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The father who wouldn’t give up – 1930

Robert St. Estephe–Gonzo Historian–is dedicated to uncovering the forgotten past of marginalizing men. “Gonzo journalism” is characterized as tending “to favor style over fact to achieve accuracy.” Yet history – especially “social history” – is written by ideologues who distort and bury facts in order to achieve an agenda. “Gonzo” writing is seen as unorthodox and surprising. Yet, in the 21st century subjectivity, distortion and outright lying in non-fiction writing is the norm. Fraud is the new orthodoxy. Consequently, integrity is the new “transgressive.”

Welcome to the disruptive world of facts, the world of Gonzo History.

•?•

This is one of the most remarkable child custody cases on record. It involves the earliest instance (known to this writer) of a public demonstration campaign on the part of a father seeking to enforce his parental rights. James Welch of New Orleans not only had a flair for public display but he even published a newsletter promoting his cause. His plea for assistance from the Department of State was entered into the Congressional Record. James Welch was persistent and, against all odds, gained custody of his Venezuelan-born daughter, whom the Venezuelan dictator’s government wished to see remain with the maternal grandmother.

•?•

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FULL TEXT (Article 1 of 5): Washington D. C. – After a steady stream of congressional denunciation heaped upon it for two months the state department has finally decided to act to restore to her American father Irma Francisco Welch, 18 months old, taken by Venezuelan authorities one year ago.

A telegram requesting Venezuelan government to guarantee safe conduct for James E. Welch, the baby’s father, to visit Venezuela and obtain his daughter has just been dispatched, state department  officials informed Welch Tuesday.

Action was not taken until Representative Gasque (Dem., S. C.) had publicly charged the state department with supporting the Gomez regime in Venezuela, until Senator Ransdell (Dem., La.) had charged the department with flouting the right of American citizens, until Mr. Welch had declared that the Gomez government would be out of office in a few months were it not for the barking it receives from Andrew W. Mellon’s oil companies, and until several thousand dollars worth of unfavorable publicity in the form of books and statements by Venezuelan exiles regarding the Gomez government had been circulated on Capitol hill.

~ Story by Father ~

Welch’s story of a year’s effort to recover  the custody of his baby is one which has aroused considerable sympathy among members of the senate foreign relations committee.

In a sworn statement published in the Congressional Record, Welch tells of going to Venezuela and engaging in business there.

“I lived in Venezuela unmarried until 1926,” Welch said, “when I met Anna Salazar, daughter of a prominent citizen of Spanish descent. I am of Protestant faith and Anna of Catholic, and while I desired to contract a marriage with her through religious ceremony, it could not be satisfactorily arranged. Following a generally accepted custom of that country, I regularly set her up in my home as my wife and openly lived with her as such. In October, 1928, there was born to me and Anna Salazar a daughter, whom we named Irma Francisco Welch.

“It was necessary for me to be away from home for a large part of my time. During one of these absences I learned that Anna had become a victim of the Gomez regime, who prey upon the women of Venezuela.”

Welch said that his wife had abandoned the daughter to him and that after consulting one of the ablest lawyers in Venezuela he got custody of the child, obtained a trained nurse and left her for Ciudad Bolivia [“the city of Bolivia”, a town in Venezuela], taking the baby with him.

~ Is Finally Released ~

“I had proceeded about 300 miles by automobile when I was arrested upon a telegraphic order from officials in the state of Bolivar.”

Welch said he was thrown in a “filthy jail” and the child “forcibly taken” from him.

After 43 days, Welch said, he was ordered released by a judge. After trying in vain to gain custody of his child Welch declared, he decided to come to the United States and obtain from the state department the same assistance it had given the oil companies.

Meanwhile the infant remains neither with her father nor her mother, Welch said.

[“U. S. Will Act to Aid Father Recover Child, syndicated, The Milwaukee Journal (Wi.), Jul. 9, 1930, p. 25]

•?•

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PHOTO CAPTION (standalone) (Article 2 of 5): SHACKLED IN PRISON – J. E. Welch demonstrates in Washington shackles he was forced to wear in Venezuela jail. He has been trying to get aid for a small daughter still held in Venezuela.

[“Shackled in Prison,” syndicated, Syracuse Herald (N.Y.), Sep. 2, 1930, p. 32]

•?•

FULL TEXT (Article 3 of 5): Washington, Sept. 21.—By far the most persistent and active lobbyist to appear here this generation is the redheaded, blue-eyed James E. Welch, Shreveport, La.

Welch lobbied for 22 months for the custody of his child who was held in Venezuela, S. A., and has just been notified that the child will be turned over to him by Venezuelan state officials.

The child was in Venezuela, and among Welch’s plans was one for the overthrow of the Venezuelan government. And if he did not succeed in that, he said he would campaign against the administration at Washington in the hope of electing an American President who would give him what he insisted was mere justice.

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Soft-spoken and unobtrusive in manner, not highly cultured, Welch has camped the State Department steps. He has interviewed dozens of members of Congress and caused introduction of legislation for investigation of his case and of our relations with Venezuela. He knew every newspaperman in town. He helped Venezuelan exiles get hundreds of columns of publicity adverse to the Gomez dictatorship and they have helped him get evidence.

Governor Huey Long of Louisiana enlisted and promised to raise cain about the Welch case, used as important ammunition in his campaign last year. Welch charges that Joseph E. Ransdell, U. S. Senator from Louisiana, hadn’t been active on his behalf. Welch bombarded the country’s most prominent citizens with letters requesting aid. Lately he issued at his own expense large, illustrated four-page monthly bulletins containing all the latest news and opinions about the Welch case. Recently he picketed the White House steps, wearing 100-pound leg irons such as are attached to Venezuelan political prisoners.

Welch attracted so much publicity and sympathy everywhere that the Venezuelan minister advertised in the New York Spanish press that Venezuelans who helped Welch were subject to long imprisonment at home. The State Department issued a detailed publication denying that it had refused Welch justice and protection because Venezuela had been so nice to our big oil companies. It asserted that Welch had due process of law.

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Whatever the technical points of Venezuelan and international law may be, here is, briefly, the story of Welch, the champion lobbyist:

Welch was in the oil business in Mexico and Colombia and went to Venezuela as Standard Oil superintendent in 1922. Then he began to drill oil and water wells and made $50,000 a year. In 1926 he met Anita Salazar, daughter of a judge at Maracay, where he had been called by President Gomez to drill water wells. Their religions differed and they entered a common law marriage. In October, 1928, arrived Irma Francisca Welch, the child for whom Welch has been fighting all this time.

Welch went on business to Caracas, a military official purloined the beautiful Anita and baby Irma was left with her Venezuelan grandmother. Welch returned, seized the child and went  away from there. He was arrested en route, charged with kidnapping on the grandmother’s instance, returned to the state of Bolivar and imprisoned there. Welch says the governor of Bolivar was his enemy and the grandmother sought to keep Irma as a meal ticket. The chief of police and 14 soldiers removed Irma from Welch by force.

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Welch languished 43 days in one of those Venezuelan prisons which by common repute are so horrible, watching men starve and go insane. Friends brought him food and saved him from starvation. He says the American vice-consul advised him to buy his freedom by paying off his accusers. The head of a British oil combine finally obtained his release. The charge d’affaires at the American legation in Caracas advised him to appeal to the British oil interests if he wanted the child, as they “had more influence.” Court proceedings followed which are too complicated to describe here, but Welch went to the State Department. In one way or another most department officials have since told him to go to the devil. Welch retaliated by charging American oil influence and publicizing the horrors of the Gomez regime. He has long since spent nearly all of his money and seeks compensation from Venezuela for business losses and false imprisonment.

Welch claims recently to have discovered a forged document in the file of his case which had enabled a Venezuelan attorney to double-cross him by withdrawing his case at a critical point. His lawyers and the State Department argued whether the document is unquestionably a forgery, until Welch was informed he would get the baby.

[Rodney Dutcher, Washington Letter (column, syndicated (NEA Service), The Frederick Post (Md.), Sep. 22, 1931, p. 5]

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PHOTO CAPTION (Article 4 of 5): Five-year-old Irma Francesca Welch in arms of her American father, James E. Welch, Shrevesport, La., who plans to file $1,000-a-day claim against Venezuelan government for their four-year separation.

FULL TEXT: Center of more attention than she has ever known, 5-year-old Irma Francesca Salazar Welch is ready to settle down to normal existence in the home town of her father, James E. Welch, in Shrevesport, La.

Yesterday Welch and his daughter, a Venezuelan beauty, called at the State Department to thank officials for intercession in a case that attracted attention.

Born in Venezuela, with no knowledge of English, the little girl has not the slightest idea of what all the excitement is about.

~ Dr. Arcaya Explains. ~

Yet, Dr. Pedro M. Aracaya, Venezuelan Minister, saw fit to issue a formal statement on the case. He said:

“There is not and never has been any diplomatic controversy between the government of Venezuela and that of the United States regarding Irma, the daughter of James E. Welch.

“There has been in the courts of the State of Bolivar, Venezuela, several criminal and civil suits between Welch and the grandmother of his daughter on the question of the custody of his child.”

All this, the minister said, is Welch’s private affair.

Private or not, the Welch case become public property in the more than four years’ struggle by Welch. In that time he has played the role of kidnapper of his own child for which, under Venezuelan laws, he was subjected to 43 days in the police barracks at Bolivar.

~ State Department Aids. ~

Unable to enter the country where his romance began, Welch succeeded in having State Department officials arrange for landing of his daughter on British territory – Trinidad. There the reunion was effected. Welch and the girl flew to Miami. They came to Washington primarily to thank William Phillips and Harry F. Payer of the State Department.

The girl’s mother disappeared shortly after the child was born, but there is an American grandmother waiting for Irma in Shreveport.

Today Welch plans to visit the Senate and House Office Buildings to thank senators and representatives who interested themselves in his case.

It is understood Welch intends to file suit against the Venezuelan government, asking $1,000 a day for the four years the child was kept from him. This totals $1,460,000.

[“Seeks $1,000 a Day for 4-Year Separation – Girl Freed by U. S. Aid Here With Father to Thank Officials. – Diplomatic Controversy Over Case Denied by Venezuela Convoy,” The Washington Post (D.C.), Oct. 10, 1933, p. 22]

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 PHOTO CAPTION (standalone) (Article 5 of 5): Diplomatic aid brought about the reunion of little five-year-old Irma Francesca Welch and her father, James E. Welch (center), after a separation of more than four years while Irma was in custody of a guardian in Venezuela and her father was jailed for kidnaping in an attempt to recover his child. They are shown thanking Assistant Secretary of State Payer in Washington. Welch and his daughter will live in Shreveport, La. (Associated Press Photo)

[“Diplomacy Aids Family Reunion,” syndicated (AP), Beatrice Daily Sun (Ne.), Oct. 12, 1933, p. 1]

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? LINK to more photos of  Fathers’ Rights Pickets & Protests on The Unknown History of MISANDRY

About Robert St. Estephe

Robert St. Estephe is a deeply repentant former male feminist who has devoted a bit of time to the study of the history of the relations between the sexes. He posts useful historical documents on The Unknown History of Misandry for all to see.

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  • http://gloriusbastard.com/ JJ

    It states that Anita Salazar was “purloined” by a military official. That word means stolen. So he what, kidnapped her and left the daughter for dead? Did she leave the daughter with her mom while getting a better meal ticket? Or was it some really evil deal that she was a victim of a heinous series of crimes?

    • Fredrik

      The first article quotes James Welch as saying, “During one of these absences I learned that Anna had become a victim of the Gomez regime, who prey upon the women of Venezuela.” So it appears to have been his characterization that she did not abandon her baby and common-law husband by choice.

  • greg

    Thank you Robert.

    I alway’s thought Dad’s were Deadbeats.

    • http://unknownmisandry.blogspot.com/ St. Estephe

      I’m hoping that your statement was made for rhetorical impact. If not, then may I recommend you look at the following posts that will very quickly give an impression of what fathers felt and did for the past 200+ years.

      1) Three Early Parental Kidnapping Cases, 1792-1815: Peirson, Bonnell, Tuthell
      http://unknownmisandry.blogspot.com/2011/09/three-early-parental-kidnapping-cases.html

      2) Unknown History of Fatherhood (pop-culture sources 1886-1935)
      http://unknownmisandry.blogspot.com/2012/06/unknown-history-of-fatherhood.html

      3) “Schools for Kidnappers?” – Parental Kidnapping Recognized as a Serious Social Problem in 1907
      http://unknownmisandry.blogspot.com/2011/11/schools-for-kidnappers-parental.html

      There is a million times more info than what you will see in these three pieces, but this group will give you the general idea.

      As MHRAs we need to avoid adopting the false narrative sold by the fraudsters so that we can see the bigger picture and not use all our energy putting out fires set for us that keep us from having time to understand the true reality of the past. Fake history is always used by authoritarians to intellectually cripple the public it wishes to control. It is an enormously powerful weapon and it is used for several purposes not the least of which is drumming up support for war and genocide.

      • greg

        Definitely sarcasm.

        • http://unknownmisandry.blogspot.com/ St. Estephe

          Offer: I’ll send you the news clips if you will put the time into writing up the case. From one volunteer to (perhaps) another.

          • Fredrik

            I’m super busy during the workweek, but I have time on the weekends. I don’t normally check it since it’s kind of a throwaway email, but I’ll check scientivore at gmail dot com for the next week, if you want to send me something.

          • Fredrik

            To the admins: please delete that post. I can’t believe I posted an email in the open, when he could just PM me on the forum.

        • http://unknownmisandry.blogspot.com/ St. Estephe

          But please spread the word. So few people, including much the father’s rights crowd, would ever think of doubting the post-60s propaganda about how fathers starting to become engaged in parenting as a result of coaxing from “experts” and through supposed “social progress.”

          • greg

            Robert

            My entire life I heard that my Dad was Deadbeat. Feminists don’t tell you about his back. Bricklayer no more due to the fact that he could barely pick carton of eggs. He could hardly get out of bed. Basically, he could hardly walk.
            Michael Kimmel, Gloria Steinem, Joe Biden… Etc.. Fuck You.

          • http://vilo13.blogspot.com/ Lucian Vâlsan

            „So few people, including much the father’s rights crowd, would ever think of doubting the post-60s propaganda about how fathers starting to become engaged in parenting as a result of coaxing from “experts” and through supposed “social progress.”” <<< THIS!

            Moar of this!

  • Fredrik

    I would actually like to know more about this case. I think that it could make a very good litmus test for a date.

    Does she see it as the patriarchy stealing a woman from her baby, and the baby from her grandma? Or does she see it as a man loving his child so much that he was willing to overthrow governments to get her back? (Which I think is as much of a virtue in a father as in a mother.)

    It could be very telling.

  • http://unknownmisandry.blogspot.com/ St. Estephe

    This small selection of articles was made to show Welch’s determination, his aggressive lobby efforts, his use of shackles in his demonstrations in Washington DC, his publication of a newsletter, and his ultimate success. There are dozens of other newspaper articles available that fill in the details of the case.

    Welch even had Huey Long working on the case at one point.

    This is a story that would fit well into a Male Studies course were not 100% of taxpayer funds dedicated to “gender studies” directed to Women’s Studies (plus the related field of so-called “Men’s Studies” (Orwellian naming) which is really a “How Men Should Be Forced to be Like Women Studies” field; not to mention the other field dedicated to the social engineering notion that male heterosexuality must be replaced by the more “progressive” behavior described by anti-heteronormativeness).

    • Fredrik

      Well, it looks like you don’t have any shortage of lost history to restore. But if you’re ever at a loss for what to do next, I can’t speak for anyone else, but I would personally be fascinated to read more about this one.

  • http://Bluedogtalking.com Bluedog

    Just a heads-up to the good people of AVfM … there is a piece over at the New Republic that kind of intersects with the subject matter here and, true to form of the very cultural vices we organize against here, speaks more for what it doesn’t say than what it does.

    A handy piece – especially in the subtitle concerning a “frontier” of reproductive justice.

    Check it out here: http://www.newrepublic.com/article/114505/anti-adoption-movement-next-reproductive-justice-frontier.