This is an emotional one… patience for me and thank you as this therapeutic voyage.
¡Jallalla! Hello everyone! (This word is both Quechua and Aymara, and apart from being a greeting it conveys a wish for hope and a fulfilling life). awesome ¡Qué chala! That’s Awesome Está pintudo. Thats Amazing! Bolivia, La Paz
When life was simple; Fanito trusted in her mommy and daddy to always have the answers and lead the way.
The stories from my blog and podcast are all from the heart and I hope they can inspire you. To find answers, determine resolutions. or just have a good laugh.
This story is not about my life but my perspective of my father Ramiro Fanor Alanez Melean, and his testimony.
Who he was through my eyes.
Have you ever met someone that although they had a hard life, they brought joy, happiness, and charisma to the time you spent with them? My father had a patience that he tolerated my annoying behavior and loved me the way I needed love from my father. He had a strong level of discipline, respect, and humor. He protected me, taught me to protect myself. Loved my mother in a way that let me know how I wanted to be loved.
He had funny interesting sayings’ that would catch me off guard. He would see someone up to no good and would yell to them “Caught you with the meat in your mouth” this was a reference that he would say to his dogs if they took food, I knew from being with him.
“Caught you with the meat in your mouth!”Ramiro Fanor
He was and true artist, visionary, designer and musician. He loved crafting leather and making show stopping outfits. My mother would make dresses for us and paint. They would work together in out small 1 bedroom apartment on 11th street – in a passion of love and artistry!
My father was extraordinarily strong and tall to me as a little girl. He stood 5’11, 170 lbs. He would tell people 5′ 12″ 160… for whatever reason this made me laugh. I would say to him, “why not just say 6 feet tall?”, and he would respond, “well that would be a lie…”
He always kept his hair long and luxurious, my mother braided his hair, shampoo and conditioned it. This was their ritual. He was the one who combed my hair and taught me to take care of my ends, he would say, “Fanito, you split before your ends do…” it is these memories that make me smile.
“Trash don’t pick it up, don’t throw your life away!”Ramiro Fanor
Family time with my father , 2008
My father gained weight later in life when my mom had gotten extremely ill, but he was still very handsome. Sometimes my teachers would ask me if he were single… shocked, I would roll my eyes, and tell my mother. Life was simple back then, but there was so many struggles he went through that I was not sensitive to, until later in life that we had a fight of a lifetime over a human, and his rights.
“…But do you love me…”Ramiro Fanor
He would sing so beautifully. He on guitar, my mother the piano, me the drums and my sister dancing.
“Sharp, in my suit and fierce is my knife”Ramiro Fanor
Always a smooth cat, he would say, “Alley cat” he would always dress for the occasion with whatever he had. Ask me about a good jacket, fedora, and pump – my dad would check to make sure we were “…ironed, presses and pushed pause on the evil eyes.” his words.
In 2008, my father was living with me in Brooklyn, NY. I had my first son, and he would travel to Manhattan to pick up his granddaughter (my sisters’ daughter) from school and bring her to her grandma’s house (her dads’ mom) each day. My sister had gotten him an unlimited MetroCard where she would refill, and he always had a way to travel within the city. He was a widower and retired worker. It was in this time he was being a grandfather and enjoying his later years. On one instance in the beginning of 2009, he was traveling on a Friday to do his usual route to pick up his granddaughter. He never arrived.
We all were worried; he did not answer his phone or contact us. In this period in his life, he was not his usual healthy, fast, and strong papa. He was older with a bad back that he had just had an operation on from a slip and fall, and he had a bad liver, bad arm and in medicine. We were extremely concerned for his safety and wellbeing.
Friday evening, I received a call that my father had been arrested and was at Rikers in New York. The officer explained that it was a mistake. A group of young adults jumped the turnstile on the G line in the transit system and the transit police did a sweep and arrested all that was there. He then said the following: “Unfortunately, your father was there and because it is a Friday, he won’t be released until Monday.”
I went on Monday to get him and they told me that ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) had picked him up. Now, he was at Varick. I tried to understand why, and they said because he is not a citizen, any crime that violates moral turpitude is instant deportation. My sister called everywhere, and we constantly ran around.
I explained his legal status and right to be in this country, I explained it was a wrongful arrest. They seemed relieved and gave me paperwork to take to the other precinct in Brooklyn and have them fill it out for his release. I could not believe how simple it seemed, so I ran over to Brooklyn and spoke to the arresting officer. He refused to fill out the paperwork, because he had said that he needed to make a quota. I spoke to his sergeant and they all admitted that it was “Unfortunate,” but their hands were tied.
After a couple of hours, I left and headed to Varick street to see my father. They would not let me see him and asked for his passport, declaration of his country of origin and followed those demands with the threat that he would be deported to either his country with the documents or Mexico without. It just so happens that I was studying Immigration Law, and I proclaimed that not only was I his daughter an American Citizen with the right to claim him, but I was also his advocate and legal representation. It was in that moment they allowed me to see my father. He seemed physically shaken and slightly roughed up. He was in an orange jump suit, which should have been light blue to signify the alleged crime. I insisted that he needed a new jumpsuit, commissary, and the right for visitation. They agreed to visitation on the spot but said because he was not a citizen that the constitution did not apply to him. My sister and I acted quickly, reaching out to get a petition, a bill in his name, to everyone that we could.
The next day I went to see him, and he was moved to New Jersey, then Pennsylvania, than Delaware and finally Brownsville, TX. It is there where he stood for the next year. As we fought and were not entitled to see him. He could only call us and at the time we did not know that his calls were recorded.
One day a nurse from Brownsville called me and told me that my father was in her infirmary. He was beaten by a guard and raped. She said she was afraid for her life and that she warned us to be careful that we told him anything. The next phone we got was from an officer in Florida, she said that she was his assigned detaining officer. Through her travel from Texas to Florida, she felt horrible and wanted to help him. He was not entitled to contact anyone, so she called from her cell phone to alert us that he was being deported in 15 minutes. Nothing we can do.
F1 Student Visa
At the young age of 15, Ramiro Fanor (Fanor), who was born in La Paz, Bolivia and resided there with his mother Guillermina (Guiche), father (Walter) and three siblings Olga, William, and Tico. Loved their life, their father a politician who was quite established and wealthy for that community and time. Fanor’s, father was trying to control a potential revolution in a campaign to unseat that current President and in that uproar, he was unfortunately assassinated by the town center hall. In fear of threats that were coming to her family, Guiche wanted to flee to Cochabamba, Bolivia. In the midst she was able to attain an F1 Students Visa for young Fanor to travel to the United States for an education legally. He arrived in the US and would often correspond with his mother via mail or a monthly call to let him know what he was doing and how well he was progressing in his education.
Legally in the United States he was able to establish himself where he finally met Shari Sue Gerloven, where they had three children. Sam who passed away after birth, Willamina and Fanny. They lived together in the Lower East Side of New York City. Although they married, Shari was unable to sponsor Fanor to be a citizen because she was disabled and needed to show that she was able to provide for him. However, he was approved for amnesty through the incident prior to his arrival. He collaborated with a lawyer to grant the Amnesty but through malpractice the lawyer took advantage of Fanor and never filed his paperwork. The lawyer received payment through barter. Fanor would work on constant project in his home to pay the retainer. When the projects were finally complete from the years of 1988 to 1997. The lawyer admitted to never doing the application.
Unfortunately, Shari passed away in 2000 and it was at that point a new law had passed that granted him Widowers status. He was grandfathered into this law that allowed him a stay without Citizenship and he was invited to apply for Citizenship if he wanted to. At that pint he was grieving from the loss of his wife and in 2008 decided he wanted to file. Sadly, he was picked up prior to filing and wrongfully arrested.
In 2011, Fanor was deported from Florida to Bolivia at the age of 62. After legally arriving, residing, and adapting to the United States and becoming a legal resident for forty-seven (47) years. My sister and I ran to Bolivia to be present for our father. The reuniting was bittersweet and heart wrenching, having to leave out children and families to be there and finally having to leave our father to return home. My sister was pregnant with her third baby and my baby was not even ten months old.
Life after deportation.
He finally was able to find his family, his mother, my grandmother Guiche laid in her bed unable to move. After we left, she died but, in his care, and love. He was tortured in detainment and seemed happy that he was able to find any sort of humanity.
“We may be apart but we are still on earth together.”
In La paz, Bolivia, with our father after three years.
We made many trips all over the next decade to see one and other in Ecuador, Dominican Republic and once even met in Columbia. The Dominican Republic trip was special because it was a resort where we not only reunited his children, grandchildren but relaxed in a beautiful place.
His mother while he was in the United States always paid his taxes and maintained his information in Bolivia. When he arrived, they knew where he had been, and he was able to not have any political issues as well as attain retirement. He was also the name deeded to his mother’s land. As a property owner he had interest, rights, and other benefits.
Ready to come home.
Reaching out to the homeland security, many immigration offices, and other agencies to confirm when my father could return was a tedious process that had to be done many times. In 2017, I had spoken with a woman who looked at the status of ICE and his overall file and said he has no ban that is active. As she mentioned, he can file for a tourist visa, she said that while he was detained his file was updated that showed previous amnesty application and currently widowers act (particularly 5 U.S. Code § 8442) had been applied. She suggested that if we applied for a travel visa he can come and stay for up to six months and renew yearly she also mentioned he can plan to be sponsored by one of his daughters and gain citizenship. My sister and I were overjoyed and started talking and discussing next steps.
I called my father and could not get a hold of him. I wasn’t sure what was going on. I would speak to him every day or about at 11:15. He would call me 10:15 his time 11:15 my time as those numbers held a lot of love in our hearts. My mother’s birthday was 10/15 and we often symbolized these numbers in remembrance of her.
Weeks were beginning to pass, and I could not get in touch. I tried contacting everyone in Bolivia, including police, hospitals, and any family that would speak to me. It was not until my sister went on a trip with her family for her daughters sweet 16, that we unfortunately could not attend and stayed home that I finally received a call.
At first, I was excited and wondering what my dad was up to and why he had not called, completely unlike him. I also wanted to share the good news of his granddaughter and of the status. It was not him; it was my cousin. Who is brother’s son that told me to call his dad and that it was important? My family stretches all over the globe and I had wished that we had tighter connections so to get this call was strange as I normally did not speak very often to some of my family but wish that our relationship was tighter and stronger. I called my uncle, while sitting in the back of porch of my house. He answered, the call started and he greeted me like he always did. “Hola, Chiquitita Fanito, how are my little love?” His voice was so tender, all of a sudden I could hear his breath, he was upset, I could hear the wind, My in-laws looked at me with curiosity and he said as time froze in that instance, “my love I am sorry to tell you this but your father has died” I could not breath/ He then stated ” he had a heart attack that was Anemia induced” … I choked and screamed so loud; I can feel my heart pounding now typing this. “This is not true, Tio…please… I have plans… he is coming… we made arrangements…please stop, this is not true…put him on the phone” … I looked to my Mama (mother-in-law) and Papa (father-in-law) and said, “help me, please help.”
I could not believe this and my sister I could not call her. My husband and I and all cried… why? Later his family in La Paz and Cochabamba told me it was lies and that he was murdered or held as a prisoner for the land. One cousin checked all the hospitals and said it is not true he has been kidnapped. I could not believe or know what to believe… unfortunately to this day.
Light in our heart.
We gathered at his favorite church and spoke to all who would listen to the testimony regarding his life, who he was and how he would have wanted to be remembered.
Though your heart is aching.
To all: He also loved his family; I really should mention he often spoke about his nephews and nieces and cousins. He loved them and would ask me every day to make sure you tell my Matty, Joey and Baby Jessy that we will be silly again. How is my Susie he always said. He also would say do not forget to send a mail on the line (yes, he did) to my nephew and niece on the face program on my phone. In his way he wanted to stay connected to his family. He would ask if I saw or spoke to his friends, Doug, Joaquin, Darlene, and if I go to 11th street make sure to give Pocholo a hug and Daisy, her son Mike and the block as they are family. He often mentioned Takia and said – I wish I can hear her smile. His heart was huge and always taking in new friends and loving old ones. Certain friends we grew up with he would tell me was his children because he wanted them to have love and certain family he constantly mentioned like Angelina, Milqueza, Mireya, Mireya, Nadia, Jamal, CJ, Cynthia, Kitty, Diego, Leslie, Suhad and all. He would tell me that my husband was an amazing man, and he loved his brother like his own son, his Ruby and his gorgeous wife and family. He also mentioned that he loved his new best friend Pepe (my husband uncle). He also mentioned to make sure to check on Mama Olga, my sister’s mother-in-law. He wanted me to always call her, especially on her birthday. Her daughter Jolly he said was gorgeous and her husband Tone was his man (close friend) and they had beautiful children. He always gave compliments that he felt and meant, he loved so hard with his heart in one hand and sword of valence in the other. I have so many testimonies of his but for these I hope touches and inspires.
To his grandchildren: Your grandfather spoke about you every day. He loved you more than you can ever imagine. He was in pain that he could not hold you and love you and play with you and be your grandfather. Do not let any day pass that you feel sad because he would then tell you “smile, though your heart is aching, even though it is waking.” he loved to quote music lyrics and often would insert in many moments of conversation, remember him and fill your heart always.
To my sister: We were loved. We had the best father one could ever desire. He went into battle for us. Not only did he teach us that he loved our mother and he taught us that he worshipped our mother. Our father loved you very much and always spoke of you highly. Please dont ever forget his love and always tell his stories like we do to keep his memory alive. I love you and pray each day for him and our family!
The only thing that has brought me peace is that he was reunited with my mom, his son, and mother… But I had no answers to give. Thank you for joining me on this journey of Fannytasticlife.
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Little Fanny who her dad called her Fanito with her Llama hair Pancho that her Guiche (grandmother) sent. When she would frown her father would sing to her Chiquitita by Abba to cheer her up…
¡Jallalla! Hello everyone! (This word is both Quechua and Aymara, and apart from being a greeting it conveys a wish for hope and a fulfilling life). awesome ¡Qué chala! That’s Awesome Está pintudo. That’s Amazing! Bolivia, La Paz
The legal definition of Moral Turpitude, gross violation of standards of moral conduct,vileness, such that an act involving moral turpitude was intentionally evil, making the act a crime. The existence of moral turpitude can bring a more severe criminal charge or penalty for a criminal defendant. For an immigrant this means immediate deportation.
An arrest is deemed wrongful when a person is detained and wrongfully convicted by police without proper legal authority.