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ElianWatch Archive: 4.00

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Thousands demonstrated against last week's Easter Raid. Local radio talk show host Armando Perez-Roura likened the attack to the betrayal of Cuban freedom fighters at the Bay of Pigs almost 40 years ago.

There was also another demonstration supporting the raid along with an airplane pulling a banner that said, "America, love it or leave it -- comprende?"

I am deeply proud of the Cuban-American community. Today's peaceful march demonstrates this group's love of justice and liberty. They have struggled for over 40 years to bring the light of freedom to the dark, prison island many of them use to call home. Cuban-Americans realize that while the U.S. did beat the Soviet Union, the Cold War wasn't a complete victory. It is even more impressive to see how this community stands up to the majority of their fellow citizens who supported Bill Clinton's and Janet Reno's acts of cowardess and arrogance. When people are profiting from their 401(k)'s and are not taught enough history, it's easy to ignore the horrible acts perpatrated 90 miles from U.S. shores and the devious capabilities of a Communist dictator.

The struggle against totalitarian Communism must continue until freedom is allowed to thrive in Cuba and Fidel Castro's brutal, thuggish regime is fully discredited. If Elian cannot live in freedom in the U.S., then Cuba must be made free for Elian.

"Tens of Thousands Protest in Miami Over Elian":

"Thousands Gather In Miami":

Ricardo Alarcon gets the award for most ironic quote when he said Elian and his father were in "a new sort of prison" while staying at a Maryland mansion. This coming from a high-ranking leader of a prison island where thousands (including Elian's dead mother) risk their lives escaping there to come to the U.S.

He should be flattered the U.S. emulated the tactics of his government.

"Cuba Blasts U.S. Handling of Elian Group":

The Washington Times's editorial board wonders why the media is not complaining about the lack of access to Elian. They also rebut the Justice Department's claim that Elian won't suffer persecution if returned to Cuba. The editorial notes Castro's plans to place Elian in a Havana house filled with doctors and social workers where Elian will be "readapted" into Cuban society.

"Who controls Elian?":

Guess what? Bill Clinton based his stance against Elian on public opinion polls. Robert Novak also reports that AlGore had access to those same polls so his stance might actually be one of principle insead of politics.

Robert Novak's Inside Report:

Tod Lindberg thinks thinking of the father-son relationship as a catagorical imperative, a dislike of immigration, and the supposed victory over Communism allowed many conservatives to be caught sleeping on Elian's fight.

"Raid on American Values":

Mike Potemra on the Washington Post's hit piece on Donato Dalrymple:

Why on earth is any dirty laundry of his -- whether it be true or false -- a matter that deserves public airing? But this is what the attack machinery does: If some person gets involved in a political controversy, he or she becomes fair game for this vicious process; and this article about the fisherman shows how despicable the process can be.

Note Bene:

Thousands of Elian's supporters will converge on Little Havana today to protest the Easter Raid. If any readers attend, please drop me a note and let me know how it went.

"Throngs Expected at March":

Elian's "re-education" has begun. 10 Cuban officials visited Elian the day he moved to a Maryland farm.

"Cuban Officials Visited Boy on First Day at Wye":

The government continues to defend last Saturday's raid and demonize Lazaro Gonzalez's family and their supporters. Officials say such a strong show of force was needed because their intelligence said a number of people around Elian's Miami home had gun permits and/or criminal records. What disturbs me is that the government used "aerial surveillance, covert agents and local informers" to gather information. James D. Goldman who led the raid admitted that agents were gathering intelligence "since day one." Lazaro's family, friends, and supporters have been treated like drug dealers or terrorists, rather than the free Americans that they are. Weapons rumors still do not justify Janet Reno's order to attack the home while negotiations were taking place.

Goldman also said, "We entered into a very hostile environment and we needed that show of force." Maybe the environment became hostile because you came in yelling and screaming with guns.

"INS Says It Feared Violence in Raid":

"INS Agent Defends Elian Raid Tactics":

Senate Republicans found an excuse to postpone hearings on the raid. Because the Justice Department couldn't gather the requested documents in time, Sen. Orin Hatch (R-UT) postponed a hearing scheduled for next week. He didn't state when (or if) the hearing would be rescheduled. This is a re-evaluation for Congressional Republicans. Some think hearings on this would hurt politically. They have a point. Investigative hearings have not panned out well for them (China-gate, Waco, Whitewater, etc.). However, Congress needs to exercise its oversite authority. They just have to find a way to do it without making it look like a political attack.

"Senate Panel Postpones Hearing on Elian Gonzalez Seizure":

Legal experts continue to argue whether the search warrant the INS used to bust into Elian's home was legit.

"Experts Dispute Warrant to Seize Elian from Home":

It takes someone who survived a Communist regime to tells how important freedom is. Zehao Zhou is just that sort of person. He writes,

I watched with disbelief as a freedom-loving American public sided with a practicing Communist, Juan Miguel Gonzalez, just because he was Elian's father. I was flabbergasted to see U.S. Representatives Maxine Waters, D-Calif., and Sheila Jackson-Lee, D-Texas, appearing on national television speaking in favor of returning Elian from the land of the free to the land of despair and hopelessness. I was dismayed to see Rev. Joan Campbell, former head of the National Council of Churches, refusing to acknowledge that Cuba is not a free country where her fellow Christians are persecuted. I found it surreal that Castro's government is in full agreement with the Clinton Administration. Obviously, when the world's most notorious dictator and the leader of the world's largest democracy see eye to eye, something must be wrong.


Anyone who would send Elian back to Cuba will have to settle it with their own conscience. I have no doubt in my mind that Elian will be used by Castro as a propaganda tool for as long as the regime there lasts. Elian will be made to feel ashamed of his mother who died for him. Juan Miguel Gonzalez will have little to say about what should happen to Elian, but Fidel will. Whatever will happen to Elian once he is sent back to Cuba will come back to haunt those who sent him back.

"Save Elian!":

Oliver North reviews this past week.

"It Takes a SWAT Team":

Congrads must go out to 12 federal prosecutors and 13 staffers in the U.S. Attorney's Office in Miami. Thursday, they went to work dressed in black to protest last Saturday's raid. "We dressed in black to tell the Cuban-American community that not everyone is in agreement with the actions taken," said one employee.

"12 U.S. Prosecutors, 13 Staffers in Miami Protest Raid with 'Black Thursday'":

Miami businessman Armando Codina said the Lazaro Gonzalez family didn't get good advice throughout the whole affair and that led to Janet Reno's actions. Codina fully supported the family's efforts to keep Elian in the U.S. He disagreed with the tactics used.

"Businessman criticizes fellow Cubans":


More bad news for Elian's fate: the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied Lazaro Gonzalez's request for visits from them, their lawyers, and their doctors. If not that, then they wanted an outside guardian for Elian. Instead, the court accepted the government's offer of periodic reports from government doctors and social workers.

Juan Miguel also made a request to the court to remove Lazaro from the lawsuit. If that would happen, Juan Miguel's next step would be to drop the case and go back to Cuba. The court will wait until 5.11 to decide on the request.

"Elian's Miami Relatives Lose in Four Court Rulings":

"Court Rules on Elian Requests":

Four of Elian's classmates, their parents, and a Cuban doctor flew to Washington, D.C. to visit Elian.

"Castro Sends 4 Schoolchildren, Parents to Maryland to Visit Elian":

A proud family returned from Washington, D.C. "We feel humiliated," said Lazaro Gonzalez.

"Elian's Relatives Back in Miami; 'We Feel Humiliated,' They Say":

Juan Miguel wanted to come to Miami to claim Elian. Justice Department officials were told this, but they didn't take it seriously because Greg Craig didn't push it.

"Attorney: Dad Was Ready to Go to Miami":

Janet Reno spoke to the Miami mediators a few hours after the raid. Reno claims she was just a broker between Juan Miguel and Lazaro Gonzalez and not "a decision maker." Yet, she was the one who decided to launch the pre-dawn raid. Only she could order it, not Greg Craig, and not Fidel Castro (who says a Cuban raid would have involved no guns, because the public would be unarmed). Reno also said that the 10 minutes before the raid were the worst 10 minutes of her life. What about the first 10 minutes of seeing the flames engulf the Waco compound in 1993? Eighty people died there. And she expects us to believe that attacking an unarmed family in the early morning was one of her worst moments? She is sanctimonious, pompous, and the worst Attorney General in the history of the U.S.

"Deal Sunk by False Assumptions":


Juan Miguel wants the sole right to speak for Elian. In a motion filed with the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta, he said, "This father beseeches this court with all the emotion and fervor of a parent protecting his son to let him raise his child in peace." He also said, "Whatever the motives of (Elian's great uncle) Lazaro Gonzalez and his kin may be, it is sadly obvious that Elian indeed has been made the unwilling pawn on the chessboards of United States-Cuba relations, politics and innumerable other agendas." He's right about that, but what he doesn't say is how much of a pawn he, himself, is. Nor does he mention that the United States and Cuba are on the same side. It's just a family living in Miami who's taking on this axis.

"Elian's Father Claims Sole Right to Speak for Boy":

One of Elian's cousins and his former kindergarden teacher arrived in the U.S. to visit Elian. They're here to create a "Cuban-style atmosphere" in the U.S. for Elian. That's code for re-education and reprogramming. The Cuban government will now begin to make Elian believe that his five months of freedom were horrible. While Elian's family and friends from Cuba can see him, the people that took care of him for five months are still denied any contact.

"Elian's Cousin, Teacher Fly to U.S.":

Supporters of Elian headed to Washington, D.C. to show their outrage.

"Miami Elian Protesters Head to DC":

Next Generation Cuba has a listing of a few of the multitude of families Fidel Castro has allowed to remain apart.

Separated Families:

Alan Dershowitz on the Clinton administration's lawlessness:

They should have gotten a court order. They should have sought to hold the family in contempt. And if the family refused to comply with the court order, then they could have issued contempt citations and arrested the family. But I have a reason why they didn`t go for a court order. They didn`t go for a court order because they knew they couldn`t get one.

"Dershowitz: Clinton-Reno Acted 'Lawlessly'":

Many Cuban-Americans in Florida are changing their party affiliation because of Saturday's raid. One person said, "I've always voted Democratic. We loved this country and look what it did to us."

"Elian Raid Prompts Florida Democrats to Change Parties":

A federal judge ordered the Justice Department to release documents concerning Elian.

"DOJ Must Produce Elian Documents; Boy's Relatives Attend Hearing":

Lazaro and his family are preparing to return to Miami.

"Elian's Father Asks Court to Appoint Him Only Legal Representative of Boy":

A number of South Florida Catholic priests will censure the Clinton administration for conducting the raid during Holy Week.

"Catholic Priests Plan to Send Censure Letter to Clinton Administration Over Elian Matter":


The fine cartoon above is courtesy of Terry Cowley.


A U.S. government doctor recommended that the family who raised Elian for five months not be allowed to see the child until they reconcile their differences with Juan Miguel. This gives the goons who control Juan Miguel all the marbles. They can constantly bring up objections with the Lazaro Gonzalez family so they never get to see Elian.

"Elian Doc: No Miami Vistors Yet":

Protests over the government's abuse of power reached Major League Baseball.

"Marlins' Elian Protest Sets Precedent":

If you have time to read only one piece on Elian, read Peggy Noonan's article. This is probably the most beautiful piece of non-fiction I've ever read. Noonan imagines what Ronald Reagan might have done if he were President now.

And some of us, in our sadness, wonder what Ronald Reagan, our last great president, would have done. I think I know. The burden of proof would have been on the communists, not the Americans; he would have sent someone he trusted to the family and found out the facts; seeing the boy had bonded with the cousin he would have negotiated with Mr. Castro to get the father here, and given him whatever he could that would not harm our country. Mr. Reagan would not have dismissed the story of the dolphins as Christian kitsch, but seen it as possible evidence of the reasonable assumption that God's creatures had been commanded to protect one of God's children. And most important, the idea that he would fear Mr. Castro, that he would be afraid of a tired old tyrant in faded fatigues, would actually have made him laugh. Mr. Reagan would fear only what kind of country we would be if we took the little boy and threw him over the side, into the rough sea of history.

He would have made a statement laying out the facts and ended it, "The boy stays, the dream endures, the American story continues. And if Mr. Castro doesn't like it, well, I'm afraid that's really too bad."

But then he was a man.

"Why Did They Do It?":

Tracy Scarpino cries out to the majority of the American public who wants Elian with his father:

Nobody gets it. They see it only through American eyes. And his father is not free to speak his mind because Castro is holding his family hostage in Cuba lest he should make one wrong move over here. I wish that Elian's father could defect and then they could be together, but an entire family in Cuba will be murdered if he stays.

This is the kind of world Elian will be returning to.


Janet Reno continues to claim that the Lazaro Gonzalez family failed to agree to hand over Elian. Miami mediators continue to say a deal was near.

"Last-minute Differences for Deal Were Significant":

Cuban officials want access to Elian at Carmichael Farm in Maryland. "We need access in case we need to supply food or medicine," spokesman, Luis Fernandez said. They also need access to Elian to persuade him to denouce the U.S. and his Miami relatives.

"Cuban Diplomats Hope for Continued Access to 6-year-old":

Cuban officials won't live on the property, but they will be allowed to visit. Along with the officials, a teacher, cousin and pediatrician will come to the farm from Cuba with four of Elian's Cuban schoolmates coming soon after. So, now, the process of "re-adaption" begins. Don't be surprised if Elian "decides" to not ask for asylum and "wants" to go back to Cuba.

In other news, a federal court judge order that Elian cannot go onto any property where diplomatic immunity is in effect. The judge is also about to "appoint someone, acting as a friend of the court and special guardian ad litem to report to the court directly on the plaintiff's (Elian's) condition and care as well as the circumstances of his custody." Elian's lawyers haven't been able to see him since Saturday's raid and Greg Craig is opposing counsel in Elian's legal fight.

"Sources: Elian Gonzalez to Receive Visitors from Cuba on Wednesday":

Janet Reno faced the heat of Senators in a closed-door meeting. Afterwards, Sen. Connie Mack (R-FL) was stunned. "The question that I have asked was the father informed of the possibility of there being gunfire in the house and was he prepared to put his son at risk, a second time. The answer I got back was yes, that he was. I am stunned by that," said Mack. "I cannot honestly believe that during a time in which there were serious negotiations taking place and that the father would in essence agree to sending armed men into a home in Miami to take his son at gunpoint." Mack then demanded Senate hearings on the INS's use of force in the raid.

Mack's Democratic counterpart Sen. Bob Graham (D-FL) said Pres. Clinton told him no night time raid would take place. Go figure, Clinton lied.

"FL Senator Calls for Hearing After Meeting with Reno":

John Thompson reports on the unity of ethnic groups in the Miami community after Saturday's raid. You probably won't read anything like this in any major media outlets.

"A Sad Unity in Little Havana":

Charles Krauthammer writes:

That the government of the United States should have collaborated in such an outcome--that it should have so brutally engineered it and so deeply traumatized a child to achieve it--is a disgrace.

"The Picture":


Cuban-Americans in Miami are staying away from work in protest of Saturday's snatching of Elian.

"Cuban-American Strike Quiets Pocket of Miami":

Law enforcement experts disagree on the tactics used in Saturday's raid.

"Seizing Elian: Lawmen Call It Good, Bad, Ugly":

The government's flimsy excuse that they thought guns were present at Elian's Miami home consisted of a security guard who had a concealed weapons permit and a veiled threat Marisleysis may have made to INS people. Other than the security guard's weapon, no guns were seen being brought into the house and none were found.

"U.S.: At Least One Gun Had Been Seen at House":

A copy of the search warrant used to enter Lazaro's home.


Steven Hunter of the Washington Post has fired the MP-5 used in Saturday's raid. He comments on the gun and how it's fired.

"The Gun Seen Round The World":

William Safire on Saturday's raid:

In this case, the Clinton administration circumvented a federal appeals court decision that encouraged the relatives' case; instead, the can't-wait enforcers took the law into their own heavy hands.

Safire also seems to agree with my contention that the family was set up by Reno:

When hostages are endangered, the government can trick the terrorists by stringing them along and then striking in the dead of night with overwhelming force. Wrongly construing Elián to be a hostage, Reno talked with the relatives' lawyers on the phone, supposedly negotiating, even as her agents in body armor smashed down the door.

"In the Dead of Night":

Jonah Goldberg on the Clinton administration and the "rule of law":

Yes, the administration has always had the power to decide Elian’s residency status. But such decisions are not the rule of law. They are the product of presidential policy, and such policies are subject to review and reversal, according to the Constitution. Yet, this administration has argued that their policies are synonymous with irrefutable black-letter law. Therefore, defiance of administration policy is the same as being a criminal. When confronted with the fact that the law, as determined by the US Court of Appeals for the 11th circuit, was not on their side, this administration sent armed soldiers into a citizen’s home. The President did not exhaust "all alternatives," he exhausted all the alternatives that were in his interest. Once those expired, he consented to the violent betrayal of people negotiating in good faith.

"Taking Inventory of the Elian Case":

The raid went smoothly because the Lazaro Gonzalez family didn't resist. Rich Lowry wonders what would have happened if they did.

"Shootout in Miami?":

Bill Clinton, find a new President to emulate.

President Kennedy hoped that relations with Cuba would be normalized as that nation began to move towards freedom. He never would have imagined that the great step toward normalization of relations would be a political assault on the Cuban refugee community, orchestrated by Fidel Castro, and implemented by the American President. President Kennedy never would have dreamed that the best day ever in Cuban-American diplomatic relations would come when Fidel Castro exulted that the American President had ordered a Castro-style gunpoint kidnapping of a Cuban refugee child.

"Mr. President, You're No JFK":


The government raid may result in better Cuba-America relations.

"Big Winner in Elian Case: Cuba:

Drudge reports that the FBI opposed the pre-dawn raid.


Rush Limbaugh made a great point on his show today. Elian is being denied access to his lawyers. When federal agents took Elian from his Miami caregivers they returned him to his father, not Juan Miguel's lawyer Greg Craig. Rush wondered what damaging information Elian is giving Craig. Craig has an obvious conflict of interest. He's representing Juan Miguel, not Elian. I've never seen a legal case where a lawyer has access to the opposing client.

Miami leaders involved in the final negotiations between the government and the Miami Gonzalez family thought they were very close to a deal. However, while this group was mediating, federal agents were preparing for the pre-dawn raid. After reading the USA Today story, it appears Reno had no real intention of seeking a peaceful solution. The purpose of the final set of negotiations was to lull the Miami family making the raid that much easier.

The Miami family agreed to give Elian back to his father. The stumbling points were where the combined family would stay and how long the Lazaro Gonzalez family would be allowed to stay with Elian. Juan Miguel (or his lawyer/handler Greg Craig) wouldn't move to a position where the deal could be finalized. So, when Janet Reno, Eric Holder, Joe Lockhart, and other government officials say that the Lazaro Gonzalez family didn't negotiate in good faith, don't believe them. They need to justify their unjust use of force.

"Mediator: Deal was Close":

The New York Post comments on the hypocracy of the Clinton administration's "love" of the rule of law:

More to the point, respect for the law in the Clinton administration happens only when it's convenient for the president, and for Janet Reno, to have it happen.

Bill Clinton - only the second president in history to be impeached and the first ever to be found in contempt of court, for which he was hit with a $90,000 fine by a federal judge - preaching to Lazaro Gonzalez and his family about the supremacy of the law? Absurd.

Indeed, Clinton has long made clear his belief that when his political interests are at stake, the law takes second place.

When U.S. District Court Judge Royce Lamberth ruled recently that the public release of private letters from Kathleen Willey (who says the president forcibly pawed her in a hallway outside the Oval Office), constituted "a criminal violation of the Privacy Act," here's what Bill Clinton had to say about the rule of law:

"I never thought ... about whether [the Privacy Act] applied or not. It was the only way I knew to refute allegations against me."

"As He Sowed, So Now He Reaps":

Dick Morris, who knows more about Bill Clinton's mind than anyone, thinks Clinton is afraid of Fidel Castro flooding Florida shores with thousands of Cuban refugees. In 1995, when Cuban jets shot down an unarmed Cuban exile plane, he told Morris, "If I make him [Castro] mad, he'll dump the Cubans on me again. I've got to be careful on this one." That's why Clinton was so insistent that Elian go back to Communist Cuba.

"Because Bill Fears Fidel":

Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert (R-IL) called for Congressional hearings on Saturday's raid. This is much too little and way too late. Hastert has done nothing to get legislation through Congress to make Elian a U.S. citizen or give him residency. Hastert feels Elian's case should be determined in a family court, but has not nothing to help let this happen. Hearings about the unjust use of government power is a proper thing to do, but Hastert and the Republican leadership have sat on their hands for too long.

"House Speaker Demands Hearings into Miami Raid":

I've received e-mail on the "doctored" photos. After reading the messages and seeing the father/son photos developed by the AP, I believe the pictures weren't faked. All throughout this case, I've tried very hard to be intellectually honest. ElianWatch isn't propaganda that will say anything to promote my agenda. I have told and will continue to tell it like I see it. I don't need to use some conspiracy theory to make the case that Elian should remain free in the U.S.

At the time Marisleysis Gonzalez made the claim that the photos were faked, she was in a state of emotional distress. She and her family suffered the loss of the little child they gave so much love to for five months. It is understandable to think Greg Craig (working for Fidel Castro) would try such a deception. Craig is the same lawyer that said anything to defend Bill Clinton in his impreachment trial. The Lazaro Gonzalez family should accept the fact that the photos are real. They should hope that Elian is happy and safe, but they should also continue the fight to defend Elian's rights.

George W. Bush on the pre-dawn raid:

Ours is a nation of laws, not guns. Custody disputes are resolved in the calm of a courtroom, not in the terror of middle-of-the-night raids.

Statement by Governor George W. Bush on Elian Gonzalez:

After Saturday's pre-dawn raid the story of Cuban diplomats attacking demonstrators in Washington, D.C. never got the press it deserved.

"Cuban Diplomats Fight "Hand-to-Hand Combat" Against Demonstrators -- Rule of Law?":

Arianne Horta survived the same boat trip that brought Elian to the U.S. She's now fighting to bring her daughter to the U.S. The U.S. is waiting for the Cuban government to "release" her. Castro's hypocracy is thick. While demanding that father and son be reunited, he prevents mother and daughter from being together.

"The Arianne Horta Story":

Nat Hentoff punctures many of the family value arguments of those who want Elian back in Cuba.

"Freedom in Cuba?":

In an emotional press conference, Marisleysis Gonzalez pleaded to Juan Miguel to see Elian. "I will not leave until I see this boy," said Marisleysis. She went on to describe what happened in the pre-dawn raid Saturday.

She also disputed the accuracy of the first photos of father and son. This discrepancy was first noticed by the Drudge Report. Later that day, Juan Miguel's Castro-appointed lawyer, Greg Craig gave a roll of undeveloped film to the Associated Press to be developed. The pictures showed Elian and his father happy together. Conspiracy theories have abounded, but no real explanation has arisen to how Elian's hair appears longer in the first father/son photo than in the photo of Elian being wisked away. If there are any photographic experts reading ElianWatch, I would love any serious theories. You have to be able to back it up with some additional information because of the anonymous nature of the Net.

"Father won't see Elian's Miami relatives for time being":

"Theories Rise Over Elian Photos":

Drudge is reporting that the Lazaro Gonzalez family is considering filing a civil rights lawsuit against the U.S. government. It's based on this theory:

If the White House acted without a specific court order and without the 11th Circuit's go-ahead, it puts them in line for a civil lawsuit by everyone strong-armed outside of the house and those inside of it.

The government may have be able to cover themselves with a search warrant they got from a federal judge in Miami.



The current condition of Elian is in serious doubt after the Drudge Report closely examined the photos of Elian reunited with his father. If you compare the photo of Elian being taken from his Miami home with the family picture provided by Greg Craig, you'll notice that Elian's hair is longer and he isn't missing a tooth. The photos may be a fraud to make us think everything is hunky-dory with Elian and his father. It is possible that Elian and his father are fine, but relying on Greg Craig for truthful information is impossible.


Hours after the raid, Marisleysis and Lazaro Gonzalez flew to Washington, D.C. to try and see Elian. They were accompanied by Sen. Bob Smith (R-NH) to Andrews Air Force Base but were denied entrance. They have scheduled a press conference for early this morning.

"Miami Relatives Denied Visit with Elian and Father":

The Washington Post has a comprehensive timeline of the events that took place from the final negotiations through the reunion of father and son.

"Raid Reunites Elian and Father":



"Federal Agents Seize Elian in Predawn Raid":

Based on some unsubstantiated rumors that there might be guns with demonstrators outside or inside Lazaro Gonzalez's home, federal agents armed to the max raided the small Little Havana home. Agents held family members and friends at gun point as other agents broke doors and turned over furniture looking for Elian.

Kendall Coffey, an attorney for the Miami relatives, claims the raid took place while the family was still talking to negotiators. "We were in the middle of negotiations when they battered the door," said Coffey. "We were in communication with the mediator handling negotiations and discussion with the government when they knocked the door down." If that was the case, then the government set them up. They kept the negotiations going so the raid would be a surprise.

Janet Reno is a coward. No peaceful attempt by agents was even attempted. Some will say the government had no choice because Lazaro Gonzalez said, "They will have to take this child from me by force." But in that same statement, he also said, "We will not turn this child over." Put in that context, you can see the statement is just a continuation of the passive resistance he and his family would take if Elian was removed.

This raid wasn't even the initial plan to remove Elian from his Miami home. The Miami Herald reported that the original plan was to have a group of causually dressed agents enter the home to take Elian. "No weapons drawn, no confrontations, nothing obtrusive," a high-level government source said. "In that unlikely event, the Miami family has agreed to step aside. People have been talking about this for months, but it only became serious in the past two weeks." The government knew the family wouldn't forcibly stop Elian's removal. So, either the government source lied about the plans or Janet Reno ordered the plans to be changed.

Anger is intense amongst Elian's defenders. That's understandable. I want all ElianWatch readers (especially those in Miami) to know I will not condone any violence as retaliation for this abuse of power. We are a civilized people. Violence shouldn't be used as a stress reliever. We don't bash into houses with guns just to get our way. We're better than that.

What I do urge you to do is call, e-mail, and write your Congressmen and Senators. Tell them you want them to pass a bill to make Elian a U.S. citizen. The Congress (especially the so-called anti-Communist Republicans) have been sitting on their hands for too long. Here are some web sites to help you find your Congressmen and Senators:

"Elian Reunited With Father":

"Elian Arrives in Washington, Reunited With Father":

"INS Grabs Elian from Miami Home":

"Elian Reunited with Father in Maryland":

More pictures of what happened. See for yourself the force used to take a boy from his unarmed family.

  • Another picture of the federal agent pointing a gun near Elian.
  • A picture of a female agent taking Elian from his home.
[NOTE: links to these pictures have been removed temporarily at the request of the AP. I will respect the AP's intellectual property rights and find an outside source that can legally display the photos.]

President Clinton gave the green light to use force in taking Elian from his Miami home.

"Clinton Gave Green Light to Remove Elian":


I will be on CNBC's "Upfront Tonight" talking about ElianWatch.

"Upfront Tonight":

Matt Drudge and the New York Times are reporting that Janet Reno has decided to remove Elian from his Miami home. It could happen within the next 48 hours. Under pressure from inside the administration, Reno decided to act.

"'The president wants the boy removed from the house,' Reno told a group gathered in her fifth-floor conference room at the Justice Department," writes Drudge.

When the operation takes place, I strongly urge calm and restraint. We're all Americans, and Americans don't resort to violence. We leave that to criminal, totalitarian thugs in places like Cuba.

"U.S. Gathers Officers, Preparing to Take Cuban From Miami Kin":


Drudge's report contrasts with what White House spokeman Joe Lockhart said yesterday. "Is she [Janet Reno] making the decisions here? Yes," said Lockhart.

Clinton said Elian should be reunited with his father. "I think he should be reunited and as prompt and an orderly way as possible."

"Clinton Leaves Elian Case To Reno":

The Weekly Standard has been doing an outstanding job leading the intellectual charge in defending Elian's liberty. Here are some excellent articles:

Tucker Carlson finds that the National Council of Churches has been defending Communist Cuba for years.

"The National Council of Castro Worshippers":

Just like I wrote an article in Enter Stage Right, the Republicans have done little to help Elian.

"The Do-Nothing Congress":

The Cuban-American community has been a punching bag for the liberal media.

"The Slanderers of Cuban-Americans":

Christopher Caldwell laid out the current situtation and stated our case better than anyone I've read.

"The 'Justice' Dept. and the Rule of Law":

"Elián Should Stay":


My most recent article for Enter Stage Right deals with the lack of leadership by the Republicans for Elian's plight.

"Republicans Fail to Protect Boy":

Some see this crisis as a clash between Lazaro and Juan Miguel

"That's what makes things so much harder here," said Michelle Lastre, a housewife from Little Havana who had brought her 1-year-old son Brandon to the vigil being kept by Cuban-Americans on the street outside Lazaro Gonzalez's house. "It's blood against blood."

Locals here say both men take their traditional role as family patriarch seriously and take as a personal affront any challenge to their authority.

"Elian Fight is 'Blood Against Blood'":

"A group of Cuban exile pediatricians on Tuesday denounced comments by psychiatrists and other mental health experts giving medical opinions on Elian Gonzalez without having examined the boy."

Also in the Miami Herald story is Jorge Garcia speaking out in favor of keeping Elian in the U.S. In 1994, his lost his son, grandson, and six nephews when Cuban government boats sank the tugboat they were escaping Cuba on.

He also offered an explanation as to why Juan Miguel want to take Elian back to Cuba. "For reasons of loyalty and good standing to the [Communist] Party, and having a good job in tourism, the [Cuban government] has blackmailed him," Garcia said. "They told him the same thing they told me in 1994: 'We have for you a home in the suburb of Siboney because the family needs to be at peace and tranquillity.'"

"Pediatricians Dispute Views of N.Y. Doctor":

Flags from Puerto Rico, Nicaragua, Honduras, Brazi, even Israel give the demonstrators outside Elian's home a truly international flavor.

"Protesters from Abroad Flock to Home":

Janet Reno said that today's appeals court ruling doesn't prevent her from taking Elian from his Miami home. What is preventing Reno from acting is the crowd of defenders (and media) surrounding the home.

"Reno: Nothing in Ruling Prevents Elian's Transfer":

Reno statement on Elian Gonzalez ruling:

Greg Craig wants Reno to take "immediate action" to reunite Elian with his father.

"Lawyer Says U.S. Must Get Cuban Father His Son":

ABCNews has the text of the appeals court ruling.

Court's Ruling on Elian:

The crowds outside Elian's Little Havana home broke out in cheers with many embracing each other and others joining in prayer. The 11th Court of Appeals in Atlanta ruled that Elian cannot leave the U.S. while his case is awaiting appeal. "The true legal merits of this case will be finally decided in the future ... We intend to hear oral argument," said the ruling. The ruling doesn't prevent the Justice Department from removing Elian from his Miami home and reuniting him with his father. When I get a copy of the ruling I will link to it and comment. What the ruling does is keep Elian here in the U.S. through May when the same Appeals Court rules on Elian's appeal.

"Court Ruling Keeps Elian in U.S.":

"Appeals Court Rules in Favor of Elian's Miami Kin and Bars Boy from Leaving U.S.":

"Elian Stays":

"Court Upholds Order in Elian Case":

"Court Rules Elian Can Stay--For Now":

Drudge is reporting that the doctor who sent a letter to Janet Reno demanding that Elian be "rescued" from Lazaro Gonzalez's home is a big-time supporter of Clinton/Gore.



Today in Geneva, a United Nations human rights forum denouced Cuba for its human rights violations. Elian's supports used this to buttress their claim that Elian shouldn't be returned to such an oppressive country. The Cuban American National Foundation (CANF) said in a statement, "At a time when the U.S. argues for the return of Elian Gonzalez to a nation that enslaves its citizens and attempts to crush their will and hopes, this victory should give pause to all those who yet fail to comprehend or accept the nightmare that is Fidel Castro in the Cuban people's long dream to live with freedom and human dignity."

"Exiles: UN Cuba Vote Shows Why Elian Should Stay":

Because of the calendar, the government is unlikely to reunite Elian and his father this week. This being Holy Week, and the anniversaries of the Bay of Pigs invasion, the firey end to the Waco standoff, and the Oklahoma City bombing, emotions may run too high.

"Signs Point to a Delay in Cuban Boy's Case":

If Elian does return to Cuba, he won't be going back to his hometown. Instead of going to Cardenas, he will be holed up in a government house in Havana. This blows another hole in the argument of those who want to send Elian back to Cuba because of parental rights. In Cuba, Elian doesn't belong to Juan Miguel, he belongs to the Cuban state. The house in Havan will be the site of Elian's "re-education."

"Cuban TV Shows House Where Elian Would Stay":

All parties are waiting for a ruling from the Appeals Court in Atlanta on whether Elian can be taken out of the country while his case is being appealed.

"Elian Court Ruling Due":

The Washington Post published a story on what Juan Miguel has been doing in Washington, D.C. while waiting for his son to be returned.

"A Father's Frustration":

A pediatrician advising the INS told officials to immediately return Elian to his father because he's "in a state of imminent danger to his physical and emotional well-being" by being in Lazaro Gonzalez's home. Dr. Irwin Redlener fails to mention what the danger to Elian's physical and emotional well-being would be by going back to Communist Cuba. He doesn't mention that Cuba runs work camps where children cut sugar cane or make simple objects that are sold by the government. Nor does he mention the thousands of informants used by Castro's regime to spy on Cubans. Elian wouldn't even be Juan Miguel's child in Cuba. He would be a "possession" of the Cuban government as a Cuban offical said a few weeks back.

"Doctor Urges INS to Remove Elian From Miami Home":

Rebecca Hagelin writes about the lack of parental rights in Cuba.

Indeed, a 1978 Cuban law requires that parents raise children with a "communist personality" and outlaws "influences contrary to communist development." At age 7, a child's milk ration is cut off by the Cuban government. At age 11, children are taken from their parents, stay in government camps where they are brainwashed into communism and endure forced labor. Parents have no say.

"Relatives are Right to Fight":

The AP has a profile of Little Havana. A little of the sights, sounds, and smells of this community in the heart of this crisis.

"Little Havana Is Home Away From Home":


60 Minutes aired an interview with Juan Miguel. He denounced allegations that he abused Elian saying, "They are lies totally." Juan Miguel objected to Fidel Castro's name being thrown into this issue. "It's just me claiming my son. It's my son and not Fidel Castro's. It's a way of bringing in Fidel Castro and making it political." And he said he doesn't want to live in the U.S. In fact, he played up the myth that there's a plague of school shootings all over the U.S. Then he praised Cuba's "free" education and health care, but said nothing about Cuba's human rights violations.

If Juan Miguel was just Castro's mouth piece, he did a great job. (I only read the transcript from CBS News' web site. I didn't see the interview on television.) He praised Cuba's educational and health care systems and defended Fidel Castro. He also threw in the bit of making this situation "political"--the standard line by those who want Elian returned. If he's speaking for himself, he's sadly unaware of the environment of his own homeland. He said Elian is his and "not Fidel Castro's. Then how does he explain the recent comments by a Cuban official who said Elian was a "possession" of Cuba? Or how does he explain that Cuban children must be brought up to love the Revolution? If Juan Miguel doesn't really understand Elian's position in Cuban society, it doesn't say much about the vaunted Cuban educational system.

But I have the feeling the interview will generate more public sympathy toward Juan Miguel and embolden federal officials to reunite father and son.

"Elian's Father Speaks On 60 Minutes":

White House Chief of Staff John Podesta said the government would act after the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals made a ruling on Elian's case.

"U.S. Ready to 'Enforce the Law' to Get Elian":

The INS has a web page with links to various documents dealing with Elian Gonzalez.



According to my stats provider, Hitbox, I'm getting lots of readers from AOL. If you're on AOL, let me know how you found ElianWatch. I wonder if someone at AOL linked to ElianWatch from AOL's proprietary network. Email me at shackbar@free-market.net.

Lazaro Gonzalez's family accused Juan Miguel of having a "violent nature" and abusing Elian's mother. Juan Miguel denies the charges in an interview that will air on 60 Minutes Sunday.

This smacks of desparation. Lazaro is desparate. Judge Moore ruled that any decision Janet Reno made could stand legally, and their state custody case was thrown out. I feel for Lazaro and his family. They thought U.S. institutions and the public would support protecting Elian's human rights. Unfortunately, they were mistaken. Now, they resort to a claim by Juan Miguel's former neighbor. But if they knew about Juan Miguel's violent past, why wait until now to bring it up? It doesn't pass the smell test. All throughout this ordeal, I've tried my best to be intellectually honest. I wouldn't resort to attacking Juan Miguel because I didn't know what were his real motives and what were the desires of Fidel Castro. I want Elian to stay in U.S. as much as anyone, but we have to keep the moral high ground. Ill-timed, unsubstantiated attacks on Juan Miguel won't help the cause.

"Father Faces Accusations":

Hundreds of supporters of Elian are keeping vigil outside his Little Havana home while about 100,000 Cubans attended a government-sponsored rally.

"Elian Supporters Maintain Vigil in Miami":

"Cuba Stages Massive 'Free Elian!' Rally":

Juan Miguel has been receiving lots of guests, and they all are pro-Cuba. They all support lifting the embargo against Cuba. The Cuban embargo is an issue in and of itself. What does it have to do with the human rights of a little boy? Those people down in Miami (and in Wisconsin) who want Elian to remain in the U.S. have nothing material to gain. They are just fighting to protect Elian's rights. It's those groups who have ulterior motives who are using Elian's case to promote their agenda. Which side is really playing politics?

"Elian's Father Receives Array of Friendly Visitors":

Elian's lawyers are arguing that U.S. officials can't return him to Cuba because "human rights treaties and anti-torture conventions bar U.S. officials from returning the boy to a repressive regime such as Castros Cuba."

"Family's New Legal Claim: Rights Treaties Ban Elian's Return":

CNSNews.com is reporting that Lazaro Gonzalez will ask President Clinton for a reprieve for Elian until Holy Week is over.

"Gonzalez Family to Seek Holy Week Reprieve From Clinton":

It's people like Juan Dominguez that scare me. He said he is willing to put his life on the line to prevent Elian from being returned to Cuba. Elian has already lost his mother and is in the middle of a fight to determine his future. The last thing this kid needs is to witness a riot; even one intended to protect him.

"Viet Nam Vet Willing To Lay Down Life for Elian":

Juan Miguel flipped the bird to protesters at the Maryland home he's staying at. During this whole crisis, I have been giving Juan Miguel the benefit of the doubt. I didn't think he was freely speaking for himself. However, such anger and hostility makes me wonder.

"Dad's Middle-finger Salute Ignites Stir in Washington":

MSNBC's Jim Avila reported that Juan Miguel cried when he saw the home video of Elian telling his father he doesn't want to go back to Cuba. How did Avila discover this? Avila's in Cuba, but Juan Miguel is in Washington, D.C. Is Avila just regurgitating whatever the Cuban government is telling him?

"Government asks court to order Elian’s transfer":


In a letter, the INS has told Lazaro Gonzalez that he's in violation of the law since he didn't give up Elian last Thursday. The letter also stated that the government would order Elian to remain in the U.S. if the U.S. Court of Appeals wanted him to stay in the U.S. during the legal process. Otherwise, Juan Miguel would be free to take Elian back to Cuba. If Lazaro doesn't win this appeal, the government will take steps to get Elian.

The letter didn't change anything. Lazaro still has Elian and the government still is saying they will reunite him with his father. What the letter did do is begin to paint Lazaro as a criminal so if an ugly confrontation does take place, the government would have some justification.

"U.S. Boosts Pressure on Elian's Miami Relatives":

"Government Offers Miami Family Trade-off in Elian Drama":

Yesterday, the threat of Elian's forced removal brought out thousands from around Miami. All was peaceful.

"Throng outside house swells to thousands":

The Miami Herald got a scoop on the feds' plan to get Elian:

The most likely scenario -- should negotiations break down completely -- would be for a large number of immigration officers and U.S. marshals to establish a crowd-control perimeter around the Little Havana home, and then for a small, mostly female corps of casually dressed agents to approach the door.

"No weapons drawn, no confrontations, nothing obtrusive," the high-level source said. "In that unlikely event, the Miami family has agreed to step aside. People have been talking about this for months, but it only became serious in the past two weeks.

"U.S. Sources: Forceful Taking is 'Last Resort'":

Lazaro Gonzalez's custody fight was thrown out of Florida state court. Judge Jennifer Bailey said that "the [family] court's ability to reach that decision is derailed by the federal government decision that he must return to Cuba, his homeland, and be with his father." This goes back to Janet Reno's decision that only Juan Miguel can speak for Elian. With this avenue blocked, Congress must act to make Elian a citizen. The boy cannot rely on the courts. The law appears to be against them.

"State Judge Dismisses Miami Family's Suit Seeking Custody":

The Cuban government is upset with the home video where Elian says he doesn't want to go back to Cuba. "It was clearly shown that Elian was criminally pressured to say these things without meaning them," said one propagandist. They're not really mad at what Elian said, their mad that the Miami Gonzalez family had the audacity to do it. Whether it was staged or not, the video gave Castro's thugs a shot of their own medicine.

"Cuba Disturbed by Elian Video":

Mickey Kaus wonders if there's an agreement between Castro and Clinton. Castro took some rioting prisoners from a Louisiana prison last December, and Clinton gives Fidel Elian. It's pure speculation but don't underestimate this President.

"Elián: An Overlooked Angle?":

Kate O'Beirne writes about what Elian will face if he returns to communist Cuba:

The bright, happy little boy racing around that fenced yard in Little Havana will face the soul-crushing conformity of a totalitarian state. Because the school desk he left behind has reportedly been turned into a "national shrine," any deviation by Elián from what loyal young Communists must think would be ruthlessly suppressed. In the Soviet Union, a "Stakhanovite" was someone who was willing to overfulfill work quotas at the cost of his life. As a celebrated subject of the regime, Elián González will have to be the most committed little Communist in Cuba, at the expense of his innocence.

"Cuba: No Place for a Child":

Center for a Free Cuba’s Otto Reich predicts Elian will be "more Communist than Fidel Castro" if he goes back to Cuba.

"Center for a Free Cuba’s Otto Reich Says...":

Lazaro Gonzalez's attorney Jose Garcia-Pedrosa is accusing Juan Miguel of hitting Elian and his dead mother.

"Gonzalez Attorney Jose Garcia-Pedrosa Says...":

Don't expect a fair shake about Cuba from the media; they haven't done it in the past as Jeff Jacoby attests.

"Whitewashing Castro’s Crimes":

Controversy within controversy erupted when the Miami Gonzalez family released a home video where Elian told his father he didn't want to go back to Cuba.

"'Daddy, I don't want to go back to Cuba'":


The 11th U.S. Court of Appeals issued an order preventing federal agents from taking Elian away from Lazaro Gonzalez's family. This prevented a confrontation between federal agents and the host of protesters outside Elian's home. Today, Gloria Estafan and Andy Garcia came to Little Havana to show their support for continued freedom for Elian.

"Elian Miami Relatives Defy Order, Win Reprieve":

Janet Reno has ordered Lazaro Gonzalez to take Elian to an airport today so he can be reunited with his father. She was down in Miami yesterday meeting with the Miami family. Lazaro is defiant saying, "We will not turn this child over, not in Opa-locka, not in any 'locka. They will have to take this child from me by force." Some commentators has speculated that this means Lazaro will actively prevent Elian's removal, but I see it as a continuation of the passive resistance he and the Cuban-American will engage in if federal agents come to take Elian. What I'm afraid of is some rogue protester doing something stupid. The vast, vast majority of supporters encamped outside Elian's home are peaceful. The fear is what the one or two trouble-makers might do. It does look like something will happen today.

"Reno Orders Elian Transfer":

What does freedom for Elian mean? National Review sees it as a way to "to vex and humiliate Communist dictators and all others who boast themselves our enemies, to frustrate their designs, to diminish them in the eyes of their own people, to hasten their downfall by any means our laws and ethics permit."

Some would say that makes Elian a political pawn, a victim. Elian's not a political victim; he's a victim of a brutal, oppressive communist dictator who wants this boy as a trophy to show off to his serfs. If the pro-freedom side wins, Elian wins. If Castro's status is diminished, all the better.

"Are We Still America?":


Lazaro Gonzalez stated that Elian will not be going to Washington, D.C. today.

"Elian Not Going to Washington After All-Miami TV":

Elian will meet with his father in Washington, D.C. Wednesday. "There is an agreement between the family and the Justice Department and Gregory Craig, the attorney for Juan Miguel Gonzalez, that a meeting will take place tomorrow at a neutral location," Jorge Mas Santos, president of the Cuban American National Foundation told reporters in Washington.

"Elian, Relatives Meet Dad in Washington Wednesday":

Bob Novak is reporting on Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart's (D-FL) theory that Bill Clinton is using Elian to normalize relations with Cuba.

"Why Elian's dad won't defect":

Yesterday, Lazaro Gonzalez met with psychologists about how best to reunite Elian with his father.

"Child Experts Meet With Elian's Miami Family":

The Republican House leadership wants a meeting with Juan Miguel and his family Wednesday. At the meeting he will "have the freedom to express your true feelings during your visit without coercion and without intimidation."

What the leadership should also be doing is rounding up votes to pass a bill to make Elian, Juan Miguel, and his family U.S. residents.

"House Leaders Want to See Gonzalez Free of 'Coercion and Intimidation'":

Kate O'Beirne suggested just such a meeting.

"Let's Make a Deal":

Reps. Reps. Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R-FL), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), and Bob Menendez (D-NJ) want a meeting with Juan Miguel alone to encourage him to defect.

"Dad Gets an Offer to Defect":

If you missed last Sunday's talk-fests, Ben Domenech has a nice round-up.

"All Elián, All the Time ":


MSNBC is reporting that Juan Miguel has agreed to come to Miami to get Elian, but he won't go to the Little Havana home Lazaro Gonzalez. The transfer could happen Wednesday or Thursday.

"Elian’s Father May Travel to Miami":

Drudge is reporting that Lazaro Gonzalez's family will not voluntarily give up Elian. "Elian's Miami relatives appear determined to force federal agents to come to their Little Havana home to get the boy," reports Drudge.


Juan Miguel's lawyer admitted the statement Juan read when he arrived in the U.S. was written by the Cuban government.

"U.S.: No More Delays in Elian Meetings":

There is a large rift in the whole Miami community. In a poll, 50% of respondents said Elian should remain in the U.S. When broken down, a large majority of Hispanic respondents want Elian to stay, while large majorities of blacks and whites want him back in Cuba.

"Poll Reveals Widening Split Over Elian":

ABCNews.com posted the letter from the U.S. government to Lazaro Gonzalez saying they will revoke Elian's parole and return him to his father. It also stated that a meeting will take place today to discuss how the transfer of Elian would take place "in a manner that is sensitive to the needs of Elian."

"INS Letter to Elian’s Relatives":

Greg Craig, Juan Miguel's Castro-paid lawyer, said Juan Miguel would stay in the U.S. through the appeals process if "visas for his schoolmates and others are approved." The State Department hasn't said whether the 28 total people requesting visas would be approved.

This will be Cuba's excuse to taking Elian back to Cuba as soon as he's reunited with his father. Elian will be again a prison on Castro's communist prison, and the Cuban government will blame the State Department for not allowing a bunch of school kids and communist psychologists from indoctrinating Elian on U.S. soil.

But even more interesting in the NY Post story, Raul Saul Sanchez said he will not lead protesters in obstructing federal officals from taking Elian from Lazaro Gonzalez's home. "We will not create a violent confrontation ... We have a responsibility toward Elian's civil rights, but also toward maintaining peace in the community," said Sanchez. Sanchez was previously threatening to block Miami's airport and docks and set up a blockade of trucks around Elian's home.

"Protesters Vow to Let Feds Take Elian":

Cuban Americans in Miami are upset with the slanted coverage of Elian's supporters. The only pictures most people see are of the one incident where a few dozen people broke through a baracade. What most haven't seen are the peaceful protests in support of freedom for a little boy.

"Elian's Backers Fear a Bad Characterization by the Media":

Elian's supporters are beginning to accept the strong possibility that Elian's going back to Cuba. I'm one of them.

"In Miami, Subdued Watchers Sense Battle for Elian is Over":


Attorney General Janet Reno and other officials were on the Sunday morning talk-fests. All stated that Elian would be reunited with his father this week. They all hope the reunion takes place peacefully with Reno even stating that Lazaro Gonzalez's family would not violate her ruling and release Elian. No details were said as to how, when, and where the reunion would take place.

"U.S. Hopes to Unite Elian With Father This Week":

"U.S. Appeals for Calm":


Lazaro Gonzalez's family received a letter from the government instructing them to meet with psychologists Monday to determine how best to reunite Elian with his father. Then next week, Lazaro will get instructions on the where and when of the reunion.

Juan Miguel met with Janet Reno Friday. It's disturbing that Reno has met with Elian's grandmothers and now his father but has refused to meet with Elian--the center of this whole issue. It seems Reno made up her mind a long time ago and nothing will change it.

If Elian is reunited with his father, he will go back to Cuba. Even Janet Reno said "there is nothing to stop" Juan Miguel from taking Elian back to Cuba before his appeal is heard. We are near the endgame. Will Lazaro give up Elian? Will Elian's supporters allow Elian to be taken? Will violence break out? All these questions will be answered soon.

Many have complained about the constant media lime-light Elian's been in. They have a point. The persitent media presence outside Lazaro Gonzalez's home can't be the most positive part of Elian's environment. But where is the outcry of how Juan Miguel Gonzalez always appears with his infant son, Hianny? Castro's handlers are using the boy as a prop to show the American public how much of a family man Juan Miguel is. What's the difference?

"Reno: Elian's U.S. Relatives to get Handover Instructions Early Next Week":

The Miami Herald's profile of Juan Miguel portrays him as a loyal communist and a loving father. In a conversation with his cousin (and Elian's surrogate mother) Marisleysis Gonzalez, Juan Miguel told her he didn't want to come to the U.S. "If I wanted to go for money and possibilities, I would have been there long ago." Either Juan Miguel really is happy in Cuba, or he just accepts his place there and fears the unknown of more "possibilites."

"Portrait of a Father: Loyal to Party, Family":

The Economist has a piece on the divisions over Cuban in the Cuban community. It also talks about how the influx of new immigrants may have given energy to Elian's cause.

The title of the article is "The Tragedy of Elian," the biggest tragedies listed are Miami losing the Pan-American Games and the Latin Grammy Awards. For the Economist the tragedy is a minor loss in economic gain and prestige instead of the loss of Elian's human rights.

"The tragedy of Elian":


The INS is preparing to transfer custody of Elian from Lazaro Gonzalez to Juan Miguel. Officials will be sending Lazaro a letter detailing how the transfer will proceed. Talks broke down between the INS and Lazaro's lawyers. The government wouldn't guarantee Elian wouldn't be lifted to Cuba "in the middle of the night." Government officials didn't get a guarantee that Lazaro would turn over Elian if their appeal failed.

"INS Prepares to Hand Elian over to Father":

"Miami Relatives Angry Over Gov't Demands on Elian":

Marc Levin recalls how Castro-sympathizer Rep. José E. Serrano (D-NY) defended Cuba on Hardball:

When asked a simple question by [Chris] Matthews as to whether Cuba is a free society, Serrano initially said he didn't know because he did not live there. When pressed again, he retorted that it is "free in some ways." As to whether its system was better than ours, Seranno would only say the two are "different." Finally, when questioned specifically about whether free speech exists in Cuba, Serrano replied "absolutely."

"Minority Congressional Leaders' Reaction to Elian Saga Disturbing":

Rich Lowry has an extended portion of Chris Matthews conversation with Rep. Serrano.

"Sweden With an Attitude":

Elian's supporters outside his Little Havana home showed the world how they would protect Elian by forming a human chain.

"Human Chain Made Around Elian Home":

Juan Miguel's remarks after arriving in the U.S.


Kate O'Beirn points out the fact that the INS flip-flopped over Elian. On 12.1.99, they said "issue of custody must be decided by the state courts." Castro bellowed and threatened to nix migration talks between Cuban and the U.S. Now, the INS doesn't want state courts to be involved. I have yet to see this fact brought up on television. Maybe if the public had all the facts, they would have a different opinion.

"A Scandalous Flip-Flop":


Juan Miguel is coming to the U.S. He will arrive with his second wife and Elian's half-brother this morning and will stay at the Cuban Interests Section in Maryland. Lazaro's family wants Juan Miguel to come to their Miami home to settle the situation face-to-face. They don't think Juan Miguel would be free from Castro's influence while staying in Maryland. "If he goes to the Cuban Interests Section, we feel he is still not a free man because he is still controlled by the Cuban government," said family spokesman Armando Gutierrez.

With Juan Miguel's arrival the INS will ask Lazaro to give up Elian although a time table hasn't been decided. Protesters outside Elian's Miami home have promised to resist efforts to remove Elian from the home.

Now would be the time for a miracle. If Elian is reunited with his father, it would be near impossible to stop them from going back to Cuba. With public opinion strongly in favor of Elian's return to Cuba, Congressmen won't take a political risk and vote to make Elian and his family U.S. residents. I hope and pray that Congress (especially the Republicans) come to their senses and put that bill on Bill Clinton's desk. If not that, then I hope Juan Miguel takes the biggest risk of his life and defects to the U.S. If Elian goes back to Cuba, he won't be Juan Miguel's son, he'll be Fidel's trophy. Castro will proudly display Elian as his victory over the "imperialist" U.S. Elian's life in Cuba won't be his own--it never was. He will grow up as a propaganda tool of victory. Castro's trophy of the revolution will never be allowed to dissent, to question, or to disagree with Castro. Fidel will never allow it.

"Father Arrives Today":

"Lawyer: Elian's Dad To Come to U.S.":

"Elian Case Looks to Be Over but for the Shouting":

"Police Prepare for Cuban Father's Stay at Maryland Home":

Lance Morrow thinks all those who want Elian to live in freedom are racists. Morrow writes, "If Elian were black, as is more than half of Cuba's population, I do not believe that there would be anything like this outpouring of emotion. Send him back. Case closed."

WRONG! The comparison has been made that if Elian were a black Haitian, he would have been immediately repatriated. That's correct, but that's because Cuban refugees have a special status in the U.S. That special status is because Cuba is a communist state 90 miles from U.S. shores. Just like people who escaped the former Soviet Union or went over the Berlin Wall, Cuban refugees are welcomed. That's been the law for 40 years.

I know for a fact that if Elian were black I would be fighting with the same intensity I do now. Elian's right to live free from political and economic oppression transcends skin color. Elian deserves to live with his father in freedom, not because he's light-skinned, but because he's human. He's a person endowed by God with the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I will not stand by and let some writer seeing the world through racism-seeing lenses to turn this case into trial on race relations.

"What if Elian Were Pug-Ugly? Or Black?":

National Review interviewed Sister Jeanne O’Laughlin and Sen. Connie Mack (R-FL).

Sister O'Laughlin doesn't think Juan Miguel has the freedom to state his true opinion. Sen. Mack wants Al Gore to act forcefully for Elian instead of just talking.

"Sister Jeanne O’Laughlin says...":

"Senator Connie Mack says...":

Richard Lowry finds the Left's new-found concern over "traditional bonds" (in the words of the New York Times's Bob Herbert) to be pure hypocrisy.

"Father's Day":


Wow! ElianWatch has really picked up in traffic. Unfortunately, Hitbox isn't helping me find out where the increased readers are coming from. If you're a new visitor, please e-mail me and let me know how you found ElianWatch.

I have received e-mail complaining that ElianWatch doesn't offer any opposing viewpoint. Let me make this clear: ElianWatch is NOT a balanced and objective web site. I created ElianWatch to document the stories and opinions surrounding Elian's case. It's one-part archive, one-part portal, and one-part op-ed column. ElianWatch is where I link to stories and offer my thoughts. As sole publisher of ElianWatch, I decide what I want to link to and what to comment on. This is just my little soapbox in this little corner of the Internet.

Today, a rally is scheduled to take place near Attorney General Janet Reno's Miami home.

"Reno Rally":

Tom Carter at the Washington Times has done a great job summerizing the events of the past few days. But the most interesting, dare say, outrageous item in his article is the Cuban government's statement that Elian is "a possession of the Cuban government." In Cuba, parents must raise their children with a "communist personality," and children end up working on farms away from their parents during the summer. This further discredits anything Juan Miguel has to say. No matter how much he loves his son, ultimately, Castro has parental rights over Elian in Cuba.

If Elian's custody case (as opposed to his asylumn case) ever came before a family court, it would be more accurate for it to be a case between Lazaro Gonzalez and Fidel Castro rather than Lazaro and Juan Miguel.

"Elian 'a possession' of state, Cuba says":

While Juan Miguel and five others received U.S. visas, the Cuban government said he won't come to the U.S. unless he comes alone to immediately get Elian, or he brings 27 other people.

Greg Craig is in Cuba trying to convince Juan Miguel he should come to the U.S. with the smaller contingent.

"Elian's Father Not Visiting U.S. for Now":

Castro was on Cuban television last Sunday (4.2). The Miami Herald published his remarks.

Remarks by Fidel Castro:

If Elian does return to Cuba, I hope there's no violent reaction. While protesters who broke through baracades and formed a human chain around Elian's home chanted that they wouldn't become violent, such high tensions don't bode well.

"Elian Supporters Break Through Barracades and Form Human Chain":

If the INS wants Elian they will have to do it without Lazaro Gonzalez's or his family's help. In a statement yesterday, Lazaro said he would not prevent the INS from taking Elian, but he said, "We cannot participate, nor will we do so."

"Declaration of Lazaro Gonzalez":


On Sunday's talk shows, Elian's lawyers suggested that Juan Miguel was an unfit parent. Greg Craig, Juan Miguel's lawyer (while being paid by Castro) said that was "outrageous."

"Elian's Father Under Attack":

A new offer from Castro: Juan Miguel will come to the U.S. alone only if Elian is immediately returned to him. They would then go back to Cuba. Castro's previous offer was to bring a host of doctors, psychologists, and Elian's classmates to the U.S. This offer should be rejected. While Juan Miguel would be in the U.S., his family would serve as reminders that he must obey Castro.

"Castro Presses for Elian's Immediate Return":

The Washington Post found a similar case to Elian's way back in the 1950s. A family from the Soviet Union lived in the U.S. for a while and decided to return. State courts ruled they couldn't take their children back. Eventually, the children were reunited with their parents in the Soviet Union.

"Elian Case Parallels 1950s Travail of 4 Russian Brothers":

Singer Gloria Estafan wants Elian to have his day in court.

"Gloria Estefan joins chorus over Cuban castaway":

Another story on how passionate support for Elian is in Miami's Little Havana.

"'Elian Is Something Special for Us'":

Last Friday's (3.31) News Hour had Sen Bob Graham (D-FL) and Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) discussing Elian's case.

"Tug of War":


Even if Juan Miguel comes to the U.S., Lazaro Gonzalez's family will not voluntarily give him Elian. They will give Elian to the INS if agents come to their Miami home. This is a reversal from past statements.

This is not a good decision. While they could oppose Castro's ridiculous plan to bring doctors, psychologists, and Elian's classmates to the U.S., as long as Juan Miguel can't take Elian back to Cuba while the judicial process takes place, he should be reunited with his father. What this decision does is make it look like the Miami relatives will do anything to keep Elian from his father. Their ultimate goal should be to keep Elian living in freedom. Staying with his father in the U.S. doesn't go against that goal.

"Relatives Won't Give Elian to Dad":

Friday, the Florida House of Representative passed on a voice vote a measure urging the Department of Justice to let Elian stay in the U.S. until he has an asylum hearing.

"Elian Measure Wins Passage in House":

Juan Miguel wrote a letter to Sens. Trent Lott (R-MS) and Tom Daschle (D-SD). In the letter, he opposes a bill in Congress that would make Elian, Juan Miguel, and his family U.S. citizens. Juan Miguel claims it would force him to live in the U.S. The bill would give them residency so the INS would get out of this case. It wouldn't force Juan Miguel or anyone else to live in the U.S. It's just more propaganda generated by Juan Miguel's handlers.

Text of letter from Juan Miguel Gonzalez to senators Trent Lott (R-MS) and Tom Daschle (D-SD):

Lazaro's family produced some evidence that Juan Miguel knew Elian would be coming to the U.S. with his mother. They have produced a phone record of a collect call coming from Juan Miguel's father on 11.22.99--before Elian and his mother escaped Cuba.

"Protesters Oppose Returning Elian":

National Review's Jonah Goldberg rejects Al Gore's support for Elian because he thinks it's just a political ploy.

"Gore, The Pander Boo Boo":

Midge Decter asks: "Can there be anyone so cold of heart as not to have fallen in love with the first sight of Elián Gonzalez?"

"Elián, Still in the Middle of the Ocean":

For James Bowman, Nobel-winner Gabriel García Márquez's views "are scarcely to be distinguished from those of the crudest Castroite mouthpiece."

"A Real Shipwreck":

Sean Hackbarth
Allenton, WI
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