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ElianWatch Archive: 3.00
I take a few day of vacation and all hell breaks lose. Let's see if I can get everyone up to speed.
Vice President Al Gore broke from the Clinton administration and wants Elian's case decided in Florida family court. "From the very beginning, I have said that Elian Gonzalez's case is at heart a custody matter," Gore said in a statement. He also supports Congressional action to make Elian and his family U.S. residents. It's obvious that Gore is doing this to keep Florida in play for November's elections, nevertheless, he should be congradulated. Now, to demonstrate his commitment to Elian, he should lobby Democrats on Capitol Hill and within the Clinton administration.
Castro is also making waves. He wants to send a 31-person delegation of relatives, classmates, and psychologists for "recovery and reinsertion of Elian to his family." Greg Craig, Juan Miguel's lawyer, stated that Juan Miguel has applied for a U.S. visa so he can come to the U.S. and fight for his son. Be wary of this development. A big contingent like Castro wants would be filled with government agents who would put pressure on Juan Miguel. Only until Juan Miguel and his family are in the U.S. and free from Castro's coercion will I seriously listen to what Juan Miguel has to say.
"Gore Says Elian Should Be Permanent Resident":
"Elian's Father Prepares to Come to U.S.":
"Cuba Names Mission to Seek Elian in U.S.":
Miami Mayor Alex Penelas, a Democrat, will lay the blame on any violence or unrest over Elian's case on the doorstep of the Clinton White House. "If blood is shed on the streets of this community as a result of what the Justice Department does, yes, I will hold them responsible," said Penelas. He also said that the local police will not help the federal government remove Elian from Lazaro Gonzalez's home.
"Outrage in Miami Over Ultimatum, Mayor Says":
Wednesday night, Cuban-Americans held a prayer vigil chanting "Elian no se va. Lo dijo su mama." (Elian is not leaving. His mother said so.)
"Thousands Join Glowing Prayer Vigil":
For pictures of the many protests taking place in Miami, visit To Be Free.
ABC seems to have backtracked on their initial decision not to air Elian's desire not to go back to Cuba. In an interview with Diane Sawyer, Elian said he didn't want his father to come to the U.S. "because he'll take me to Cuba and I don't want to go to Cuba."
"Questions About Return to Cuba Aired by ABC":
National Review comments:
Now EliŠn Gonzalez must be returned to a father whose feelings and character cannot be known to us, and to the phalanx of secret policemen who ensure that Mr. Gonzalez says and does nothing unscripted. Such is the determination of Janet Reno. Add one to the tally of kids who have suffered and died to advance the career of this latter-day Bluebeard.
"Elian and His Enemies":
Central Floridians are supporting Elian.
Vigil for Elian Gonzalez Held at Lake Eola: 03/29/00:
Matt Drudge reports that President Clinton will call out the National Guard if there is any unrest over Elian in Miami.
Elian's surrogate mother, Marisleysis Gonzalez has been preparing Elian in case he has to go back to Cuba. "Iíve never told him to stay here. Iíve always told him otherwise," Marisleysis Gonzalez told ABCís Good Morning America.
"Elianís Cousin Speaks Out":
ABC didn't broadcast Elian saying he wants to stay in the U.S. "But in this inflamed climate, on this inflamed subject, we thought it best not to broadcast the exact words of a 6-year-old child," said Diane Sawyer who spent two days with Elian. ABC News president David Westin said, "We've said from the beginning that we're not going to do this in a political way. We're not trying to take a position in a highly-charged political atmosphere. We are simply trying to report Elian's point of view." Westin also said Elian's words would have been used by pro-Elian supporters to make their case that Elian should remain in the U.S.
But ABC was a network that aired (all or a portion of) President Clinton's grand jury testimony in 1998. His questioning of the meaning of the word "is" was plastered across the media. While saying ABC wasn't "trying to take a position," not airing Elian's desires was taking a position. If Elian had said that he wanted to go back to Cuba, would ABC have aired that? I honestly don't know.
"ABC Won't Broadcast Elian Interview":
The possibility of Elian being sent back to Cuba has invigorated protesters. Police and city officials are preparing for demonstrations or something worse.
"Grass-roots Support for Elian Takes on a Defiant Tone":
Monday, a crowd gathered around Elian's home to prevent either the Justice Department or the Cuban government from taking Elian. While Elian's relatives have filed their appeal, they haven't agreed to Janet Reno's condition that Elian be quickly given away should they lose. The government responded, "That being so, the INS is under no obligation to maintain the current arrangement." Elian could be returned to Cuba at any time, no matter what the status of his appeal. They won't do it because of the confrontation with Cuban Americans it would provoke.
Elian's relatives have also allowed more media access. ABC's Dianne Sawyer spent two days with Elian. The child doesn't want to acknowledge the death of his mother. Lazaro also allowed television cameras to film a form in a mirror he claims is the Virgin Mary.
"Tensions Rise Over Cuban Boy":
"Elian Recounts Boat Sinking, but Suggests He Doesn't Believe His Mother Really Die":
The Justice Department said unless Elian's relatives agree to give him up if they lose their appeal, they will revoke Elian's permission to stay in the U.S. Thursday. Elian's lawyer, Spencer Eig responded, "They are nit-picking to try to find an excuse to forcibly deport Elian, and I donít think thatís fair."
It's not fair, but the Clinton administration doesn't seem to care about what's best for Elian. Their capitulation to Castro is just another in a string of kowtowing to Communists as I've shown in my recent article for Enter Stage Right.
"U.S.: Elianís family Must Comply":
"Coddling Communist Trumps Boy's Freedom":
A Washington Times editorial notice the about-face of the INS.
In a Dec. 1 statement, the INS had said "Although the INS has no role in the family custody decision process, we have discussed this case with State of Florida officials who have confirmed that the issue of legal custody must be decided by its state court. However, Elian will remain in the U.S. until the issues surrounding his custody are resolved." The Justice Department has since stripped family courts of jurisdiction over Elian.
Why the change? The INS hasn't given an answer, and no one has pressed them on the question.
The Justice Department has set a deadline for noon today for Elian's Miami relatives to accept their offer of an accelerated appeals process. If the relatives don't agree, the Justice Department will being proceedings to return Elian to Cuba.
"INS Extends Deadline in Elian Case":
The U.S. government has threatened to immediately send Elian back to Cuba unless Lazaro Gonzalez agrees to an accelerated appeals process. Kendall Coffey, one of Elian's lawyers said they would agree with the fast-track appeal option.
Yesterday, the government rejected a plan to send Elian's case to an arbitrator. INS Commissioner Doris Meissner said, "There is no place, in this situation, for a panel of arbitrators. Our goal here is to reunite Elian Gonzalez (with his father) and to do that as quickly, promptly, and orderly as possible."
"US Government Toughens up on Elian Case":
"Government Rejects Elian Arbitrator":
Any action by the government will not sit well with Florida's Cuban community. While mass protests have occurred in weeks, a forced return of Elian could light a fire of civil disobedience or violent confrontation.
"Speedy or Not, Elian Case Is Headed for Showdown":
Cathy Young doesn't want Elian returned to Cuba. She remembers her own experience as "state property" in the Soviet Union.
"Well, I remember the feeling of growing up state property in the Soviet Union. And it's a feeling that, despite my sadness about his separation from his father, I can't wish on EliŠn."
"Why EliŠn should stay in the U.S.":
Elian's relatives and lawyers hit the airwaves to respond to Judge Moore's ruling.
"We think the judge made the best decision that he thought was right, but we are very disappointed. We will go all the way to see who can help us keep this boy in this free country where his mom wanted him to be," said Elian's cousin Georgina Cid Cruz.
"Elian Gonzalez's U.S. Relatives Question Ruling that would Return Him to Cuba":
Michael Uribe continues to offer close-up coverage of Elian's struggle. He's posted a photo of the media onslaught after Judge Moore's ruling Tuesday. I urge you to make it a habit to visit To Be Free after reading the latest at ElianWatch.
Elian's lawyers and government officials have been negotiating some solution to this ordeal.
"We're maintaining a dialogue with the Department of Justice, and I think everyone agrees that it's important we continue that dialogue," said Kendall Coffey, one of Elian's lawyers.
The government refuses to concede that Elian should be returned to his father in communist Cuba. Elian's lawyers have been trying to get a promise that no attempt will be made to return Elian to Cuba until all legal actions have taken place.
The Miami Herald story brought up a new wrinkle in this case. Sen. Torricelli (D-NJ) has been mediating in this dispute. He also seems sympathetic to pleas that Elian should have an asylum hearing. "It's regrettable that this case is now being resolved in the courts over legal technicalities without exposing conditions in Cuba or exploring whether the father is acting out of free will," Torricelli said.
"Sides in Elian Case Talking":
I must respond to an editorial by the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. The paper applauds Judge Moore's ruling saying, "it long has been obvious that the judge could rule no other way." The editorial also praised the INS for "thoroughly" investigating Elian's Cuban situation.
Two interviews with Juan Miguel after Castro started using Elian's story to lift up anti-American feelings in Cuba don't cut it for a thorough investigation. People like G.W. Bush, Vice President Al Gore, and Sen. Torricelli have questioned Juan Miguel's free will in the whole affair. We suspect the wrath of Fidel Castro is weighing down on Juan Miguel everytime he demands his son's return.
Along with praise for Judge Moore and the investigative prowess of the INS, the editorial urged all sides to "yield gracefully and in Elian's best interest." For the Star-Tribune, the what's best for Elian is to return him to a prison island where speech is silenced, dissent is illegal, and where children are wards of the state. Many in Minnesota refer to the Star-Tribune as the "Star and Sickle." This allusion to the now-defunct Soviet Union's Hammer and Sickle flag is fitting. The editors think Elian would be better off in a former satellite of the Soviet Union than living under the Stars and Stripe.
"Editorial: Elian: The Boy Should Go Home, Soon":
Sens. Mack (R-FL) and Graham (D-FL) want to wait for all judicial proceedings to happen before really pushing for Congress to grant Elian citizenship. "[M]y instinct is were not going to move on the legislative front until the judicial options have played out," said Mack. Graham added, "While we are a nation of laws and must respect today's decision, the judicial process with regard to this case is not yet complete. It is my strong hope that Elian will have an opportunity to make his case before a judge with experience in applying the best-interest-of-the-child standard."
"Citizenship Action Remains on Hold":
G.W. Bush and Al Gore agree on at least one thing: they both want Elian's case handled in Florida family court. Bush said, "I urge Attorney General Janet Reno to reconsider her plans to send Elian back to Cuba, back to the place his mother died trying to escape. This case should be decided by a Florida family court, which will protect the best interests of Elian, not by a Clinton-Gore Justice Department whose record of putting politics ahead of the law does not inspire confidence."
Al Gore has departed from the Clinton/Reno decision to send Elian back to Cuba. Gore even questions Juan Miguel Gonzalez's decision to demand Elian's return. "The father is not free to speak his true mind. What is his true feeling? The child should never have been put in a position where the choice is his freedom or his father. The real fault here lies with Fidel Castro," said Gore.
Gore should put his money where his mouth is and push the INS to allow the case to be settled in family court. He should also push to bring Juan Miguel and his family to the U.S. so he can decide what's best for Elian free from Castro's coercion.
"Elian's Future is up to Reno, Judge Says":
Elian's lawyers have filed a notice of appeal with the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta. Lazaro has vowed to take this case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary.
"Elian Relatives Fight Judge's Ruling":
In an editorial, the Miami Herald thinks the INS is a lousy institution to decide Elian's fate. "It is inconceivable that Elian's future can be determined under immigration law when his case is clearly a custody battle between relatives who love him. Such cases belong in domestic courts where parents can freely assert their claims," said the editorial.
It also questions Juan Miguel's free will. "We cannot accept as sufficient that an INS agent in Cuba decided that Mr. Gonzalez was able to speak freely during an interview last December. The entire weight of Castro's government leaned upon him that day and leans upon him still."
Although the piece didn't overtly argue that Elian stay in the U.S., the last paragraph offered an great reason not to return Elian: "In Cuba, the parent is the state. Therein lies the tragedy.
"Existing Law Doesn't Deliver Justice":
Elian suffered a major setback in his quest to stay in the U.S. U.S. District Judge Michael Moore threw out Lazaro Gonzalez's asylum request for Elian and let stand Janet Reno's decision to return Elian to his father in Communist Cuba.
In his ruling, Judge Moore wrote:
The determination to grant asylum is a matter within the discretion of the Attorney General. She has decided the issue of who may speak for Plaintiff, and her decision, by statute and in the exercise of congressionally delegated discretion, is controlling as a matter of law. A judicial review of the exercise of that discretion by the undersigned has found no abuse that would warrant a contrary conclusion.
Dicken's was right when he wrote, "If the law supposes that, the law is a ass--a idiot."
An appeal will be filed. "Elian has not had his day in court," said Spencer Eig, Elian's lawyer.
It's a sad day, but hope isn't lost. While appeals may delay Elian's return, his best hope is with the U.S. Congress. Write and call your Congressmen and Senators and tell them to support S. 1999. This bill would make Elian a U.S. citizen. Then it would be out of the hands of Janet Reno and become a pure custody case where Elian's best interests would be decided.
"U.S. Judge Backs Ruling That Cuba Boy Return Home":
"Despite Ruling, Elian Still in Limbo":
"Judge Dismisses Political Asylum Lawsuit Filed on Behalf of Elian":
"Reno: Elian Must Be Reunited With Father Promptly":
Elian's father and grandparents made a rare public appearance in Cardenas, Elian's hometown. They have been spending much of their time in Havana, two hours to the west.
"Elian's Father and Grandparents Make Rare Public Appearance":
Many in Miami are watching the Baby Khalil case because of its similar international flavor.
"Baby Khalil Custody Fight May Set Precedent for Elian":
Elian's story is even playing in South Africa. Stephen Mulholland writes:
More recently almost 200 ANC members of Parliament passed a resolution in support of Cuba's efforts to have a six-year-old boy, Elian Gonzalez, returned from Florida to his father in Cuba. The boy was rescued by US naval forces who found him floating on a tube after his mother and stepfather drowned in a bid to flee Cuba. Elian is with family members in Miami where he is forced, as the Leninist admirer Christine Qunta put it in Business Day recently, to attend a private school.
"Our Government Suffers from Ideological Schizophrenia":
Georgie Ann Geyer writes about the spiritual symbolism of Elian. Many in the Cuban-exile community see him as a sort-of Moses. Geyer says Castro needs to win this battle to keep Cuban spiritual leaders on his side.
"Little Elian Has Become a Mystical Symbol for Two Cuban Communities":
Castro's propaganda machine, Granma, is lashing out at Lazaro Gonzalez and his family for preventing Juan Miguel from speaking to Elian. "The methods used by the sadly celebrated great-uncle Lazaro Gonzalez and his nuclear family to impede and block (the calls) are increasingly more cruel and cynical," Granma said. Family spokesman, Armando Gutierrez denied the allegations. "I've been there, I've seen him talk to his father for long periods of time," said Gutierrez.
"Cuba Chides Elian's Fla. Family":
Granma criticized a radio fundraiser that raised $200,000 to defray legal costs for Lazaro's family. "While the money runs, the shamelessness grows among the opportunists and their patrons," wrote the Communist rag.
Communists can't comprehend people voluntarily giving money for a cause. They think it would be best if all the money was controlled by the government and then distributed. Such an outpouring is alien to them.
"Cuba Criticizes Fund Raiser for Elian's Family's Cegal Costs":
"Funding the Fight for Elian":
U.S. government lawyers have reformulated their argument that Elian should not receive an asylum hearing. They argue that since Juan Miguel didn't request a hearing for Elian Janet Reno doesn't have to consider a hearing. How this differs from their previous argument that the INS rejected Elian's asylum petition because Juan Miguel didn't request it, I don't know. If there are any immigration lawyers out there who can explain this, please email me.
"Elian's dad Never Requested Asylum for Boy, Lawyers Say":
Newsweek covered last week's Senate hearings and focuses on the rift in the Gonzalez family.
"The EliŠn Family Feud":
Lawyers watching Elian's case think Judge Moore will order an asylum hearing for Elian. He made some pointed questions toward government lawyers and said, "I think it's conceded that the federal court has jurisdiction of an asylum claim." This bodes well for Elian. However, any ruling will probably be appealed. This legal process will take months. At least that will keep Elian living in freedom for that much longer.
"Elian Judge Casts Doubt on Case":
Michael Urbide continues to publish great pictures documenting the events down in Miami. He has posted some pictures of pro-freedom supporters outside of the federal court house in Miami.
Cubans are surprised that Judge Moore didn't make a ruling yesterday. I guess they're used to rigged courts issuing pre-determined decisions.
"Cubans Surprised by Court's Delay":
When Judge Moore makes his decision, it will be available on the Internet.
Marisleysis Gonzalez didn't attend Thurday's hearing. She was again in the hospital.
"Illness Keeps Cousin from Elian Hearing":
According to David Kidwell of the Miami Herald, Judge Moore "is viewed by South Florida lawyers as a low-key jurist who is solid on the law, rules with little fanfare, and seldom says much from the bench."
"Judge Moore Seen as Solid, Low-key, a Man of Few Words":
Thursday, Judge Moore heard arguments on whether Elian should be allowed an asylum hearing. Lawyers for Elian's Miami relatives argued that Elian has a constitutional right to a hearing. INS lawyers argued that only Juan Miguel Gonzalez could speak for Elian, and he wants his son sent back to Cuba. Judge Moore did not make any ruling at yesterday's hearing.
"Lawyers on Both Sides of Elian Case Argue in Court":
"Miami Family of Elian has Day in Court":
"Judge Considering Elian case":
Greg Craig, who represented President Clinton during his impeachment trial, is the new lawyer for Juan Miguel Gonzalez. Such a high-priced lawyer does not come cheap. So Castro is spending a pretty penny.
"Former Clinton Lawyer to Represent Elian's Father":
Reuters needed an Internet angle on Elian's story. Jim Loney wrote about some of the websites arguing for and against Elian's return to Cuba. Unfortunately, there's no mention of ElianWatch. :-(
"Cuban Boy's Tale Is a Rage on the Internet":
Marisleysis Gonzalez, Elian's cousin who has become his surrogate mother, entered the hospital Sunday (3.5). "She's having problems with her nerves," said her father Lazaro. This woman has expended so much emotional energy pleading with anyone that Elian should stay in freedom. Keep Marisleysis and the rest of the Gonzalez family in your thoughts and prayers.
"Cousin Caring for Elian Hospitalized for Stress":
Last week's Senate hearing persuaded Sen. Leahy (D-VT) to the correct position of having Juan Miguel Gonzalez and his family come to the U.S. where he can decide in freedom where Elian should live.
"For the sake of Elian":
Elian's great-uncle and temporary guardian Lazaro Gonzalez denies he sexually abused children when he still lived in Cuba. "If (the allegations) were true, why didn't they present charges against me when I was in Cuba?" said Lazaro. The charges came from Fidel Castro himself.
"Elian's Great-uncle Denies Child Abuse Allegations by Castro":
Yesterday, the U.S. Senate held hearings on Elian's case. Marisleysis Gonzalez, Elian's second cousin and surrogate mother, tearfully testified that Elian needed stability. She also told the committee that Elian's father Juan told her, "I appreciate everything that you are doing for my son. . . . Do you understand what I'm trying to tell you?" The implication being that Juan really wants Elian to stay in the U.S.
Also testifing, was Fidel Castro's daughter Alina Fernandez who strongly criticized those who want Elian returned to Cuba. "What surprises me the most about this entire case [is] . . . that a dictator from a totalitarian state without any respect for the rule of law, that does not safeguard or protect individual rights, receives the protection and respect of a law-abiding society like the United States," Fernandez said. "In Cuba, the terms `paternal rights' or `freedom of expression' are meaningless."
Elian's great-uncle Manuel Gonzalez continued to support Elian's repatriation to Cuba. "Every child needs his father, regardless of where he is, so the child might follow the right path," said Manuel.
Sen. Connie Mack (R-FL), sponsor of legislation that would make Elian a U.S. citizen sat on the committee. He said the hearing was needed to let Congress learn more about this complex case. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) thought the hearing was useless because the case "has already been inappropriately politicized." Leahy wants Elian returned to Communist Cuba.
"Relatives Pitch Views on Elian to Congress":
The hearing originally scheduled for last week will take place 3.9. At the hearing, Judge K. Michael Moore will decide whether to throw out Lazaro Gonzalez's lawsuit or allow it to continue.
"Hearing on Federal Suit will be Held March 9":
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