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ElianWatch Archive: 1.00
Yesterday's report of Elian's grandmothers staying in the U.S. until next week were WRONG. Today, Mariela Quintana and Raquel Rodriguez were greeted by thousands of flag-waving Cubans. The public turned out in response to the communist regime's "request" to give Quintana and Rodriquez a "warm and massive" reception. Later, at a children's show in Havana, Fidel Castro made his presence known.
"Cubans Turn Out to Welcome Tearful Elian Grannies":
The Chicago Tribune has a fairly balanced story examining people on both sides of the Elian case.
"Elian is New Prize in an Old Struggle":
People with little respect for privacy and decency have turned Elian's Miami home into the newest tourist attraction. Some are comparing this to when people visited the place where fashion designer, Gianni Versace was murdered.
I can connect this curiosity with the polls that say large majorities of Americans want Elian sent back to communist Cuba. The public hasn't taken this issue seriously. Many have assumed (wrongly) that with the Cold War won, communism was defeated world-wide. They have forgotten that 90 miles from Florida lies the last totalitarian state in the Western Hemisphere. They have also forgotten what horrible things happen under communist rule. Few know that Cuba's government routinely reads its citizens' mail and listens to their phone conversations; few know about the thousands of informers that spy on fellow Cubans; and few know Cubans can be arrested for any reason. Few know the oppression Cubans live under day-in and day-out. Instead, many simply want to visit Elian's home and catch a glimpse of the latest media-inspired celebrity.
"Gawkers Flock to See where Elian Lives":
Michael Uribe is putting together a visual archive of the Elian Gonzalez story. So far, he has pictures of Elian's Miami relatives outside a federal courthouse, of a memorial to Elian's mother, and of the many demonstrations that have taken place in Miami.
Elian Gonzalez--To Be Free:
Supporters of freedom for Elian are organizing online.ElianShouldStay--Yahoo Club:
Rep. Dan Burton (R-IN), who earlier this month issued a subpoena to prevent Elian's return to Cuba, met with Elian at his home in Miami. Afterward, he said Elian wants to remain in the U.S.
The first question I asked him is how did he like living here and he said he liked it very much as he was blowing bubbles. And then I said 'Would you like to go back to Cuba?' And he was very firm in saying 'No' and this without any coaching.
Of course, Elian's opinion means very little to me. The boy is six-years-old. Even if he didn't need coaching while talking to Burton, that doesn't mean he wasn't coached by his Miami relatives. Elian's wishes are immaterial because he's six-years-old. What is important is Elian's best interests, and it's obvious that living in freedom and prosperity is much better than living under brutal totalitarianism and poverty.
"Rep. Burton: Elian Wants To Stay":
Elian's grandmothers were thought to be going back to Cuba today, but are remaining in the U.S. at least until next week. They have met 50 Congressmen, and their efforts appear to be paying off. Talk of quick passage of legislation that would make Elian a U.S. citizen has gone to the wayside.
U.S. District Judge William Hoeveler has moved up the first hearing date on the federal lawsuit filed by Elian's Miami relatives. The hearing was originally scheduled for 3.6, but has now been moved up to 2.22. Judge Hoeveler was uncomfortable with the appearance that the original date helped Elian's Miami relatives lobby for citizenship for Elian.
"Elian's Grandmothers Delay Departure from U.S.":
The host of Wednesday's meeting between Elian and his grandmothers, Sister Jeanne O'Laughlin went to Washington, D.C. to urge Janet Reno to let Elian stay in the U.S.
"Reno, Nun at Odds on Elian":
Such intense emotion must be wearing thin. Both sides of the dispute are arguing over a cell phone taken away from the grandmothers at their meeting with Elian. Elian's father called it a "lack of humanity." Of course, we don't really know who said it, Juan or his communist handlers.
"Outcry Persists over Elian Reunion":
Fidel Castro has declared that Cubans can keep up their government organized demonstrations for the next 10 years.
"Castro Vows Cuba Will Keep Up Pro-Elian Protests":
I found the Miami Herald's page where they've collected all their stories on Elian Gonzalez--from his rescue by fishermen to the battle for citizenship in Congress.
The Weekly Standard is one of the few media outlets that opposes Elian's return to Cuba. Christopher Caldwell writes,
Rather, it is the way Castroism treats families and children that renders ludicrous the notion that any Cuban father can speak freely about what is best for his son. Family members are Cuban hostages.
Cuban children have a political dossier--the notorious Expediente cumulativo escolar--kept on them from the moment they enter school. It determines whether they are politically reliable enough to go on to higher education or even to hold jobs. And when someone proves unreliable, it is often children who are required to take part in the Cuban state’s Maoist response: an "act of repudiation."
Caldwell goes and defends Elian's mother Elisabet,
Assuming Elisabet wasn’t simply showing her son what sharks look like up close, we have a pretty clear idea of what her wishes were, of course. Perhaps Mrs. Rodriguez has been rendered irrational by grief. But more likely she understands that her daughter was guilty of a counterrevolutionary, unpatriotic "illegal exit," and that she herself is consequently at risk--in a state where "failure to comply with the duty to denounce" is also a crime.
Caldwell then asks that if Castro wins and Elian goes back to Cuba, "by what logic do we block grown men from trading microchips for cigars?" The U.S.'s 30+ year policy on Cuba is at stake, and Castro knows it.
"Elian Should Stay":
U.S. District Judge William Hoeveler set the first hearing date on the federal lawsuit filed by Elian's Miami relatives for 3.6. This will ensure that Elian will remain in the U.S. for the next six weeks.
Sister Jeanne O'Laughlin, the host of Wednesday's meeting between Elian and his grandmothers, thinks Elian should stay in the U.S. "I believe that at this time the best environment for Elian is in the United States," said O'Laughlin. Cuban National Assembly President Ricardo Alarcon attacked O'Laughlin, calling her a "warden." I don't think he would have savaged her if she would have supported Elian's return to Cuba.
"U.S. Judge Sets 6-Week Timetable in Elian Case":
In an interview filed by the U.S. Justice Department, Juan Miguel Gonzalez claims the Miami relatives offered him $2 million dollars for Elian to stay in the U.S. Elian's cousin, Marisleysis Gonzalez denied any offer of payment. "Never did we offer him money," she said. "We would never buy our family. We would never buy anybody because we are the type of family that believes money can't buy people."
"Elian's Dad: I Spurned Payoffs":
Much of the eagerness that was on Capitol Hill this week to make Elian a U.S. citizen has passed. Speaker Hastert (R-IL) said that the bill would have to go through the normal channels of a bill. That means it would have to go to committee before the House of Representatives would vote on it. Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott's (R-MS) staff isn't sure when the bill will come up in the Senate. Call your Congressional representatives and let them know you want Elian to live his life in liberty and not in communist oppression!
"Capitol Hill Wary on Cuban Boy":
The Smoking Gun now has put together a package of Elian/Cuba government documents.
The Smoking Gun's Elian/Cuba documents:
The National Council of Churches (NCC) has been the loudest defender of Elian's return to Cuba. Critics say they're communist sympathizers. NCC officials say their organization works for family reunification. I say what's the point of reunifying if the family remains trapped under the thumb of a brutal dictator like Fidel Castro? Notice that the NCC isn't advocating family reunification in the U.S. Either they really believe Elian would be better off in communist Cuba; or they believe that the U.S. and Cuba are morally equivalent and where Elian's family lives is unimportant.
"Communist Sympathy Leads Group to Help Elian, Critics Say":
Max Castro goes after the anti-Castro element in a piece for Salon.com.
"Milagro in Miami?":
"Ultimately freedom was his mother's wish."
"90 Miles to Freedom - A Mother's Legacy":
The big news today was Elian meeting with his grandmothers Raquel Rodriguez and Mariela Quintana. The meeting took place at the home of the president of Barry University and was supervised by two nuns. The meeting was ordered by the INS after yesterday's aborted meeting. Rodriquez and Quintana hugged and kissed Elian and showed him a photo album and sketches from his classmates in Cuba. Unlike yesterday's attempted meeting, only 50 protesters were near the home, with police maintaining their distance.
There is a high level of mistrust on all sides. Sister Jeanne O’Laughlin, president of Barry University had to prove again and again that her home would be safe from any attempted abduction of Elian by his grandmothers. She had to show the Miami relatives "that windows couldn’t be opened, that doors couldn’t be opened, that there were no disappearing trap doors." Miami police were prepared to throw nightsticks in the jet engines of Rodriquez's and Quintana's plane if they tried to take Elian.
There was good reason for police to worry. According to a Miami Herald story Miami-Dade police questioned a Cuban diplomat near the grandmothers' jet yesterday who was overheard talking to Ricardo Alarcon, president of the Cuban legislature on a cell phone. Police also spotted "members of [the] INS' so-called grab-and-bag squad, which handles forced repatriations of convicted felons." Who knows what might have happened if Elian met his grandmothers at a neutral location last night. Congress should look into this to see if the INS was planning to capture Elian and throw him on a plane back to communist Cuba.
"Reunion with Elian":
"Reunion at Last":
"Police were Ready to Stop Attempt to Snatch Elian":
CBS has already begun work on the TV movie of Elian's story. Only one problem, they don't know how it will end. Can you say, "pathetic?"
"CBS signs deal for miniseries on Elian drama":
Yesterday, Raquel Rodriguez and Mariela Quintana, Elian's grandmothers flew in and out of Miami but didn't meet with Elian. Rodriquez and Quintana refused to see Elian at his Miami relatives' home and requested a neutral site. The biggest reason the grandmothers didn't see Elian was the 200 people, plus reporters, outside Elian's home. I think it would be a good-faith gesture for Elian's relatives to respect the grandmothers' request for a neutral meeting place. If enough preparations were made, both protesters (on either side) and reporters could be kept away. It's not like the grandmothers would stuff Elian in a sack and fly back to Cuba--the press coverage is too great. I also wouldn't worry about Rodriquez and Quintana convincing Elian to come back to communist Cuba. His Miami relatives should be present at any meeting, and since Elian is only six-years old, what he says shouldn't matter a lot. It should be up to the courts to weigh Elian's wishes with Elian's well-being.
The grandmothers flew to Washington, D.C. to meet with lawmakers today.
On 1.15, the Cuban government orchestrated a march of mothers demanding Elian's return. Yesterday, it was the grandfathers' turn. The rally was in Cuba's National Theater and Elian's paternal grandfather, Juan Gonzalez and Elain's father Juan Miguel Gonzalez were present. Speakers spoke about "the mafia of Miami" that "kidnapped" Elain.
In Washington, D.C., bills were introduced in the House and Senate to grant Elian U.S. citizenship. Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-MS) said debate on the bill could come up as soon as today. A vote in the House won't come until next week. Sen. Connie Mack (R-FL) is sponsoring the Senate bill and Rep. Bill McCollum (R-FL) is sponsoring a House bill. A competing bill sponsored by Reps. Charles Rangel (D-NY) and Ray LaHood (R-IL) calls for Elian's return to Cuba. Then there's another bill sponsored by Rep. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) that would grant Elian permanent residence but not citizenship.
"Grandmothers Leave Miami Without Seeing Elian":
"Grandfathers Rally for Elian":
"House, Senate Move to Make Elian a Citizen":
Mario Garcia, a Cuban refugee himself, writes a passionate letter to Elian:
Please implore your father in Cuba to have your mother's vision and courage. Your dad should not have allowed a dictator to manipulate him into making scripted statements about his feelings for you and your future. Instead, he should have come to the United States to get you or to stay with you here.
"The Ultimate Refugee. A New American":
Glass at neoflux.com makes the case that Elian should be sent back to communist Cuba in order to uphold international law. Glass is entitled to his opinion (I should know, I read it daily.), but I would ask Glass what international law has been violated (or would be violated) if Elian stayed in the U.S.? The INS's decision to send Elian back is based on U.S. immigration law, not some treaty or other form of international law. The INS has stated that Elian cannot apply for political asylum because he is a child and only his father can legally speak for him (and Juan's demanding that Elian return to Cuba).
But suppose that there was some international law that would be violated if Elian remained in the U.S.? I would still support Elian remaining in freedom. Like Glass, I too believe law is needed to keep a civilization coherent. I also believe that sometimes the law must be ignored because it's unjust. It's unjust to take the word of a emotionally-charged father who may (or may not) be being coerced. I would also argue that it's unjust to return a child to a country that treats its people less than dirt. If Elian were Albanian, and the INS wanted to send him back to Serbia, many would be as loud as me in protesting his deportation.
My solution is similar to Joseph Farah's: bring Juan to the U.S. and then let him decide where he and Elian should live?
A Washington Post article includes the letter Elian's grandmothers gave to Attorney General Janet Reno.
"'Frustrated' and Missing Elian":
Both the Cuban American National Foundation (CANF) and a Cuban-American radio broadcaster have offered to set up a meeting between Elian and his grandmothers. According to a Reuters story, the grandmothers will fly back to Cuba Monday afternoon without seeing Elain.
"Cuban American Group Offers to Fly Grandmothers to Miami":
"Grandmothers Could Go Home Without Seeing Elian":
Michael Gonzalez tells a heart-filled story of being forced to join a communist youth group in Cuba. He also explains why the Cuban public is so strongly behind Castro:
In totalitarian systems it takes desperate measures to remain an individual, to have any degree of autonomy even within the most narrowly defined private sphere. Our natural instinct for survival militates against fighting the system; we have to overcome human nature just to resist.
"Elian: Young Pioneer?":
Elian's grandmothers met with Attorney General Janet Reno. In a letter to Reno, the grandmothers want Elian to return to "the normality of life with his father, brother, family, friends at schools, his toys, dog and parrot." Just don't forget the political oppression, the constant surveilance and the lack of any economic opportunities. The grandmothers have not stated any plans to meet Elian in Florida, but Elain's Miami relatives would welcome a visit.
In Cuba, there was another government organized rally (estimated at 150,000 people).
"Elian's Grandmothers Want Him Back":
Joseph Farah has the same solution as I to this whole fiasco: bring Juan Gonzalez to the U.S. and let him decide where he and Elian should live without the cloud of Castro over his head. Farah thinks Juan would opt to stay.
I am so confident that after two weeks all thoughts of returning to Cuba will vanish. Imagine the job offers this guy will get. Imagine the magical time father and son will have at Disney World. Imagine the book and movie deals that will be thrown at them. And, most importantly, imagine the freedom Elian's father will experience for the first time in his adult life during those two weeks.
"What to do with the Cuban Kid":
The National Council of Churches flew Elian's grandmothers into New York City yesterday. Today, they will meet with Attorney General Janet Reno. They will beg that Reno send Elian back to communist Cuba, as well as be allowed to see their grandson. Since Elian's great-uncle has temporary custody, it's up to him whether Elian will see his grandmothers. The Miami relatives have no interst in sending Elian to New York City, but wouldn't mind them coming to Miami.
Judge James Lawrence King who was presiding over the Miami relatives lawsuit against the INS removed himself from the case. A possible scheduling conflict and a possible conflict of interest involving his son appear to be the reasons for the removal.
"Grandmothers to Ask Reno to Speed Elian Return":
"U.S. Plane With Elian Grandmothers Arrives in NY":
AP has a story on the relationship between Elian and his grandmothers. After the divorce of his parents, Elian and his mother Elisabeth lived with her mother Raquel Rodriguez. Elian also spent a lot of time with his father and his mother Mariela Quintana, who is "considered [a] loyal member of the Communist Party."
"Grandmas Important in Elian's Life":
National Review is reporting that legislation making Elian a U.S. citizen will be filed as soon as Monday (1.24). Making Elian a U.S. citizen would make the case a "custody issue, not an immigration issue." Sen. Connie Mack (R-FL) will sponsor the bill with the possibility of Sens. Torricelli (D-NJ) and Robb (D-VA) as co-sponsors.
Why is Cuba such an awful place for Elian? Well, besides the fact that it's a communist dictatorship, it's run by Fidel Castro--a man so self-obsessed with power he fed his own son too much baby formula. He also continued a television interview when his son was in an accident, and the doctors needed his permission to perform surgery. Castro's excuse was "the revolution comes first."
"Castro has a History of Pretending to be a Father":
PRODOS interview with Prof. Edwin Locke:
EDWIN LOCKE: Well, either that or they don't understand how to apply morality in this case. And I think the biggest confusion is the rights of the parents versus the right of the child. The fundamental principles is that the rights of the individual always come first. That's recognized in other cases - like if a child is sexually abused by a parent - he is taken away from the parent - and justifiably so. But they don't seem to grasp that sending somebody to a dictatorship is morally worse than sexual abuse because it's condemning him to a lifetime of slavery.
Elian's grandmothers have been issued visas to come to the United States. They may leave Cuba via a plane chartered by the National Council of Churches who has been talking to Cuban officials for the past few weeks. Whether Elian will be leaving with them soon is not clear. Because Elian's family in Florida is suing the INS to force them to hold a political asylum hearing for Elian.
"Visas for Cuban Boy's Grandmothers":
"Grandmothers of Cuban Boy Poised to Fly to U.S.":
"Elian's Miami relatives sue INS":
In a Washington Times editorial, the paper mentions the 30-plus years of special treatment for Cuban refugees:
Regardless of what the Clinton administration thinks of the law, Cubans are entitled to certain rights under the 1966 Cuban Adjustment Act. Cubans who reach U.S. soil are routinely given U.S. citizenship if that is their wish. Elian's mother gave her life to bring her son to this free country. She clearly wanted Elian to have U.S. citizenship.
No matter what the polls say or how much Castro screams (through those "spontaneous" protests), Elain deserves a hearing in court.
A half dozen organizations, including the Castro-sympathizing National Council of Churches (NCC), demanded that the INS return Elian Gonzalez to communist Cuba. Rev. Joan Brown Campbell of the NCC is appalled that the U.S. Congress would have the audacity to make Elian a U.S. citizen. "Imposing citizenship on people feels a little like imposing religion on people. You don't impose religion, and you don't impose citizenship," said Campbell. What about Castro imposing his communist religion on children and adults in Cuba? Rev. Campbell doesn't mention anything about that.
"Groups Urge Elian's Return to Cuba":
Chris Weinkopf opines:
If Elian Gonzalez had been fleeing Iraq or Apartheid-era South Africa, it is unthinkable that the Clinton Administration would have sent him back to Saddam Hussein or P. W. Botha. But Elian had the bad luck of being born not only into a tyranny, but one that the Clinton Administration considers benign. When he lost his mother and his stepfather, he at least gained his freedom-- now he's set to lose that, too.
"Elian Gonzalez and Fidel's 'Useful Idiots'":
Ricardo Alarcon, president of the Cuban National Assembly has admitted that the Cuban government is behind the massive protests demanding Elian Gonzalez be returned to Cuba. Cuba is orchestrating the protests "because everybody in Cuba is protesting, from the government to the last citizen," said Alarcon. What a surprise! A dictatorship using nationalism to rile up the masses. Is this anger rising spontaneously or is Castro fomenting Cuban nationalism? Oh, how similar these protests have been to the public spectacles in Nazi German, the Soviet Union, and China.
"Cuba Orchestrating Anti-US Protests":
Cuban Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque has gone to Europe seeking support for Elian's return to Cuba. He met with Pope John Paul II Monday (1.17), but nothing was announced regarding Elian.
"Cuban Foreign Minister Seeking European Support for Return of Gonzalez":
I've heard some wonder why we treat Cuba differently than China and Vietnam--both communists countries. In last week's IntellectualCapital.com (1.13), Norberto Santana Jr. writes, "But both China and Vietnam have instituted real and far-reaching economic reforms that bolster an engagement policy from the United States. Cuba has not."
"To Stay or Go?":
What would happen to Elian if he went back to Cuba? Well, Jeff Jacoby writes:
Send Elian back and he will be allowed to live with his father until he is eleven; thereafter he will be sent to work in a farm-labor camp for 45 to 60 days per year.
"If Elian Returns To Cuba, Misery Awaits":
Human Rights Watch has documented how Cuba violates individuals' human rights. For instance, in Cuba you can commit the crime of sedition if you "perturb the socialist order." Cuba also has association laws that prevent communist oppostion groups from forming. Then there's the "surveillance, harassment, and intimidations" of government opponents.
1999 Human Rights Watch report on Cuba:
Cuban officials have given Juan Gonzalez permission to come to Florida and claim Elian. Juan says he want a guaranty that no one will prevent him and Elian from returning to Cuba. This may make any court battle moot, because the INS may just simply bring Juan to Florida and quickly put him and Elian on a plane. End of story. This looks like Castro's finishing move in this international game. Castro's taking his final shot in this battle with the anti-Castro Cuban exiles in Florida. He knows how much Elian means to them, and he would like nothing more than to twist a dagger into their hearts with the helpful hands of the INS and the Department of Justice.
"Father of Cuban Boy Free to Reclaim Son: National Assembly":
U.S. and Cuban officials can't agree on whether they have been talking about Elian's case. The Cubans say talks are taking place, while a U.S. official is quoted as saying, "We are not in negotiations with them." Just remember, this is an administration led by a man who staked his political life on the definition of "is."
"Cuban, U.S. Officials Disagree over Reports of Elian Talks":
Thousands rallied in Havana demanding the return of Elian Gonzalez to Cuba. The rally took place at the street corner where 40 years before, Fidel Castro declared Cuba a socialist state. This follows the rally on 1.14 where thousands of mothers marched to U.S. government offices.
One of Elian's grandmothers has said she'll go to Miami and claim Elian. Juan Gonzalez, Elian's father refuses to come to the U.S.
"Thousands Gather in Havana":
House of Representative Majority Whip Tom DeLay (R-TX) is on board favoring legislation that would grant Elian U.S. citizenship. "As a member of the House leadership, I am fully supportive of doing what is in the best interests of young Elian and moving this bill through Congress when we return," DeLay said."
Ricardo Alarcon, president of Cuba's National Assembly said U.S. authorities do not want Juan Gonzalez to come to the U.S. to claim Elian. "We have gotten the same message from U.S. officials -- in private -- several times that it is not advisable for this man to appear in U.S. territory," said Alarcon. If this is true, I have two questions for the Clinton administration: 1. Have U.S. officials told the Cubans that Juan shouldn't come to the U.S.? 2. Why do U.S. officials not want Juan to come to the U.S. and make his case as to why Elian would be better off returning to communist Cuba?
"Cuban Protests Turn Angry as Elian's Return is Delayed":
Burton Katz makes the standard immigration law case that Elian must be sent back to Cuba. Since, Juan is Elian's only surviving parent, and the INS feels Elian will suffer no persecution if returned to Cuba, Katz says Elian must be reunited with his father. If Elian isn't returned, Katz lumps this "travesty of justice" in the same category as Sacco and Vanzetti; Bruno Hauptman; and the Rosenbergs. I'll agree that Sacco and Vanzetti; and the Bruno Hauptman case were aweful, but the Rosenbergs were tried, convicted, and executed for spying for the Soviet Union. Except for the moral defense of the death penalty where's the travesty there? I will not accept the notion that it is unjust to let Elian stay in a country where he has political and economic freedoms. Sending him back to Cuba would be the real injustice.
"The Law and Elian Gonzales":
Alberto Luzárraga makes the case that because of Cuba's political domination of child rearing, Juan Gonzalez doesn't have "real" parental rights. Luzárraga examines the portions of the Cuban constitution where it states that all educators and institutions must help develop the "communist personality." If Elian did not want to have a communist personality he would be violating the Cuban constitution because it states, "that no rights granted by this constitution can be exercised against the existence of and objectives of the communist state. The infraction of this article is punishable." In Cuba, Elian would be denied the right of free speech and would be processed by Castro's indoctrination machine. Cuba's no place to send a child.
"Elian Should Stay. A Different Legal Approach"
In 1980, Walter Polovchak was in the same situation as Elian. Polovchak wasn't returned to his father in the Ukraine (then part of the Soviet Union). He wants Elian to stay in the U.S. just like he did.
As a defector from communism I plead with my fellow Americans: It is imperative that we allow Elian to remain in America. He must prevail in his struggle to live in freedom, a struggle he has already sacrificed so much for. We cannot turn our backs on this child. We do not fully know the nature of the father-son relationship, and the father is not publicly commenting. So we must be very careful about what fate we are considering for Elian. If Mr. Gonzales is found to be Elian's biological father and if he really wants custody of Elian, the Cuban government should allow him to emigrate to Florida. The Miami area has a million Cubans; one or two more would certainly be welcome.
Well said, Mr. Polovchak
"Let Him Stay--As I Did":
100,000 Cuban mothers marched yesterday demanding Elian be returned to Cuba. Reuters' Andrew Cawthorne wrote, "Both Elian's grandmothers, hundreds of pregnant women, thousands of children, and Castro's sister-in-law, took part in the government-organized march along Havana's picturesque seafront Malecon boulevard." Cawthorne also mentioned how involved the Cuban government is in the protests. "Friday's march was again meticulously organized by the authorities, with buses bringing the women in from homes and workplaces, and march organizers lining them up along the Malecon in carefully choreographed blocks." This isn't some spontaneous uprising by the Cuban people. Sure, there's definitely a lot of sincere nationalism, but it's being stoked by the awesome propaganda machine of Fidel Castro.
"Cuba Mothers March on U.S. Mission in Elian Protest":
A slick, but tiny website has been set up for people to support Elian staying in the U.S.:
Gramna is Cuba's official propaganda, oops, I mean, news agency. Their website claims
Elian has been "kidnapped" and is a "hostage of hatred."
Juan Miguel Gonzalez was interviewed on ABC's "Nightline." The Associated Press has
Bruce Shapiro, writing for Salon.com thinks Cuban-Americans who don't want Elian Gonzalez returned to Cuba need some psychological treatment (like John Rocker?). Why else would he write that they're suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder?
One of the characteristics of post-traumatic stress disorder, psychologists tell us, is the persistent, disguised reenactment of an awful, life-changing event.
Shapiro goes on to attack Rep. Dan Burton (R-ID) for having the audacity to supoena Elian so Elian's relatives in Miami could make their case in court as to why Elian shouldn't be returned to the communist dictatorship 90 miles from U.S. shores. Shapiro thinks Elian would be forced to attack his own father on the stand before Burton's congressional committee. The odd thing is, earlier in his piece, Shapiro admits Burton's supoena is only a delaying tactic to keep Elian in the U.S.
But the most poisonous part of Shapiro's article is the following claim:
And while Cuba remains a lousy place to be an adult dissident, it is a better place than many to be a 6-year-old: a country with 98 percent literacy, universal day care, universal health care and free education through graduate school.
For Shapiro, lack of basic human rights (free speech, religion), and the lack of any real economic opportunity (Cuba ranked 157 out of 161 countries in economic freedom according to the Heritage Foundation) aren't that important for a 6-year-old. If Elian is sent back to Cuba, he will have a father who is or isn't under tremendous pressure from Fidel Castro to tow the political line and only questions of what-if from his several month taste of freedom. He'll have "free education" and no opportunities to apply it too. The real political child abuse would be to send Elian back into the communist den.
"Political Child Abuse":
Attorney General Janet Reno said yesterday that the feds won't deport Elian Gonzalez Friday as originally planned. A future jurisdiction battle in federal court is the reason for the delay.
Presidential candidate Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) blasted Reno's decision to uphold the INS order that would send Elian back to Cuba. McCain said Elian's mother "literally gave her life" so Elian could be free in the U.S. He also added the precedent this would set, "Only criminals up until this time have been returned to Cuba."
"Reno Says Cuban Boy to Go; Miami Kin to Fight":
"McCain Jabs Reno on Cuban Boy, Defends Tax Plan":
Miami-Dade County Judge Rosa Rodriguez yesterday gave interim custody of Elian to his Miami relatives until a March 6 hearing. The ruling pushes back Elian's return to Cuba past the 2.10 date Rep. Dan Burton set for Elian to appear before a congressional committee in Washington, D.C. Judge Rodriguez said, "This court is not powerless to act when confronted with a petition, as the one pending before this court, alleging that the minor child may be subject to serious and unnecessary emotional harm in returning the child to the custodial parent." Being sent back to communist Cuba would definitely cause Elian "serious and unnecessary emotional harm." But it may not stop the INS from sending Elian back to Cuba and instigating a constitutional crisis.
"Florida Judge Says Elian Should Stay in U.S. for Now":
I think some of Elian's supporters are getting a little carried away. A Cuban exile magazine has dubbed him "A Cuban Moses."
"Mania over Elian Rising":
Thomas Sowell finds hypocracy in liberals wanting to reunite Elian with his father because of "parental rights":
Many of those who are arguing most vehemently for sending the boy back, in the name of parental rights, have no track record of concern for parental rights in the United States. Here are the social engineers--the people who want boys given condoms against their parents' wishes and girls given abortions behind their parents' backs--telling us that parental rights are sacred, even when exercised under the duress of a Communist tyranny. Give me a break!
"Big Government for Fidel":
Elian watched a parade in Miami yesterday. Also yesterday, Rep. Dan Burton (R-IN) was on ABC's "This Week." He said that if the courts rule that Elian must be returned to communist Cuba (the only totalitarian nation in the Western Hemisphere), then "we should live with that." Try saying that to the Cuban exiles in Florida. But CNN is reporting that the INS may thumb its nose at Burton's supoena and send Elian back to Cuba. An annonymous INS official told CNN, "It appears the subpoena will have no impact on the ability of INS to carry out its decision."
Since we're a nation of polls, and the only opinion that matters is that of the majority, the American people have decided that Elian Gonzalez should go back to communist Cuba. According to a CNN poll, 56% of respondents want Elian to go back to Cuba and suffer under Fidel Castro's communist dictatorship.
"Exiles Should Accept Court Ruling on Boy -Burton":
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Enter Stage Right is conducting its own poll on Elian's fate.
Rep. Dan Burton (R-Ind) deserves high praise for issuing a subpoena to Elian Gonzalez to testify before Congress next month. This move is in response to an INS ruling that would send Elian back to communist Cuba. Also yesterday, Elian's relatives in Miami filed a petition to appoint a guardian for Elian. It appears the goal of these moves is to stall Elian's return until Congress can pass a bill granting Elian U.S. citizenship. All this is happening while Miami prepares for more protests against Elian's return to Cuba.
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A few thousand people in Miami are a little upset that the INS decided to send Elian Gonzalez back to communist Cuba. Yesterday, protesters blocked roads to show their discontent. Many were arrested as a result. This prompted Lourdes Chao-Navarrete to comment, "There are 11 million people in Cuba in a big jail. If Elian is sent back, he will be going to a big jail." And the jailer is none other than the United States government.
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Yesterday, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) ruled that 6-year old Elian Gonzalez should go back to his father in Cuba. Elian came to the United States last November when he was rescued off Florida's coast. While it has been standard Clinton administration policy to accept any Cuban refugee that reaches U.S. soil, Elian's case is more complicated because his mother and stepfather died during their escape from communist Cuba. Unless a court blocks the INS ruling, Elian will be reunited with this father as soon as 1.14.
I and other anti-communists are not happy with the INS's decision. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Jesse Helms (R-NC) wants Elian's father "to come to the United States to make his case for custody of the boy." He also intends to "proceed with a personal relief bill to give Elian United States citizenship. That way, when he is old enough to make decisions for himself, he will be able to claim the freedom his mother purchased for him with her life."
George W. Bush and Republican National Committee chairman Jim Nicholson want Elian's father to come to the United States. Nicholson's even offered to pay to bring Elian's entire family to the U.S.
Helms, Bush, Nicholson, and I would agree that the United States is, by far, a better place to grow up than Cuba. The freedoms and opportunities we Americans have are luxuries to those living under the oppressive regime of Fidel Castro.
However, others think it's alright for Elian to go back to Cuba. Representative Jose Serrano (D-NY) feels "a parent has the right to be with his child and to make decisions about his child's interests." Representative Charles Rangel (D-NY) also thinks Elian is better off living under communist rule and even offered to escort Elian to his father himself.
Where Serrano and Rangel are wrong is they care more about familial bonds than human liberty. Elian could still be with his father if his father came to live in the U.S. Here, Elian and his father could live together in a country that cherishes liberty and opportunity. Unfortunately, Castro has used this issue to spark Cuban nationalism and anti-American sentiment, so it is unlikely Elian's father would come to the U.S.
Since, that is the situation at hand, the best choice for Elian is to let him remain in the U.S. It's not like he is alone in South Florida. Extended family has been taking care of him since he arrived here two months ago. Elian's mother and stepfather both gave their lives so he could enjoy the freedom and opportunity available in the U.S. If Serrano and Rangel care so much about Elian's best interests and parental rights, they shouldn't forget his mother's dying wish of freedom for her son.
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