Problem of Elián
Anyone who has ever known of the story of the Berlin Wall knows that many people died trying to do what the communist leaders in East Germany and beyond did not want them to do! Those who died trying to leave what the communists called Utopia until it got so bad that they could not tell the lie anymore with a ‘straight face’, had no lack of knowledge of the punishment that could be meted out to those that might look like they stayed behind but helped the escapee. Care had to be taken to avoid such a position and many endured the slavery of communism to avoid leaving others behind.
So it is easy to sense that the mother of young six year old Elián of Cuba knew that she could help her son find freedom to grow as an individual instead of becoming a cog in the state run machinery built by Fidel Castro. She also knew that if she and her new husband failed to make it alive to the U.S. that others in Florida would take good care of Elián, if he survived the trip. We do not know if his father knew of the planned escape or encouraged it. He can’t admit to such and live in Cuba without retribution from the state that can’t abide those that want to escape from their aetheist idea of Heaven on Earth.
Therefore, the stage was set for the National Church to go and recognize that the father puts on a good show that may be real or only faked to save his life and others around him that can be destroyed by a dictator named Castro. The world can then see that the church and the state both want the son to be reunited with the father that spawned him- it is only natural in the eyes of the church.
But, this is not just a question of parental rights of a surviving father whose son would not be an issue if the mother and new husband or either one had landed alive in Florida with the boy. If that had been the case, the right of the father in Cuba would not be important to Castro. But, they did not survive, so Castro has to come to the position of wanting to look like he cares for the boy and the father and wants to save the boy from a fate worse than the 'freedom' to share his ideas in Cuba- living in America with a lot more real freedom and material support than is available in Cuba.
There is only one way to settle the problem. Offer tickets for the father and his new family to come to Florida to show the judges that they really want the son back in Cuba and have a stronger claim to him than the relatives in Florida that waited to help him even before he lost his mother and step-father to a tragic death that Castro orchestrated. If all of them come to Florida and take the above position, then the court should consider that the political problem is not controlling.
But, if the folks that come all ask for political asylum, then the father and son will be reunited in the U.S. and Castro will be further labeled for what he is. Castro, of course, can not afford such a risk and will not let his ‘hostages’ go with the father and he probably more than bridles at the thought that he should even trust the father to go to Florida with all expenses paid by the U.S. government or worse by the council of churches! Or even by the expatriated Cubans that he threw out years ago in the great Mariel boat-lift.
If the U.S. court can make this proposal, Castro will either risk losing all that come to claim the son; or he will take the risk knowing that other hostages will still be in Cuba.
Most likely, the U.S. government will repeat the same error that it has always done in the past 70 years in dealing with communists. Always give lying communist dictators the benefit of the doubt and fail to understand why such should not be the case. After all, the next time Elián swims to Florida, Castro will be dead of old age!
Jan 7, 2000 and the inevitable response of Clinton, Reno and the INS has made the news. Yup, the boy belongs to the father and is to be shipped back to Cuba to be reunited. Who can oppose that? About a few tens of thousands of politically minded victims of Castro for starters.
But, as predicted above, the real question is being 'ducked'. The issue as decided fails to consider not only the rights of the mother that died trying to bring her son to freedom, but the much larger issue of why we continue to give communists the same latitude that was given to them for some 83 years?
We recognized the Soviet Union and the communist camp in 1933 when FDR, led by fuzzy headed thinking in the State Dept. decided that it was better to deal with them and recognize them than to ignore them. That led to the deaths of millions and the tragedy of the 'cold war'. You might think that those communist supporters in the State Dept. were now replaced or reformed. Neither is the case.
The history shows that Lenin was right! As long as the lovers of freedom think the way they do, the communists can count on winning almost every propaganda opportunity. Clinton should have seized upon the idea of offering a way for all of the hostages to come and claim the boy or decide to defect from Cuba.
Better yet, he could have freed the Cuban people by activating the original plan to land at Trinity beach instead of the Kennedy directed Bay of Pigs. If he added a few Marines and fighter cover, the war would be over in three days and Cuba would be free of Castro. Who is he afraid of now? The Russians in Chechnya?
Sunday, Jan 9, 2000 and the plot continues to evolve.The solid citizens of Little Havana in Miami know from personal experience that Castro is forcing a willing father to plead for his son for more than the obvious reason. The son at age six already knows why his mother brought him on the dangerous trip to Florida and if he admits that his natural father wished the dead mother well, he knows it will cause Castro to kill his father! Kids at six learn these things when they have to!
Sure, the relatives have showered the boy with love and gifts and he is not so old as to understand just how political that can be perceived. Still he is old enough to know when he is eating well and when his mother took him to Florida he knew why he was going!
If Castro won't let his hostages come for the boy at no financial expense to anyone or anything in Cuba, then it is clear that he is afraid to let it happen. Why doesn't someone in the White House offer to set such a plan into place? Are they afraid that the family would come and want to stay in the U.S.?
Perhaps Elián will help the mass of Americans wake up to the fact that we should have freed Cuba a long time ago and then Elián would want to go home, if he loves his natural father more than the memory of the step-dad who had the courage to try to help the boy be free in America.
The help of Congressman Burton and others that have taken the time to listen and learn may make a difference in the outcome of this story. It could be decided upon its real merits rather than the self-serving thinking of the administration or even a Republican former President who can't look beyond the INS Department legalisms to the heart of the matter.
Jan 12 Update: By this point in time Janet Reno enters the fray to put down the FL state Judge while 'smearing' her name with inuendo via Time Magazine, because the legal counsel helping Elián's U.S. supporters made a campaign contribution to her several years ago. Reno, dedicated to Federalism over any state- even the one from which she came- tried to sweep away the state judge and support the INS. Unfortunately, the INS has apparently backed off so as to allow delay for Federal court proceedings.
Candidate George W. Bush spoke eloquently about the inability of Americans to understand what the mother went through before determining that she should take a terrible risk and put the boy in a boat for the dangerous trip to freedom from Castro's dictatorial communist state. He might have called for the Federal Court to try to bring the father and other Cuban family members- all likely hostages for Castro- to the U.S. to see if the father really wants the boy back in Cuba. If so, then he should have the power to return with the son. If they all asked for political asylum...then the truth would have a different ring to it!
Why do you think the father has not stated a willingness to come to Florida to get his son? The answer is obvious. If he did and stayed, his new wife and his close family are all going to jail! If he wanted his son to live in Cuba, he would be clamoring for the chance to go!
Of course, Castro wants to force his will which is to let the church do the job of bringing the boy back to the father. That will show the world that the church supports Castro by way of extension from its support of the natural family notion of a father deserving to have his son- even though he left the mother via a divorce and risked losing the son when she defected.What a bunch of 'crocodile tears'. Does Castro show any concern for the boy's dead mother? Who had to take such a risk to escape the tyranny of Cuba?
Yes, it is too bad that this political battle had to happen. It would be far better if Castro would retire and let us cut the embargo and then people would stop trying to escape from Cuba the way they did from East Berlin. But, why do the Janet Reno types of the world fall into Castro's traps? They just don't seem to be able to get the 'big picture' unless it includes a big government to control all outcomes!
The revelation published in early January about the similar situation in the life of Fidel Castro himself is very revealing! His divorced wife and first born son left Fidel and later, when Fidel was recovering from an imprisonment by living in Mexico, Fidel managed to get arrangements made to have his son spend time with him in Mexico. The son was kidnapped and returned to live permanently in Cuba with Fidel! So, he has a clear understanding of the ways to recover a son taken away by a divorce to another land.
In this case he is working to avoid such tactics. He wants the Council of Churches to take the 'humanitarian' position of returning a son to a father without regard to what either the mother wanted for the son; or the distinct possiblity that the father knew and encouraged the escape, but dares not admit it to Castro!
If Castro would retire, the embargo against him, and his vile determination to force communism on the people, would also go away. Then it would be easy for Evían to go with his father; or for the father to bring his new wife and child to live in Florida with his first son!
The issue in this case is not a simple matter of looking at the laws that create power in the INS. It is very much complicated by the factors that the 'humanitarians' choose to ignore. If Cuba was open and free, the father, if he truly wants to bring his son back, would have no problem in going to Florida and obtain the custody that Castro demands he obtain to avoid the appearance that Castro doesn't run a country where fear of reprisal is the order of the day.
But, if that were the case in Cuba, why do so many have to flee in leaky boats and take the risk of dying in an effort to get away? Castro is living the same lie and forcing it on the people of Cuba that the Russians, who built the wall in Germany. Give the people freedom from the dictator and Cuba will quickly show that it can join the community of free nations and prosper without state control of life!
Jan 20 update:
Words from President Clinton have now been added to those of others who see this situation as just a simple legal problem. By ignoring the extraordinary fact that the father may not be able to tell us that he wants the Miami relatives to raise his child without risking reprisals upon himself and his family in Cuba, we let our minds settle the problem in a simple 'legal' way. But, this is not a simple legal problem!
If the grandparents, now being flown in a National Council of Churches chartered plane to NYC could be flown together with the father and the rest of those close enough to him to be hostages, if they don't all return, then an interesting meeting could happen. Would they all want to stay in the U.S. with Elian (an apparent English translation)?
It is fair to predict that the simple minded will like the Clinton support of his attorney General Janet Reno; and the National Council of Churches will believe that they are doing God's work by encouraging a 'humanitarian' act to return this young boy to Cuba and his biological father that divorced the mother that lost her life trying to bring her son to a better country.
But, is it a better country? Read the words of a Cuban psychologist, who is trained to be first a good communist:
''They are trying to educate the child in a society of competition, inequalities, individualism, violence and vice,'' added Marisela Rodriguez Penate, another education specialist participating in the discussion.''
As an education specialist, this Marisela speaks from the same books of communist ideological nonsense that men like David Horowitz have tried and renounced. The ideology of this communist 'double-talk' is based on false thinking. They find individualism to be wrong! They want all to conform to the state's will as declared by their God- Castro.We know that a system of freedom for the individual can produce some obscene results, but that happens in Cuba too, but it is not in the news. Such is suppressed very well.
It is also worth predicting that the boy will one day come back to Florida. We can pray that he will not have to swim to shore again from a capsized boat. If he makes it to dry land as an adult, then the law will let him stay! What God wrote that law?
Update Jan 21, 2000
The showdown is coming and the American people have been fooled again! The simple judgment is the easy one. For sure, a son belongs with the surviving parent when the mother dies. That is simple law. But, did the law anticipate circumstances where a father could send a divorced mother off in a small boat to make a dangerous water crossing with his six year old son, because both mother and father knew that better opportunity awaited the son in Florida?
Did the law anticipate that the father might not be free to state his real wish for his son after the boy is washed up on the beach in Florida without his dead mother?
Obviously our INS laws were not written with the above circumstances in mind. Therefore the application of the law as is it seems to be stating, is limited to our ability to judge, with some of the facts missing. Lawyers have no trouble with such omissions. They only deal with the words that make it into print!
It takes more to determine the best answer in this problem. When the boy tells his new school mates that he sure likes it here and doesn’t want to go back to Cuba, is that a sign that he was coached by his great Uncle or by his mother or father! It is hard to know when you are dealing with a father locked in Cuba, who has to say that he doesn’t want to come to Florida for his son.
First, if he did, it would put him in an impossible position. He could not come and tell his son that he must come back to Cuba, after he may have said good-bye several months ago to enjoy a better life in the U.S. with his divorced wife and other family in Miami. That would make the father appear to be betraying his son. If he chose to stay with his son, he is leaving his new wife and another child to the wrath of Castro! So, he can’t make that choice.
His only choice is to stay in Cuba and let the grandmothers go. He may be praying that they put on a good show but fail to bring the boy back! If he really wanted the boy back, he only needs to get a temporary Visa with stipulation that he not be detained. That would be hard for anyone to stop in Florida.
One can then deduce that the father doesn’t really want the son to come home in spite of the father’s call that is required to protect himself and others around him from Castro.
The tide, however, is possibly turning to force the boy back. Many will shout hurrah for two different reasons: Some will say that is God’s will to restore the son to the father; and others will say we don’t want Cubans to immigrate anyway! Both will be wrong, but they will look like a majority. The only winner will be Castro! The boy will grow up knowing what he missed and he will find a way to come again, maybe after Castro dies along with his stupid conviction that all mankind should belong to the state and that leaders like him should rule over all.
We in America don’t think that way. We just act so.
Update Jan. 25, 2000
Well the grandmothers have come to NYC and the National Council of Churches have done all in their power, at significant expense, to prove to the world and to the good citizens of the U.S. that God is for returning a son to his father no matter what else is to be considered.
They flew the fine ladies to NYC for promotional purposes and then on to Miami in hopes that they could see their grandson in a 'neutral' place in private. Perhaps the inside of their chartered plane would have been ok?
The Miami family of Elian (apparently his Americanized name) offered to celebrate the arrival with a dinner for the grandmothers in the home where Elian lives with other relatives. They had flowers and fine food for the occasion, but the honored guests chose to fly off to Cuba instead. Apparently their meeting with Janet Reno, a lot of TV exposure of their attendance in church, and lots of polls failed to do what the father might have done had he come with the rest of his new family. But, alas, Fidel Castro would not have allowed that to happen. Old ladies will come home to Cuba, but a young family out to collect a son that ran off with his mother to escape Cuba, where folks are not allowed to leave on their own decision, would not be given the chance to defect from their Utopian life in Cuba.
Fidel can drive hundreds of thousands to demonstrate, but he can't give the father and his new family a chance to leave. If they did not return, he would have a bad case of negative PR.So, the charade goes on and the boy awaits the next chapter in his new life to unfold.
I recall losing a friend at that age who went to Denmark just in time to have Hitler confiscate his electric train for scrap metal to make bombs. That boy was not allowed to leave Denmark's dictatorship control either. Too bad he could not have floated to safety on an inner tube! Elian has made it to safety. Now, we have the opportunity to let him stay; or the chance to deliver him to Castro on a 'silver platter' to show the world that Castro only fights for good things, like when he stole his son away from his mother in Mexico.
Stay tuned, more is to come.
Update Jan 29, 2000
Can you believe it? The carefully selected Nun, a friend of Janet Reno, our American Attorney General, keeper of law and order who can not turn left or right to sense anything but the words of law, turns out to be able to look to the side. She saw a small boy with two loving grandmothers and somehow came to the conclusion that Elián is safer and better off in America! How could she do so without fear of reprisal from the church as well as Janet Reno?
Obviously, there is more to this case than can meet the eye! The father plays the game that Castro wants him to play; but secretly he may well have his own ideas about what is best for his son and that may precede the time that Elián left Cuba, but he can't reveal that to anyone! Could the grandmothers also have conveyed a secret message to the young boy who is growing up fast after spending two days in the Atlantic Ocean all alone!
None of the psychologists that deal with the problems of trauma with children are full of training about how kids react when they are raised under the control of the state.
Stay tuned as more is to come.
Feb. 5, 2000
Well, nobody expected the next chapter to deal with the strange behavior of the visiting grandmothers who were brought by the National Council of Churches to visit the boy Elián because his father would not come to claim him as the father! Everyone assumed that the Nun would have provided the best possible 'neutral' ground for the encounter. It was all aimed at avoiding a visit to the home of the great-uncle, and most would have thought this to have been about as neutral and sterile a spot as one could arrange.
Not so! One of the grandmothers took the occasion to bite the boys tongue and unzip his pants for a worthy penis inspection! The family in Miami took exception to this activity and have filed a complaint with the US Justice Dept. as this comes close to the kind of sexual abberant behavior known to get some teachers, and parents in trouble with US laws.
Word from Cuba is that this behavior is not much to think about. After all, everyone in Cuba knows that Castro's brand of communism leaves little room for any religious connections to sexuality and real men like Fidel know that a boy's chances for manly behavior demand penis development! Apparently even young grandmothers respect this type of thinking. What else have they lived to know during the years of Castro rule?
That the Nun changed her opinion about the event was known from her talk with Janet Reno the next day. What we did not know was just why? One doubts that what happened falls into the category of every day witnessing to the Lord in the Nun's office?
Nonetheless, the media has done a good job at making this story fall into the simple choice of favoring either the rights of the surviving father to claim the boy; or the political extremists that live in Miami. Of course, they can not view the choice between living in a communist Utopia and a free U.S. as anything other than a political tug-of-war. Republicans and Democrats may have political differences, but choosing between wanting a state dictatorship without freedom to choose from multiple parties is not a position either party wants- publically or privately!
This issue is far more important and the media is missing it because the public can't easily understand it. Perhaps the media can't either! Elián may already have this lesson under his belt even if his penis is not yet ready to be tested by Fidel's little old ladies sent to bring the boy back.
Feb. 18, 2000
The news story must have lost appeal as many are now bored with it? Then up crops a bit more- the INS in Miami has had one of its minions arrested as a Cuban spy! Surprised? Why? The leading figures in the history of communism, who have discovered that they were wrong, have all told to all that would listen, how the party works to control the news, and how it trys to insert spys into every process where its goals can be promoted via infiltration.
So, a bit more of the dirty story comes out.When will the next act happen? Will it have a media build up? Organized protests to parade on the news? Or will reason ever get a chance to let some reasonable consideration to the chance that the father and the mother both accepted the idea that the son might do well in Miami. In fact, he is!
The father is doing well with his job, his new wife and child in Havana! Maybe the child will grow up in Miami and eventually tell us that he knew a lot more than most adults thought he could know about how tough it is to live in a communist country. One where the dictator is used to getting his way with his own son or that of anyone else under his authority.
But, don't count out the communist legal team or the propaganda unit. They will be back again.
Feb. 20, 2000: Would you believe it? The Sister or Nun that was selected by Janet Reno as a trustworthy person to serve as the 'neutral' third party to bring Elián and his grandmothers together, has now revealed a lot more about why she could not let her liberal theology keep her neutral in the face of what happened! The maternal grandmother made noises about wanting asylum and noted that her daughter was right in seeking a better life for her son in America!
Think of the pressure on her to hide this knowledge! If the grandmother isn't dead already by Castro's hand, it is only because he lacks the way to do it openly. She may have an accident in retribution for failing to bring the boy home to Fidel for his propaganda victory. Can she share this truth with her friends in Cuba? OR is that the sort of thing that one must run to the political officer immediately on hearing? That is the way communists control the masses.
Now, comes the U.S. Court to decide- not what is right, but what is legal. Guess what that answer will be? This case is not over yet...
Feb. 21: Can you believe it. The Federal Judge has a stroke and this will delay the time for the Court to meet on this case!
More importantly, more of the facts from the Nun are leaking out. It appears that the father of Elián may actually have known of the contacts via phone in Miami with relatives that waited for his ex-wife and son to come. He may have approved the trip leaving him in Cuba with his new wife and youngster, minus the old wife and Elían. Could this have been acceptable to a man that his mother in law confided was left by his first wife over problems with his physical treatment of her? Why not?
But, wait, this doesn't fit into the simplistic mold that Castro wants to see- one designed to remove some of the stigma of the fact that ten of thirteen people in the boat died trying to flee from the Cuban communist paradise. How can he believe that to be possible? Easy. He is trying to show that the U.S. system of justice is rigged for political advantage to keep a boy from his natural father.
I ask you, have you ever heard of any orphan that had a mother and no known father? One that not even the mother knew who provided little but the sperm of conception? Do you think that the natural father always deserves to claim the fruit of his seed? Or might there be some circumstances where that seems a little less than easily justified?
Might it just be possible that Elían knows why he came to America? That he was wise beyond his years. For as he probably knew: any slip of the tongue and he and his parents could have been killed in Cuba for considering an action not approved by the state? It doesn't take long to teach fear to a six year old and it is well reinforced when one of that age survives two days floating in an inner tube with the sharks off the coast of Florida.
This boy is made of some tough stuff! He should be given some respect for what he knows- perhaps more than the National Council of Churches knows about life in Cuba; or in a dysfunctional family with problems of a father, a wife, a pregnant girl friend, and who knows what else? At some point the Church Council may have a lot of egg on its face!
Mar 5, 2000
No more revelations seemed possible until a Congressional hearing allowed two Cuban women to testify. One, is a daughter of Fidel Castro. She explained why he would try to avoid the 'loss of face' created by the defection of Elián and his mother, if he can't get the father to win back the son.
The other is a cousin that claims to have received many phone calls from the natural father with words of great thanks for the care being given his son...with added words like, "You know what this means to me, don't you?" She has taken it as a code to explain why he wanted his son to leave Cuba and come to the U.S. with his mother.
He might have said, but would not dare, something like:
"Look, I have a new wife, a new baby, and I didn't need to keep my old wife and son here, so I encouraged them to leave and take the big risk of not getting there safely. I can't let Castro look like I think my son is better off with family in Miami than in Cuba, but hey, its true! So, please take good care of him. Thanks." Wonder if this will ever be verified; or if the National Council of Churches and the INS will force the simple solution. The longer it takes the harder it will be to achieve such unless Evián complains he wants to return. I'll just bet that he doesn't come to say that in a convincing way, if at all.
March 10, 2000 The legal wheels are turning:
Key Court Hearing for Elian Begins
By ALEX VEIGA
.c The Associated Press
MIAMI (March 9) - While flag-waving demonstrators snarled traffic outside, a federal judge began hearing key questions today in the international custody dispute over 6-year-old Elian Gonzalez.
After months of congressional hearings and protests in Cuba, U.S. District Judge K. Michael Moore was being asked to decide whether Elian's great-uncle can legally challenge an Immigration and Naturalization Service ruling that Elian be returned to his father in Cuba.
The lawsuit filed by Lazaro Gonzalez also sought a political asylum hearing for the boy. The judge set aside three hours for the hearing, which began promptly at 9 a.m., but did not indicate when he might reach a decision.
About 60 demonstrators, most of them supporters of Elian's staying in the United States, waved huge Cuban flags while they marched outside the courthouse, adding to the traffic knots caused when police earlier closed one street in anticipation of the demonstrations.
Police were bringing in more barricades to hold back the protesters and had to separate one group from a Miami-Dade Community College student who thinks Elian should be returned to his father.
Security was bolstered inside and outside the courthouse. The courtroom was filled as the hearing got under way.
The U.S. government has argued that the boy is too young to seek political asylum, and noted that the INS has ruled that only his father is capable of speaking for Elian on immigration matters.
Moore can decide to intervene or let the INS ruling stand.
``The family is praying and very hopeful,'' said Armando Gutierrez, a spokesman for the Miami relatives who have been caring for Elian and want him to remain with them.
The boy's fate has been debated since November, when he was found clinging to an inner tube in the Florida Straits after two days adrift. His mother and 10 other Cubans drowned when their boat capsized during a bid to reach the United States.
The INS in early January ordered that Elian be returned to his father, a decision backed by President Clinton and Attorney General Janet Reno. The order was put on hold pending the court fight over guardianship of the boy.
Ramon Sanchez, head of the anti-Castro group Democracy Movement, said Elian's Miami relatives will respect the federal court's decision but will also pursue the custody claim in family court.
``If destiny or the court system or the Lord wants him to go back to Cuba then those are very powerful elements that we don't want to go against,'' he said.
On Wednesday night, Cuban President Fidel Castro blamed U.S. immigration policies for Elian's plight.
Speaking for the first time at one of the scores of mass protests held in Cuba almost daily since Dec. 5, Castro described the Cuban Adjustment Act as a ``monstrosity'' that lures Cubans to risk the lives of themselves and their children.
The law, passed in 1966, allows Cubans who reach American soil to stay and apply for political asylum.
``How many lives has this law cost our nation? How many lives of innocent children pulled out of school by mothers or fathers who are irresponsible or tricked by illusions?'' Castro said.
Last week, the boy's father, Juan Miguel Gonzalez, met with attorney Gregory Craig, who represented President Clinton during his impeachment and trial. Craig will represent Gonzalez in his efforts to reunite with Elian.
Moore has also been asked to consider a motion filed by another of Elian's great-uncles, Manuel Gonzalez, asking the court to appoint an independent guardian to represent the boy in legal matters.
Manuel Gonzalez wants to return the boy to his father and is seeking temporary custody.
It is most revealing to note one paragraph in the above AP report:
"Last week, the boy's father, Juan Miguel Gonzalez, met with attorney Gregory Craig, who represented President Clinton during his impeachment and trial. Craig will represent Gonzalez in his efforts to reunite with Elian." Who picked this combination of characters? Was it Castro, Clinton or the National Council of Churches? It sure wasn't the door man of a Havana hotel named Gonzalez!
No doubt President Clinton thinks highly of a lawyer that got him off the impeachement hook for his irrelevant use of so-called 'working' time in the oval office with help from Monica. Why would Castro want such an attorney? He probably thinks that a joke, but he isn't paying for it and it does look like it means that the president is on his side, even if the National Council of Churches is paying the outrageous legal bill.
The longer this story runs, the easier it is to realize that the boy's father can't be trusted to go to the U.S. to claim the son that he may well have let go for several good reasons besides the obvious economic advantages for the son, the father and the mother. Of course, the mother lost her life trying to carry out the plan.
Also, it is interesting that nobody has come forth with tales of a sad little boy, crying day and night for the father that let him leave in a small boat for a tough journey with his mother and boyfriend. Wait, you may see such a story soon. Lawyers know when a good story is needed to win a case!
March 21, 2000 and the Court has ruled!
Judge Dismisses Elian's Asylum Lawsuit
"By ALEX DOMINGUEZ
.c The Associated Press
MIAMI (March 21) - A federal judge today dismissed the lawsuit aimed at keeping 6-year-old Elian Gonzalez in the United States, saying only the U.S. attorney general can grant asylum to the Cuban boy.
U.S. District Judge K. Michael Moore's ruling came 12 days after hearing arguments in the lawsuit filed by Elian's great-uncle, Lazaro Gonzalez. Gonzalez wants to keep Elian, against the wishes of the boy's father in Cuba.
''Determination to grant asylum is a matter within the discretion of the attorney general,'' Moore wrote in the 50-page ruling.
What the Gonzalez family's next step is was not immediately clear; telephone calls to the family home were not answered.
The U.S. government had asked the judge to dismiss the lawsuit, which asked the court to compel the Immigration and Naturalization Service to give Elian an asylum hearing.
The judge wrote that the litigation was ''well-intended'' but it could bring about ''unintended harm'' because of ''the reality that each passing day is another day lost between Juan Gonzalez and his son.''
Elian was at school when the judge rendered his decision.
Elian's fate has been debated since he was found clinging to an inner tube off Florida on Nov. 25. His mother and 10 others drowned when their boat capsized during an attempt to reach the United States. The case has become a tug of war between the Cuban government and family members in the United States who oppose the Cuban government's Communist ideology and want to raise the motherless boy.
In early January, the INS ordered that Elian be returned to his father, a decision backed by President Clinton and Attorney General Janet Reno. The order was put on hold pending the court fight.
Attorneys for Lazaro Gonzalez have argued that the INS violated the boy's rights by refusing to grant him a political asylum hearing when he was rescued.
But government lawyers said Elian's father, Juan Miguel Gonzalez, opposed asylum for his son, and that his wishes should be respected over those of the boy's great-uncle.
In addition, government lawyers said, INS officials conducted a thorough investigation, which was reviewed by Reno, and found no basis for an asylum claim.
While any alien may apply for political asylum, INS officials said Elian is too young and only a parent or guardian can file an application for him.
During the three-hour hearing earlier this month, Moore asked why the INS did not simply reject the asylum application filed on Elian's behalf by the great-uncle and return him to his father.
Government lawyers said the boy already was traumatized by his ordeal at sea and it made sense at the time to release the boy to the custody of relatives who showed up at the hospital.
The battle over Elian has divided the boy's relatives on both sides of the Florida Straits, and has taken on impassioned and often ugly ideological overtones that underscore the differences separating Cubans in the two nations.
Since his arrival in South Florida, Elian has captivated many Cuban-Americans, who say the boy is a symbol of the plight of Cuban people under Fidel Castro.
Cuban-American groups have held protests and lobbied presidential candidates and members of Congress to help buy time to keep Elian from being returned to his father.
In Cuba, tens of thousands have staged rallies and marches to demand the boy's return."
March 21, 2000
Response to this report will be widespread and Castro will stage yet another parade of thousands that come when he asks them to do so. In Miami a different parade will happen. Neither will address the real questions:
Since Elián left his natural father behind in Cuba, it is easy to claim that his right exists to claim his son and even expect someone else to bring the boy to him. Why? Well, because, if the mother and father had not been divorced, it would be the natural thing to do.
But, the mother was divorced by the father, who took up life with another woman with whom he created yet another child. So, the simple solution above, is not so controlling.
We should know if the natural father was willing to sanction his ex-wife taking their son to the U.S. on a dangerous trip? A lot of evidence suggests that such was the case. Yet, in Cuba, the father could lose his life, if he admits that he would think that his son could do better growing up in Miami! Worse yet, what if he told his son that he wanted him to go, but instructed him to never admit that his father felt this way?
What if the mother also gave such instruction to the son, in the event that she would not survive the trip, but the son would? One doubts that any mother would want to explain such to her six year old son, while traveling to Miami or fighting for survival with the sharks.
Unless the relatives in Miami have more room for legal maneuver, we can expect that the Justice Department and Janet Reno will shortly call for the surrender of the boy so that he can be flown via some aircraft- no doubt one provided by the National Council of Churches- back to Cuba for a grand parade and welcome home! This could be the end of the story for those who will think that justice has then been done!
Several chapters will remain to be played out and recorded:
1. Elián may be favored in Cuba, as long as he plays the game of life by the Castro communist rules; and always shows that he loves the state more than God. If he slips, he will just be lost in the masses of people in Havana.
2. Within the next 10-15 years he is likely to return to the U.S. on his own power. At this time, he will have to make the same trip as before and face the same dangers including the chance that a Judge will say that he can’t stay, unless he is old enough to be recognized as wanting to stay without needing, in the Court’s opinion, a guardian to speak for him! Age 18 may be old enough?
Or, Elián may come via Mexico or another Central American country where a boat or plane can take him from Havana with less risk of having to risk the sharks and a small boat. But, it is a safe prediction that Elián will one day return and Janet Reno will care less about the fact that she alone made him go back to an uncertain future with a man who will not come to Miami to claim this boy; or who offers no certainty of providing for the boy as well as the relatives in Miami have demonstrated for months already.
Yes, a happy Elián may have to accept the rule of law as interpreted by Janet Reno and Bill Clinton, and supported by a federal Judge, who writes opinions based very dispassionately on the facts as they relate to the law alone. Forget the human considerations. Rather contend that they are not real- only political. I disagree!
Opinion from Carol Leigh
AN OPINION REGARDING ELIAN GONZALEZ
by Carol Leigh
Since the day Elian Gonzalez arrived in American waters, clinging to his life raft, Cuban and American media have stressed the emotional issues surrounding this child's future - with few legal points mentioned.
Examples of words the media have used in descriptions of this child and his relatives in both countries include: "wishes", "wants", "traumatized", "ideological overtones", "captivating 6-year-old", and "symbol of Cuban plight" - just to name a few.
Emotional divisions aside, there have been many legal issues that have not been provided to the public. For instance:
· The Gonzalez divorce decree in Cuba. Was the father given visitation rights? Who was at fault?
· Who knew the mother's reasons for the trip, other than "coming for a better life for her son"?
· Had her relatives in the U.S. made arrangements for Elian's and her arrival?
· What plans had she made for her and Elian's survival after arriving in the U.S.?
· What is her relatives' legal liability, if they knew she was coming illegally?
The Cuban people are "protected" by Fidel Castro. American citizens are protected by our system of laws. Until the time comes when Americans are protected NOT by laws but by a religious entity, emotional issues must be suspended to provide legal fairness to the majority.
You are English and divorced. You have visitation rights to your 6-year-old daughter. You have remarried and your new baby is a year old. Your ex-wife sails on a small boat toward Sweden because she wants your daughter to live near some relatives, and also because Sweden's Socialist government and free medical care seem much more civilized than England's more primitive system.
The boat sinks. Your daughter is saved. Should she stay with relatives in Sweden or be returned to you - even if you do have a new baby with your new wife?
Granted, this example is facile. I contend that the American legal system doesn't know enough facts about Elian's situation to make the final decision to keep him in the United States. Unless his father is proven unfit to raise his son, Elian should be returned to him.
Mar 23, 2000 the saga continues with a Court decision:
"Reno: Time To Reunite Elian and Dad
.c The Associated Press
MIAMI (AP) - Attorney General Janet Reno reiterated her belief that 6-year-old Elian Gonzalez should be returned to Cuba, saying it is time for the boy to be ``reunited with his father.''
Reno commented Wednesday evening after meeting in Washington with a lawyer for Elian's father. She said the boy would be returned in an ``orderly, fair and prompt'' manner.
However, Justice Department officials have said they want to avoid traumatizing the boy or provoking a confrontation with Miami's Cuban exile community.
The boy is with relatives here who want him to remain in the United States. Attorneys for Elian's great-uncle say they will take their battle to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary.
``This (is) an extraordinary case that could reach the highest levels of our court system,'' attorney Kendall Coffey said. ``I've never seen a more compelling or dramatic story in my life.''
Asked today in Washington to say how quickly she thought the matter should be resolved, Reno told reporters, ``I don't think we can speculate. I think this is obviously a matter of great concern. ... Elian's father cares a very great deal. This is a wonderful little boy from all that I have heard, and it is just important that everybody work it out the right way.''
Reno also said the Justice Department ``wants to follow the court's admonition that we not delay the opportunity for this little boy to be with his father.''
U.S. District Judge K. Michael Moore this week essentially upheld the government's decision to send Elian back to Cuba by dismissing a lawsuit seeking an asylum hearing for the boy. The ruling has been appealed.
Elian has been the subject of controversy since he was found clinging to an inner tube off Florida on Nov. 25. His mother and 10 others drowned when their boat capsized during an attempt to reach the United States.
The case has become a tug-of-war between the Cuban government and U.S. family members who oppose the Cuban government's Communist ideology and want to raise the motherless boy.
In January, the Immigration and Naturalization Service, in a decision approved by Reno, ordered Elian returned to his father. The Miami relatives responded with the lawsuit."
Mar 23, 2000 commentary:
The saga continues with the simplistic argument that a young boy belongs with his father- no other factors need be considered; especially, if they can be shown to be political in nature- like the jaded opinions of Cuban Americans in Miami who lived under Castro and can’t see what ‘right-thinking’ Americans can see! To many, the idea creeps in that the Cuban- Americans are trying to buy Elián’s love with money and worldly goods, while his father is thought to be a man ready to provide the love of family, which is more worthwhile to the boy! Few give credit to the idea that a lot of family love is avaiable to Elián in Miami; and it could be more than is available in Havana from a step-mother and a sibling rival.
If the father comes to Miami and professes such an argument, he should take the boy back with him! But, if he stays away, one can’t help but wonder if this is what he would want, if he could be as free as any father in America to say, no thanks! I don’t really want the boy. He was taken away by my first wife with my ok. He can’t say this from Cuba without offending Castro, and that is dangerous!
So, this case may go the Supreme Court as the first of its kind in the history of the Court. It may be a story to follow. Meanwhile, the boy, like a young tree, will grow according to the way the twig is bent! Or will he?
Mar 26, 2000 action and commentary:
The A/P story from Castro’s Cuba:
Castro Blasts Elian's Relatives
By ANITA SNOW
.c The Associated Press
HAVANA (AP) - President Fidel Castro said Sunday that the Miami relatives of 6-year-old Elian Gonzalez and their anti-communist backers might kill the child or abduct him to a third country rather than let him return to Cuba.
``They are capable of killing him rather than return him safe and sound to the country,'' Castro said of Miami's Cuban-American exiles as he wrapped up a 1 1/2-hour speech. He spoke before more than 700 pro-government university students.
Castro suggested that the exiles could expose the child to a serious illness in an act of vengeance against Elian's father or the Cuban government, which have been battling for his repatriation. He also said that according to ``reliable sources in Miami,'' the child's ``kidnappers'' had discussed moving the child to another location or even a third country to prevent his return to Cuba.
U.S. District Judge K. Michael Moore's dismissal on Tuesday of the family's lawsuit seeking to block Elian's repatriation was ``just and moral,'' Castro said.
Castro said the boy should be back in Cuba within three weeks, depending upon what other legal or political maneuvers the Miami relatives attempt.
The U.S. Justice Department late Friday told Elian's relatives in Miami that they have until noon Monday to agree to an expedited appeal or the boy will be returned rapidly to his father in Cuba, according to family spokesman Armando Gutierrez.
In Washington, a federal official close to the case confirmed that the Justice Department plans to give the family's lawyers until April 3 to prepare and file their appeal.
Elian has been at the center of an international tug-of-war since late November, when he was rescued by fishermen who found him lashed to an innertube bobbing off the Florida coast. Elian's mother and 10 others perished when their boat sank during the journey from Cuba to the United States.
In Miami, Elian was turned over to his great-uncle, who is now fighting for the right to raise him, saying he can give him a better life off the communist island. But his father and four grandparents, backed by Castro, have demanded the child's return to his native country.
For four months, the Miami relatives have successfully blocked the child's repatriation. In an apparent bid to increase American support for their battle to keep Elian in the United States, the Miami relatives last week allowed television journalist Diane Sawyer to spend two days with the boy.
The ABC News program ``Good Morning America'' plans to air the first of several reports Monday.
Castro said that subjecting the child to the interview was ``monstrous and sickening'' and said that sources had told him that the boy would denounce his father during the airing.
``You cannot do this without the authorization of the father,'' said Castro, who expressed worries about the child's welfare. ``I sincerely think that this boy is at risk in the hands of desperate people and the government of the United States should not be running this risk,'' he added.
A Spanish-speaking child psychiatrist, with no prior connection to the case, accompanied Sawyer on the visit, the television network said.
Additional portions of Sawyer's report will likely be aired on Tuesday, and on ''20/20'' Wednesday, the network said.
On the Net: The judge's decision: http://www.netside.net/usdcfls/publications/elian.pdf
INS home page: http://www.ins.usdoj.gov
Web site by son of Miami relatives' spokesman: http://libertyforelian.org
Coverage of Elian's case from the Cuban Communist Party newspaper, Granma: http://www.granma.cu/sitioelian/indexing.html
OK. Here we see Castro, one of then men in history that knows how to kidnap his child from its mother from personal experience, crowing that the U.S. Justice Dept. has moved to accept the Castro position without the father ever having to go to Miami to get his son!
The next phase will be some TV coverage that may reveal more about the reasons that the father is not coming to Miami! Don’t be surprised to hear the boy tell stories of why the mother left the father; and of why the son should not want to spend more time with the father’s new wife and child.
Look for Castro to call of this a ‘whitewash’ attempt by the enemies of his people in Cuba to make it look like life in America can be beautiful as compared to Cuba, where everyone loves Castro first and then everyone else.
The story is not yet over.
Update of Mar. 29,2000
The following story is written by an author apparently from Cuba. She claims a lot of knowledge not available in Florida.
Shipwrecked on Dry Land
By GABRIEL GARCIA MARQUEZ
n Friday, when Juan Miguel González went to school to pick up his son
Elián for the weekend, he was told that Elizabet Brotons, his ex-wife
and the boy's mother, had taken Elián at midday and had not brought him
back in the afternoon. In his routine as a divorced father, this seemed
normal to Juan Miguel. From the time when he and Elizabet had separated
two years earlier, on the most amicable terms, the boy had lived with
his father and spent every other day at his mother's house. But
Elizabet's door was padlocked over the weekend and on Monday as well,
and Juan Miguel began to make inquiries. This was how he learned the bad
news that was already becoming common knowledge in the city of Cárdenas:
Elián's mother had left with him for Miami, with 12 other people, in an
aluminum boat 5 1/2 meters long, with no life preservers and a decrepit
It was Nov. 22, 1999. "My life ended that day," Juan Miguel said four
months later. After their divorce, he and Elizabet had maintained a
relationship that was cordial but rather unusual: they continued living
under the same roof and sharing their dreams in the same bed, hoping to
produce as lovers the child they had not been able to have as a married
couple. It seemed impossible. Elizabet would conceive but miscarry in
the first four months of pregnancy. After seven miscarriages, the child
they had longed for was born. They had decided on a unique name for him:
Elián, composed of the first three letters of Elizabet and the last two
letters of Juan.
Elizabet was 28 years old when she left with the boy for Miami. She was
an amiable and hard-working chief housekeeper at a hotel in Varadero.
Her father says that at the age of 14 she was already in love with Juan
Miguel González, and married him when she was 18. "We were like brother
and sister," says Juan Miguel, a calm, deliberate man who works as a
cashier. After their divorce, Juan Miguel and Elizabet continued living
together with their son in Cárdenas -- where all the protagonists in
this drama were born, and where they lived -- until she fell in love
with Lázaro Rafael Munero, a neighborhood tough. Juan Miguel
subsequently married Nelsy Carmeta and had a son, who is now 6 months
Juan Miguel did not have to waste time finding out where Elián was,
because in the Caribbean everybody knows everything -- "even before it
happens," as one of my informants told me. Everyone knew that the leader
of the adventure was Lázaro Munero, who had made at least two
clandestine trips to the United States to prepare the way. He had the
contacts and nerve to take along not only Elizabet and her son, but also
a younger brother, his father, who was over 70, and his mother, who was
recovering from a heart attack. Lázaro's partner in the enterprise took
his entire family. At the last moment, because each of them paid $1,000,
three more people came on board: 22-year-old Arianne Horta, her
5-year-old daughter, Esthefany, and Nivaldo Vladimir Fernández, the
husband of one of her friends.
An infallible formula for being well-received as an immigrant in the
United States is to be shipwrecked in her territorial waters. Cárdenas
is a good departure point: it is close to Florida, and its coves are
protected by mangrove swamps. Moreover, the regional art of making small
craft for fishing in the nearby Zapata Swamp and Del Tesoro Lagoon
provides raw materials for illegal boats, in particular the aluminum
pipes used for irrigating citrus groves. People say that Munero must
have spent some $200 and an additional 800 Cuban pesos on the motor and
the boat's construction. The result was a kind of lifeboat, with no roof
and no seats. Three inner tubes were put on board as life preservers for
14 people. There was no room for more. Before they left, most of the
passengers injected themselves with Gravinol to prevent seasickness.
It appears they set out on Nov. 20 but had to go back when the motor
broke down. They remained hidden for two days, waiting for it to be
repaired, while Juan Miguel thought his son was already in Miami. This
first emergency convinced Arianne Horta that the risks were too great
for her daughter, and she decided to leave her with her family, to be
brought over later by a safe route. It has been said that Elián also
became aware of the dangers of the crossing and screamed to be left
They finally set off at dawn on the 22nd, with favorable seas but a
wretched motor. The stories the survivors recounted in the Florida press
after their rescue, and expanded on in phone calls to their families in
Cárdenas, revealed terrifying details. According to them, at midnight on
the 22nd, the men in charge dismounted the hopeless motor and dropped it
in the ocean to lighten the weight. But the unbalanced boat flipped over
on its side, and all the passengers fell into the water. This may have
broken the fragile soldering on the aluminum pipes and caused the boat
It was the end, in darkness and an inferno of panic. The older people
who did not know how to swim probably drowned immediately. The Gravinol,
which causes drowsiness, must have worked against most of them. Arianne
and Nivaldo clutched at one inner tube; Elián, and perhaps his mother,
held onto the other. Nobody knows what happened to the third. Elián can
swim, but Elizabet could not, and she may have let go in her confusion
and terror. "I saw when Mama got lost in the ocean," the boy would later
tell his father on the phone. What is difficult to understand, though it
deserves to be true, is that she had the presence of mind and the time
to give the boy a bottle of fresh water.
His information was erroneous, but Juan Miguel had a premonition of the
tragedy. He called his uncle several times -- Lázaro González has lived
in Miami for years -- and asked about clandestine arrivals or recent
shipwrecks, but was told nothing. At last, at dawn on Thursday, Nov. 25,
the news broke in a sequence of events. The body of an older woman was
discovered on the beach by a fisherman. Later, Arianne and Nivaldo were
found alive. Not long afterward a small boy appeared in the water off
Fort Lauderdale, unconscious and badly sunburned, lying across an inner
tube, face up. It was Elián, the last survivor.
When he heard the news, Juan Miguel was determined to speak to the boy
on the phone but did not know where he was. On Nov. 25 a doctor in Miami
called him to ask about Elián's medical history. Juan Miguel learned to
his great joy that Elián himself had given his father's name in the
hospital, and his phone number and address in Cárdenas.
The next day Juan Miguel talked to Elián. Troubled, but in a steady
voice, Elián told his father he had seen his mother drown. He also said
he had lost his backpack and school uniform, which Juan Miguel
interpreted as a symptom of his disorientation. "No, Baby," he said.
"Your uniform is here, and I have your backpack ready for when you come
home." But it is possible that Elián had had another pack at his
mother's house, or that one had been bought for him so he would not
insist on returning to his house. His fondness for school, as well as
his desire to return to class, were clearly demonstrated a few days
later, when he told his teacher on the telephone, "Take good care of my
From the earliest calls, Juan Miguel realized that someone in Miami was
disrupting his conversations with his son. "You should know that from
the very beginning they've done everything they could to sabotage us,"
he told me. "Sometimes they shout at the boy while we're talking, or
turn the volume all the way up on television cartoons, or put a candy in
his mouth so it's hard to understand what he's saying." These kinds of
stratagems were also suffered in person by Raquel Rodríguez and Marcela
Quintant, Elián's grandmothers, during their turbulent trip to Miami.
Their visit with him, scheduled to last two days, was reduced to 90
minutes, with all kinds of intentional interruptions, and they said they
spent no more than a quarter of an hour alone with Elián. They returned
to Cuba shocked at how much he had changed. "This isn't the same boy,"
they said, saddened by the timidity of a child they remembered as
lively, intelligent, and with a remarkable talent for drawing. "We have
to save him!"
Nobody in Miami seems to care about the harm being done to Elián's
mental health by the cultural uprooting to which he is being subjected.
At his 6th birthday party, celebrated on Dec. 6 in his Miami captivity,
his hosts took a picture of him wearing a combat helmet, surrounded by
weapons and wrapped in the flag of the United States, just a short while
before a boy of his age in Michigan shot a classmate to death with a
In other words, the real shipwreck of Elián did not take place on the
high seas, but when he set foot on American soil.
Gabriel Garcia Marquez, the Nobel laureate in literature, is the author,
most recently, of "News of a Kidnapping." Edith Grossman translated this
article from the Spanish.
If you read this article without a critical mind, you will conclude:
1. Elián and his father are very close to each other.
2. He lived every day with both parents after the divorce. Even under the same roof for a number of months after the divorce.
3. His parents shared the same bed after the divorce.
4. Somehow the father found time to impregnate another woman about 15 months ago and she is now his wife.
5. Apparently this caused the mother of Elián to seek another bed and she gets to feed and care for Elián part of the time- perhaps while the father works.
6. Picking the son up at midday at school is apparently the point for ‘hand-off’ of the child.
7.Although others report that the father knew of the plan for the mother and son to leave some ten days before hand, this story protects the father by noting that he was surprised at school to find the boy gone!
8. The calls to the uncle in FL were somehow possible for the father to make. Maybe he got the number from Elián when the boy called from the hospital?
9. No word is given as to why the father is too busy to go to FL to get his son? Perhaps he thinks that his country is at war with the U.S. and he will be jailed if he goes?
10. Maybe the story is not telling how Castro may be more than orchestrating protest marches?
Meanwhile, back at the farm....or at the Uncle’s home in FL, the INS has required a signed document to allow the boy to avoid being confiscated somehow while his case goes to a faster than normal appeal process. The Uncle may sign but under duress, and wait to see. It will show the world that the INS is trying hard to avoid further difficulty after it wins the court appeals.The family wants to avoid such, but will probably give this so-called guarantee. Don’t count on it to be honored without a legal fight!
Be prepared for the exciting next chapter!
Here it is!
Fidel Castro has been bombarding Cuba TV with 3-5 hours a day of coverage of his campaign for Elián!
Here are two stories via the media that tell what he wants you to read:
Visa for Cuban Boy's Father Hits Snag
By GEORGE GEDDA
.c The Associated Press
WASHINGTON (March 30) - A procedural snag today prevented the American lawyer for Elian Gonzalez's father from applying for visas for the father and other family members to travel to the United States, a State Department official said.
Gregory Craig, who represents Juan Miguel Gonzalez, went to the State Department and was informed by an official that applications had to be submitted to the U.S. diplomatic mission in Havana.
Craig had hoped to get State Department approval for a U.S. visit by the father, his wife, 6-month old son and National Assembly President Ricardo Alarcon, a specialist on U.S. issues.
Craig visited the State Department shortly after telling reporters of his intention to ''submit formal applications'' for the visas. According to officials, Craig submitted a letter requesting the visas and not visa applications.
''The only person that has the legal and moral authority to speak for Elian Gonzalez is his father,'' Craig said. ''Juan Miguel Gonzalez is ready at a moment's notice to come to the United States.''
Craig said Elian's father would travel to the United States as soon as he is assured that he will be given custody of his son. ''The time has come for the INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service) to make those assurances,'' he said.
The attorney said U.S. officials had negotiated patiently with the boy's Miami relatives to arrange a prompt, orderly transfer of custody to the father. ''We fear that the negotiations have failed,'' he said.
The government has demanded that the boy's Miami relatives agree to surrender Elian if they lose their court fight to keep him. Both sides met for five hours late Wednesday, then resumed talking this morning. There was no comment from either side today.
Late Wednesday, the INS delayed the revocation of Elian's temporary residency status 24 hours, until 9 a.m. Friday.
When Juan Miguel Gonzalez receives word that he will be able to take custody of his son, Craig said, he also would seek permission to allow the boy's classmates, teacher and doctors to travel to the United States to ''help smooth the transition.''
The attorney also accused the Miami relatives of exploiting the boy's case in the media.
''The circumstances that now surround Elian's life in Miami, including the decision to allow camera crews into Elian's bedroom, the decision to permit a network news program to film a two-day interview with Elian without the father's permission, and the decision just last night to parade Elian in front of demonstrators in the streets of Miami, make it clear that Elian's best interests lie with his father,'' Craig said.
Elian has been living with his great-uncle, Lazaro Gonzalez, who has said he would be willing to release Elian to his father if Juan Miguel Gonzalez came to Florida from Cuba. He said he would not deliver the boy to the INS.
Apparently calling the great-uncle's bluff, Cuban President Fidel Castro said Wednesday that not only would the father go to the United States, he would stay for the entire court process as the Miami relatives appeal federal orders to surrender custody of the boy.
It was the first time anyone has said the father was ready to come to the United States immediately and stay for the court fight.
''The passports are ready,'' Castro said. ''And of course the airplane is ready.''
The Cuban government today issued a list of 31 people who would accompany Juan Miguel Gonzalez, including his wife and their 6-month-old son - Elian's half brother. It also included Ricardo Alarcon, president of Cuba's National Assembly and Castro's point man on American affairs, who was listed as an ''adviser.''
At her weekly news conference in Washington, Attorney General Janet Reno said that if Gonzalez comes to the United States, one option would be to move the boy to his custody in this country while the appeals court considers the case. Other than that, she quickly added, ''I don't do what-ifs.''
Castro has proposed that Elian and his Cuban relatives stay at the home of the chief of the Cuban Interests Section in Washington. Other members of the delegation would stay with other Cuban diplomats based in the city, he said.
Meanwhile, the head of Cuba's diplomatic mission in Washington, Fernando Remirez, met today with State Department officials to discuss the possibility of Gonzalez's visit. Speaking briefly with reporters after the meeting, Remirez said no visas had been requested for the group as yet.
Since the international dispute over Elian erupted after the boy was rescued at sea more than four months ago, Gonzalez has been reluctant to travel to the United States to claim his child. The boy's mother, who was divorced from Elian's father, was among 11 people who died when their boat sank during the journey from Cuba to the United States.
Then on 3-31-00 this news:
Elian Dad's Visa Attempt Hits Snag
By ALEX VEIGA
.c The Associated Press
MIAMI (AP) - A request by Elian Gonzalez's father to come to the United States may be complicating custody negotiations between the boy's Miami relatives and the U.S. government.
Armando Gutierrez, a spokesman for the relatives, said the strategy by Elian's father was ``harming'' talks with the Immigration and Naturalization Service, which have ended for the week with no agreement. He did not elaborate.
``Like the family, we are monitoring developments concerning the possible arrival of Juan Miguel Gonzalez in the United States,'' Miami INS director Robert Wallis said late Thursday.
While the future home of the 6-year-old boy remains unclear, the INS has agreed to hold more talks with his Miami relatives on Monday. The agency wants a written guarantee that they will surrender Elian if they lose their court battle to keep him in the United States.
The INS said it would revoke the boy's residency status but twice this week backed away from a deadline. Still, dozens of anti-Castro activists linked arms outside the boy's Miami home Thursday, practicing resistance techniques.
``We will not let Elian's civil rights be violated,'' said Ramon Saul Sanchez, head of the anti-Castro Democracy Movement.
Elian was rescued in November after the boat carrying him and his mother sank during a voyage to reach the United States. His mother, who was divorced from his father, died along with 10 others.
Since then, the boy has been the subject of custody fight between the governments of both nations, which want to return him to his father in Cuba, and Miami relatives who say he will have a better life here.
The boy's father asked for a visa Thursday to come from Cuba to the United States. Gregory Craig, a Washington-based lawyer representing the boy's father, said his client is ready to take custody of his son at a moment's notice.
``The only person that has the legal and moral authority to speak for Elian Gonzalez is his father,'' Craig said.
Craig said he asked the INS to allow the father and other Cuban relatives to stay as long as it takes to complete the court case. A federal appeals court in Atlanta has scheduled arguments for May 11.
Craig said Elian's father will travel to the United States as soon as he is assured by the INS that he will be given custody of his son. The lawyer said he will also seek permission for the boy's classmates, teacher and doctors to travel to the United States to ``help smooth the transition.''
The visa request by Elian's father hit a procedural snag Thursday. State Department officials told Craig visa applications must be submitted to the U.S. diplomatic mission in Havana.
The Cuban government issued a list of 31 people who would accompany Elian's father, including his wife and son - Elian's half-brother. It also included Ricardo Alarcon, president of Cuba's National Assembly and Fidel Castro's point man on American affairs.
In a statement carried by state media Thursday night, Castro's government said the inclusion of everyone on the list, including a dozen of Elian's first-grade classmates, isn't negotiable. The government said each person was ``indispensable for the reinsertion of the child in his family and social environment.''
U.S. officials were examining visa regulations to determine how many of the would-be companions would be eligible to join Elian's father. Strict eligibility limits exist for Cuban visas.
Officials declined to speculate on whether the entourage proposed by Castro would be granted visas.
In Cardenas, a two-hour's drive east of Havana, Elian's classmates were excited about the prospect of a trip to visit their friend in the United States. Parents of the classmates chosen from the trip said they had given their permission for their children to travel.
``When I see Elian I will give him a big hug!'' 6-year-old Hanser Muniz Pedroso, Elian's best friend and deskmate, told Associated Press Television News.
``I'm not scared at all to get on a plane,'' added schoolmate Julio Cesar Cazanas, 6. ``I'm not scared of that country or those people there.''
In another development, Vice President Al Gore broke with the Clinton administration and backed legislation in Congress that would grant permanent resident status to Elian, his father and other relatives in Cuba.
If that were to happen, the boy's fate would be decided by the courts and not by the INS. Gore's presidential rival, Republican George W. Bush, said he supports similar legislation.
Mar 31 update:
From these reports we can see how political the process has been and continues to become. For Castro to announce, as he has power to do, that one of the state’s controlled children, named Elián will be helped, shows how involved he is in this propaganda battle that masquerades as a child family custody fight . He will send an artificial world for Elián to Washington, where his henchmen can monitor some 31 men, women and children that will include the father of Elián, his step mother and the new child of father Juan Miguel Gonzalez.
This clearly shows that children in Cuba belong first to the state and to Castro. Then he allows them to live with their parents or whomever he chooses, if needed. That these folks are all willing to come to Washington for this purpose is automatic. How can they refuse?
Of course Castro thinks that he has a way to showcase his system of a superior way to live. If he can simply ‘persuade’ a six year old boy to say what he wants him to say, Elián will tell CNN and the world that he loves his father, his step-mom and of course the superior way to live in Cuba! Never mind that failure to say all of this means death to the delegation, when it gets back to Cuba. Castro doesn’t spend his limited funds without getting a return. If the delegation escaped and accepted a US supplied permanent visa status, the grandparents in Cuba would pay for their freedom with their lives!
And what is the return on his investment of time, energy and money for this show? First, he wants to ‘showcase’ a way to prove the superiority of his loving system that cares for such a little boy who made such a foolish trip with his mother to Florida. He wants to prove that life in Cuba is superior, even with the embargo that causes such economic hardship. That is pure BS. The embargo is symbolic, not practical.
The folks in Cuba can order anything that they want and can pay for. All they need to do is buy it from some other source that gets it from the U.S. first! To sell, they have the same avenues. The problem is that in Cuba there is nothing to sell but some sugar and that is not worth much.
Only one product can be sold that will make money and help the standard of living in Cuba. It is called tourism. Cuba can not develop such a capacity again until it can attract foreign investment to build not only the toursist facilities but the infrastructure to support the use. All Castro needs to obtain such is for him to lift his embargo on the idea that private ownership of property can be allowed! He will die refusing to believe that such a price can be tolerated in a communist state. He can only believe in central control of all property-and that includes little boys named Elián!
April 4, 2000
The longer this issue runs the more confusing it gets!
Now the INS has backed away from its threat to remove its temporary assignment of rights to the family in Miami as it anticipates giving same to the father, who has finally been told that he is ready to come immediately! Wonder how much notice he gave to his employer for this trip?
Apparently the U.S. government is now considering a plan to put a small delegation of the father, step-mom, step-brother, and a small support group of psychiatrists and doctors into a setting where Elián can be safe while the courts determine his fate and the INS is able to avoid looking like the bad guy that pulls a screaming and kicking boy out of the house where he is staying. Perhaps they can bring the father in to take the boy out to the ‘safe’ house!
If Castro lets this happen, the moment of truth will come soon after the boy’s father and entourage walk into the house to claim their long lost brother and son! Of course, Castro will see to it that only the father makes that entrance! The rest of his family will be held in hostage in the U.S. government provided ‘safe’ home!
Boy, does that put the man in a tough position! He might like to call for political asylum for his family, but they will be in two places at that moment and one of them is guaranteed ‘safe’ for the Cuban leader’s needs. If he doesn’t bring the boy back, his family disappears? If he tries to come with the boy and the boy resists in front of the crowd of Miami Cubans, they will tear the father apart! This story is not over!
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