Holly Ann Collins and Chere Tomayko are battered but brave women who fled the United States of America and sought refuge in another country to protect their children from abuse.
Chere Tomayko fled to Costa Rica in 1996 with her daughters, one of whom she had with her former boyfriend, Roger Cyprian. She did so in order to escape an abusive relationship with the father of the child. However, her actions were in violation of a Texas court order that granted joint custody of the child to Cyprian and Chere and determined that her residence would be in Texas. Later enter the FBI and a grand jury indictment for child abduction. Chere was arrested last year by Interpol and has spent the last 10 months in the El Buen Pastor prison for women. The U.S. has fought for extradition, but the Costa Rican government has decided to grant Chere refugee status and has released her. She can now continue her life with her Costa Rican husband and four children (two of which were born here in Costa Rica through her marriage with Javier Montero).
Costa Rica enjoys a very cozy relationship with the U.S., in general. Now there is talk that Costa Rica's action may disrupt that relationship. Oscar Arias, Costa Rica's president, has praised the action of the Costa Rican justice system in granting Chere asylum and releasing her. He says that he is proud that his country took this action in order to protect human rights in spite of U.S. pressure to extradite Chere. I grew up in an abusive home. I know the fear. It has shaped me in many ways.
Cyprian says there was no violence, but admits to being a "control freak." Maybe he is truthful (I doubt it), but control freaks by their very nature do violence to those who they attempt to control. Chere Lyn deserves the right to control her own destiny. She came to Costa Rica trying to do that. I don't blame her. I came here for that reason as well. She is trying to have a peaceful life. She apparently came to the right place. I too applaud Costa Rica's decision in this case. It took guts. It was a decision that was not taken lightly as the courts debated for some time and were under intense media scrutiny throughout the process. This was simply a decision made, in the face of political and legal pressure from the largest most powerful country in the world, to protect the right of a mother and her child to be free from abuse. It was the right decision.