very spoiled, so we decided to get him a little brother… or little sister? On January 3, 1994 Eduardo José Alonso was born: and that was the most pampered of all!
Throughout my hazardous life I have participated in armed conflicts in defense of the freedom of several countries, but I have never had the opportunity to fight, likewise, for the lives of millions and millions of children who are eliminated in a stubborn, pertinacious, inhuman but legal manner, violating the baby’s right to be born.
In Donald Trump, who had dramatically opposed the practice of “late-abortion”, I saw the possibility and hope of a radical pro-life defense, and I must say that, at least for now, I was somewhat disappointed when he had to give up his fight in a country that has offered the lives of so many young people in extraterritorial wars, “claudicating” (for whatever reason) to the most important war in which we Americans must have participated.
Since the Obama administration, the abominable practice of “late abortion” had been acceptable. The current vice-president, Kamala Harris, has been advocating for such a practice since we have public notion of her. Many, many of us knew what was waiting for us. “Reverend” (Mike Pence) knew since he discussed the issue of “late-abortions” during the only “vice presidential” debate they had last year. And I wonder: what kind of human being is that who advocates destroying or letting a baby die when he or she could survive outside his or her mother’s womb? How much complicity have those who support, promote or vote for politicians who declare themselves in favor of the inhuman “late-abortion” procedures or even abortion itself?
Not forgetting such rugged topics as pedophilia and the possibility of its legalization at a national level. Without taking into account possible economic disasters that could await us in the near future. Above all these important topics are the lives of millions and millions of helpless children, many of whom will have to go through the appalling trauma of the sadly-known “late-abortion” procedures.
Miami, January 25, 2021