Diana Lopez-Mesa -- #11992-018

12 Years -- Drug Conspiracy

October 31, 1997

Dear Judge:

My name is Diana Lopez-Mesa. I was sentenced to a term of 12 years and I have completed 8 years already. During these past years, I have tried to reduce my sentence through appeals and I have lost them all.

Diana Lopez-Mesa's son
I have an important reason for wanting my freedom sooner than you sentenced me. That reason is my only child. A child that has been through a break-up of the family -- divorce; then, the absence of his father and finally the incarceration of his mother.

All these situations have caused him tremendous emotional problems, and even though he is being raised by my mother, he feels lonely since he is the only child in the family that has not had the opportunity to be with at least one of his parents.

At the beginning of my sentence, I told him that I was working and studying hard in the U.S.A. so I could offer him a better life for his future. Then, the years passed by ... and he started asking me why I could not just go back to Colombia and work and study there instead of being away from home. I was too scared to tell him the truth. I did not know how to handle this situation so I stayed quiet for almost five years. During this period of silence, my child became a quiet boy; he did not want to receive my phone calls, he did not want to talk about his feelings with anyone.

My sisters and my mother (my dad, the other father figure that my son had, died of cancer a year and a half after my sentence) told me that every week when my son received a card or a letter from me, he smelled it first and then he hugged it very tight to his heart and stayed in that position while he was sitting at the living room staring through the window at the sky with his watery eyes that made everybody sad.

All these comments were driving me to a deep stage of depression. During that time, I entered a 500-hour Drug Abuse Program (1994) where I've learned so much about how to be honest, not only with myself but with the ones I love. It was in 1995 when I decided to open my heart to my son and tell him how I felt about my self for causing him all the suffering and loneliness; I also explained to him in a manner that would not cause more sadness and pain, that I was not able to go back home until the government of the U.S.A. allowed me to.

It has been 2 1/2 years since. He started to receive my phone calls and I've been talking to him on a weekly basis, but still I have not been able to ease his pain and suffering. Last Christmas when he was kneeling in front of the nativity, he took a baby Jesus doll from the manger that my mother and sisters placed for this season at home, and asked Jesus for only one thing.

He did not ask for toys, clothes or even health ... my son asked Jesus to bring his mother home this year, before Christmas of 1997! He stayed in that position praying and praying until my mother asked him to come and open his presents like his cousins did ... but he did not want to, all he wanted was to stay with baby Jesus close to his heart and pray and pray.

Throughout this year, my son has told me how much he loves me and how he is waiting for the moment when I kiss him and hug him and never let go. He also said that God has promised him that his mom is on her way home before this Christmas. And even though I've explained to him that my release date is for September 27, 1999, he said that he has faith, that God makes miracles and he feels I am on my way home soon.

Every picture (not many) I've received from my family of my son has brought me sadness. His eyes always looking so empty and watery like he has been crying too much. I've asked my family if he is crying often and the answer was that he looks like that all the time. The other day I asked my oldest nephew (15 years old), if he has seen my son crying and he told me a secret: I had to promise my nephew that I would not repeat it.

His secret was that he found my son several times in the night, in his room and with the lights off, staring at the stars and tears rolling down his cheeks and when my nephew asked him what was happening, my son remained quiet ... but my nephew is so persistent that he continued his questions until my son told him that he has no peace of mind and peace in his heart until his mom comes back home.

My nephew is probably the only person my son has talked openly about his feelings but he (my son) also told his cousin not to tell anyone because he did not want his mom to find out about his sadness, and worries because I already have enough suffering by being away from home.

I am very sad at this time, I am very scared of Christmas because I know deep inside of me that the only thing I have to give to my son during this season is more tears, more sadness...!

It has been 8 years since we have seen each other, since I cannot kiss him or hug him and is very hard not only for me but for him. The closest time we were together in these 8 years was 2 years ago when I sent him a message through a video tape. It was through a video Christmas program we had at this prison, but other than that, it has been only pictures and letters and the phone calls, not a physical contact at all.

This is my first offense, I do not have violence in my case or a leader charge. Also, I lived in this country since 1981 and worked and paid my taxes like a regular citizen. I think 12 years of my life is extremely high to pay society for a minor participation of conspiracy to possess cocaine. I am not the only one paying this time, my son is doing this time also and so is my family.

I just hope I can find the right words this Christmas and make it easier for Ryuma Jonathan, my son.