Ricardo Cote' came to the United States of America, from Colombia, in March 1970 at age 6, both he and his mother entered the country legally, with green cards. Ricardo's birth was the result of his mother being raped by two men when she was thirteen years old. Maria’s parents allowed men to come into the home for payment and rape their young daughters. The family went to extreme lengths, to kill the unborn Ricardo. Her family forcibly filled her vagina with charcoal to try to draw out the baby, when that did not work they had her drink multiple poisons and concoctions, none of which worked. The family went to great lengths to make her lose the baby.
Maria survived this ordeal but as she became older she was severely depressed. She did not trust family and was not able to cope with what happened to her when she was a child. She was only 13 when she found out she was pregnant. At the time she did not know what was happening to her body. Her parents told her she was useless to them because she had become pregnant. She felt worthless and thought it was her fault. She could not continue to make money for her parents, she felt like killing herself but she didn’t. Maria later learned that 2 of her sisters committed suicide. One of her sisters hung herself and the other sister drank gasoline until she died. A third sister was committed to a mental institution. Her sisters were also sold for money by her parents.
Ricardo was born on November 18th 1963. When he was born, he was immediately removed from his mother, and given to an unknown female relative. This relative kept Richard as an animal, locked in a cupboard. Not allowing him human contact or interaction. He was treated like an animal. This is why he did not speak his first words until he was 7 years old; no one spoke to him, nor showed him human affection.
Maria tried many times to bring Richard to the US but the family always wanted payment. I am not clear on how she secured his release.
When Ricardo arrived here in the US Maria was extremely disappointed to find out she had a mute son, who showed no appreciation for her efforts. He didn’t even recognize her as his mother. He did not speak until age 7 and was a difficult child to raise. Ricardo was severely undeveloped for his age, he was very small and under weight. He was not use to being around other people and didn’t get along with his stepfather.
Ricardo’s father was mostly likely known to the family, however this information was never disclosed to either of them.
His mother felt very bitterly towards him due to the rape, he was a burden to her, and a sorry reminder of her past. His mother met and married Carlos Vera. There was always a lot of tension in the house; they were a very dysfunctional family, and a lot of unspoken anger was pointed at a young Ricardo. Carlos liked to drink and would take his anger and frustration out on Ricardo, which often led to extreme physical and mental abuse, Carlos really despised him, because the shame and suffering he had brought upon his wife. Ricardo was not able to speak until he was seven years old, and received speech therapy late into his teens, due to an uncontrollable stutter, from the years of trauma, mental and physical abuse he had suffered. Maria, Ricardo's mother, and Carlos had three children together, all born in the United States and are US citizens. 2 of these siblings endured years of mental and physical abuse from their parents. Both Carlos and Maria are naturalized US citizens. Ricardo was always the outsider in his family, and was harshly treated by his parents. In May 1979 at his mother's request, Ricardo, age 16 was placed into foster care. He started to get into trouble at a young age and ended up in juvenile hall. When he reached adulthood, he started living on the streets, and became involved with drugs, and at his lowest point lived on “skid row” in Los Angeles.
Ricardo was ordered deported March 12th, 1993, he did not leave. Ricardo never received the deportation notice as it was sent to his mother’s house; at that time Ricardo rarely had contact with his mother. Ricardo has not had any arrests since early 1996 as per his criminal history transcript. For the past 15 years Ricardo has turned his life around and become a much loved and respectable member of the community. He has remained out of trouble, paid his taxes, and remained in long-term employment. Ricardo has had only resided at 2 addresses in the past 15 years. He has remained drug free for the entire 15 years; this is verifiable, as the taxi companies require annual and random drug testing.
Ricardo has been in the United States of America for 42 years. English is his first language; he can read and understand Spanish, though not fluently. Ricardo has no family or friends in Colombia; his mother has tried without success to locate any relatives that may be there. All of his immediate family are United States citizens.
Ricardo has been an amazing father to his 2 children. He was a volunteer soccer coach for many seasons at our local park in Mar Vista. He coached his sons’ team and was also assistant coach for his daughters’ team. Even though he works very long hours as a taxi driver, he always makes time for them, taking them to the movies, museums, doctors & dental appointments, camping, cycling, walks with the dogs and just hanging out and being their dad. This has had a devastating impact on our children, as they have never been apart from their father.
Ricardo has miraculously turned his life around after the appalling start he received in life. He has gone from juvenile hall, to being a down and out drug addict, to an amazing empathetic man. Ricardo wants nothing more in his life to offer his children the best future, upbringing and life lessons that he can give them. As he never had a father, he knows the importance of a family union, and knows what the lack of one can do to a person. Ricardo suffered horribly as a child, and only wants the best that he and the United States can offer his children. Ricardo, today maintains a healthy relationship with both his mother and stepfather, time has healed the old wounds, and they have all learned to appreciate each other.
Ricardo is the man that will stop his car in the street to help a stranger push their car off the road, he is the man that will give his last dollar to the man sat begging on the corner of the street. He is the person that will always hold the door open, and help the old lady with her groceries. I have always been fascinated how a man who had such an awful childhood could become the most gracious and selfless man he is. Ricardo is a true blessing to this country, the only country he has ever known.
The important people to Ricardo are his children. I know that he wants more than anything to continue raising them in the United States, the country of their birth and the place they all call home.