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This cartoon used by permission and is copyright © 2000, by Terry.
Cuba Free Press
Free Cuba Foundation
1999 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices
CIA World Factbook
Human Rights Watch
Judge Moore's Ruling
The Smoking Gun
To Be Free
U.S. State Department
For months Salon's Myra MacPherson has been doing what I've been doing: covering the Elian Gonzalez story. While I've been honest in my opinions, Ms. MacPherson has written under the cover of "journalism." Finally, she's come out of her tent of "objectivity." Her piece concluding Elian's saga shows what was of primary interest to her. It wasn't honoring the rule of law; it wasn't protecting the rights of Americans from violent attack by government agents; it wasn't reporting on Castro's brutal regime and the horrible conditions endured by the Cuban people; it wasn't determining whether a father was being coerced; and it wasn't the right of a little boy to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Ms. MacPherson's primary interest is in lifting the U.S. embargo on Cuba. Something she calls "an arcane Cold War economic policy." To do that she digs up every bit of dirt and embarassment to those who saved Elian, cared for him for five months, and fought court battles for his freedom. By doing so, she links this indiosycratic group of people to the larger Cuban American community. Ms. MacPherson brings up Marisleysis' trips to the hospital, Lazaro's DUIs (and lies by saying he's unemployed), and Donato Dalrymple's troubled personal life. While these weren't perfect people, Ms. MacPherson fails to compare Elian's situation to his life in Cuba--what Salon's editors decided to call Elian's "normal" childhood.
According to the current U.S. administration, Elian will live under "a pervasive system of vigilance through undercover agents, informers, the rapid response brigades, and the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution (CDR's)." He will be a part of a "tourist apartheid" where foreign tourists with hard currency are given preference over citizens for food and other goods. Elian will be denied his rights to freedom of speech, assembly, and association. Should he decide to oppose the totalitarian government, he could be arrested, beaten, or exiled--all without due process. If the Cuban authorities decide that any of Elian's actions are in "manifest contradiction of socialist norms" he can be detained and subjected to "therapy."
Since Elian is Castro's prized possession--his trophy signifying his victory over the U.S. government and the Cuban exile community in the U.S.--Elian will likely be under constant surveilance through electronic means as well as informants and local block committees. If Elian has any inkling of rebelling against the "workers' paradise" he could endure political reeducation.
When Elian turns 11 he will be required to "devote 30 to 45 days of [his] summer vacation to farm work." If Elian is lucky enough to work for a foreign employer, he will see a pitance of what the employer will pay for his work. The rest will go into the hands of the Cuban government.
It's ironic that the same administration that put together the report I quoted from is the same one that used its power to attack the unarmed Miami family that raised Elian and led the legal battle to return the boy to Cuba. It is also interesting that Ms. MacPherson failed to mention any of the abuses suffered by Cubans in any of her Elian reports. It's not like it was hard to find. I found them after a few minutes searching the Internet. She could have even found it on ElianWatch. This site was linked from her employer's web site.
Ms. MacPherson does acknowlege the economic suffering of the Cuban people, yet she doesn't blame it on the actions of the evil Fidel Castro. No, she blames the U.S. embargo. She also blames the Miami Cuban community for fighting to retain the sanctions. "By acting to end the embargo, the Cuban-American leaders in Miami could have helped make conditions on the island palatable enough that such desperate voyages would be a thing of the past," writes MacPherson. It's not the 40-plus years of central planning by the Cuban government that's kept the Cuban people poor and hungry so that they would risk their lives to come to the U.S. No, it was a Cold War relic perpetuated by an out-of-touch ethnic community in Miami that hurt Cubans. Now, gleefully, MacPherson relishes the notion that "conservative Midwestern farmers and congressmen" are pushing for loosening of the embargo.
Thanks to the persuasive power of people like Ms. MacPherson, the American public was kept from the truth of the horrors Elian will face in Cuba. I'm sure she's not disappointed; she didn't really care about Elian in the first place. Her desire in ending the Cuban embargo trumped the cries for freedom for a little boy.
TIME.com picks the winners and losers in Elian's fight.
Mr. Karon doesn't seem to find that a person's lost his human rights because Elian's only six-years-old. He also assumes that when Elian grows up to exercise his rights (if the Cuban "education" doesn't take full effect) Castro will be gone and Cuba will be free. A free Cuba post-Castro isn't a given. Should Fidel die, his brother Raul would probably take command and continue to rule Cuba as a totalitarian dictatorship.
Now that the battle for Elian is over, the boy has become the biggest threat to the Communist regime. Elian's the second-most famous Cuban alive (behind Fidel). Should Elian have the desire and the ability, I can see a popular movement develop around him. He was declared a sacred child by Cuban Santeria religion--a reason Castro fought so hard for his return--so I see the religion declaring Elian the future leader of Cuba. Because of this, Castro will do everything in his power to mold and shape Elian to continue the "Revolution." Elian's human rights will be ignored in the process, but that doesn't matter to Mr. Karon. Elian's only six-years-old.
"Winners and Losers in the Elian Extravaganza":
Cuban demonstrations continued. With his victory over the U.S., Fidel Castro is now targeting the Cuban Adjustment Act that allows Cuba immigrants who touch down on U.S. soil (except Elian) to remain in the U.S.
"Cuba Rally Celebrates Elian's Return":
Elian returned to Cuba. Today the U.S. Supreme Court decided not to take up Elian's case or to grant an injunction to keep him in the U.S. Before leaving, Elian's father, Juan Miguel, thanked the American people for their support (a majority favored Elian's return to Cuba). After flying over the same waters he floated on to escape Cuban tyrany, Elian was greeted by family, friends, schoolmates, and Cuban official Ricardo Alarcon.
The plan for Elian's re-education calls for him to stay in the infamous Havana home that will be filled with doctors, schoolmates, and teachers. He will then return to his hometown of Cardenas.
The reaction to Elian's return was filled with bitter pain. Representative Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R-FL) said in a statement, "I accuse William Jefferson Clinton, the president who sold military secrets to the Communist Chinese, of committing his most cowardly crime by returning a defenseless six-year-old boy to the only Stalinist, totalitarian tyrant in the Western Hemisphere, with the grotesque, condemnable assistance of an Attorney General who has shown that her incompetence is outweighed only by her hypocrisy and her callousness. What Clinton has done, in effect is to throw a six-year-old boy over the Berlin Wall. I accuse Clinton of turning a young boy over to Castro and his psychiatrists so that the Cuban tyrant can show off the famous, new "trophy" Clinton sent him, while Castro prepares to destroy the child."
Representative Bob Menendez (D-NJ) said the following:
It is a very sad day when the highest court in the land decides that a young boy does not have the same rights as an adult refugee fleeing from oppression. Today, the Supreme Court consciously set a precedent that will reject future political asylum applications based on age, not merit. The consequences of today's ruling, the denial of a simple asylum hearing, will reverberate for years.
Miami family spokesman Armando Gutierrez said, "We're devastated because at this very moment, Elian's going back to live in a country where he'll never be free -- to a country, where his father will simply not be allowed to give him the freedom that his mother wanted so desperately and died for --from a country of tyranny and dictatorship." Family members didn't attend the press conference.
Almost flippantly, Pres. Clinton said, "If he and his father decided they wanted to stay here, it would be fine with me." Clinton has some ridiculous belief that Juan Miguel has a choice as to where he and Elian could live. Of course he knows that Juan Miguel has no choice at all. Whether Juan Miguel wanted to live in the U.S. or not, Castro would have never allowed his political prize to get away from him.
For seven months Elian lived in a country where he was considered a human being, not some "symbol" or an "example" (to use the words of the Cuban government today) of a revolutionary idea opposing American imperialism. For five of those months, Elian was raised by a family who wanted to fulfill the final wishes of his dying mother--to live free in the U.S. They risked much: financial burden; their public reputations; even their lives in a government invasion of their home. All they wanted was for that little boy to continue to breath the sweet air of liberty. They were up against tremendous forces: the U.S. government; a neglecting Congress; an opposing public majority; an unemotional media.
I'm already getting e-mail from that public majority claiming victory and trying to rub my nose in this defeat. To them Elian's struggle was a game; some kind of amusement for news junkies. This wasn't a game; this was real. A boy's rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness were at stake. This was as much of a game as the Founding Fathers' fight against British tyranny. Now is not the time to gloat. Now is the time to pray for Elian, his family, and his fellow Cubans. Someday Cuba will be free, and Elian will "be able to choose for himself whether to return to America." (Quote from G.W. Bush.)
"Elian Home in Cuba, Custody Saga Over":
"Elian Leaves America for Cuba":
"Miami Family and Friends Grieve at Elian's Departure":
"Elian returns to Cuba":
"Elian Home in Cuba, but Legacy May":
"Florida Congressman Seeks To Prevent Future Elian Incidents":
One point National Review wants to remind us is "That most Americans do not know what life is like in a Communist country." Most Americans thought the Cold War was over when the Berlin Wall fell and the Soviet empire imploded. The media played it up over and over that the Cold War is over, and the U.S. won. They forgot that 90 miles from Florida lies the only communist state in the Western Hemisphere. The media doesn't talk about the continued human rights abuses of Cuba documented by the U.S. State Department. The focus is on how Cuba dealt with the loss of its Soviet sugar daddy, and how it's a tourist attraction. Fidel Castro is pictured more as a grandfatherly figure with a big U.S. chip on his shoulder rather than the brutal, evil thug he is. While the U.S. stock market goes up, and we (rightfully) savor the fruits of our abundance, Cuba falls further and further behind.
"Back to the Fatherland":
A quote from an editorial in the Washington Times:
Due to the government's sorry handling of the whole affair, America should view Elian's departure soberly. Elian's freedoms will be brutally repressed in Cuba. Hopefully, the saga doesn't quite end here. Elian is but six years old, and, according to many, a miracle child.
Gov. Jeb Bush, while publiclly quiet over Elian's struggle, tried to persuade the INS to allow Elian to stay.
"E-Mails Show Jeb Bush Lobbied for Elian's Freedom":
A last-ditch effort was made by Judicial Watch to keep Elian in the U.S. Lazaro allowed Larry Klayman to be brought in as co-counsel. While Kendell Coffey was working the Supreme Court angle, Klayman was trying to convince Judge Moore in Miami to reopen the case based on documents that suggest the U.S. government was in cahoots with Cuba. Obviously, the effort didn't succeed. Newsmax.com has been questioning the legal efforts of Lazaro's lawyers. It may sound a lot like Monday morning quarterbacking, but such an evaluation is healthy and reasonable.
"Hail Mary Time in Miami":
Elian's lawyers filed their brief with the U.S. Supreme Court. The argument rests on one question, "Can the INS deprive an alien child of his statutory and constitutional right to apply for asylum without conducting any hearing of any kind -- or even interviewing the child himself?" Justice Kennedy can decide whether to continue an injunction that would keep Elian in the U.S. while the court decides to hear the case. He has until Wednesday when the injunction from the 11th Circuit expires.
"Elian appeal filed with U.S. Supreme Court":
The headline on National Review's website said it succinctly, "It's All Over." The 11th Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals denied Elian's lawyers' request to appeal the ruling earlier this month denying Elian an asylum hearing. The court in its ruling said the INS decision that only Elian's father could request asylum "was the deliberate and official position of the pertinent agencies of the executive branch of our government." Elian's lawyers said they will file an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday. If the court refuses to hear the case, Elian could return to Cuba as soon as Wednesday because the Atlanta federal court's injunction preventing Elian from leaving the U.S. expires then.
Armando Gutierrez, spokesman for the Miami family, responded to the ruling, "We remain convinced of the justice of Elian's cause, a cause for freedom. ... If Elian is wrongly returned to Cuba, there is no power in our nation that can release him from the grasp of that island's communist dictator."
Juan Miguel's lawyer, Greg Craig, gloated over the ruling and said Juan Miguel looked "forward to resuming a normal life with their friends and family." That "normal" life includes state-sponsored indoctrination, slave labor in sugar cane fields, and imprisonment for political dissent.
Janet Reno can't wait to get Elian on a plane bound for Cuba to get this whole affair off her back. "Now that the court has conclusively upheld our decision, I am hopeful that this father and son will soon be able to move on with their lives together," Reno said. They will be able to live their lives under the boot of a communist dictator.
Regardless of the ruling, Castro continues to prepare for a huge rally for later today.
Since the chance of the Supreme Court taking Elian's case is slight, Elian's last hope is for Congress to subpeona him. Jack Thompson at Newsmax.com writes, "It would have worked before. It can work again. He can be subpoenaed over and over again until Jan. 20, 2001." After that, the hostile Clinton administration would be out of office, and Elian would have the legal right to ask for U.S. citizenship because he would have lived in the U.S. over 1 year. Please call (no time to write or e-mail) your Congressmen and Senators to ask them to do whatever's in their power to keep Elian free.
"Court Ruling Means Elian Could Go Home Next Week":
11th. Circuit Court ruling:
"Cuba Welcomes Elian Court Ruling, Vows to Fight On":
"Elian Gonzalez Could Return to Cuba in 5 Days":
Judicial Watch says Elian's lawyers didn't take advantage of the documents they found linking INS actions with the Cuban government. "Inexplicably, little of the documentation was mentioned, much less used as evidence for the record. As a result, Judicial Watch attempted an emergency effort to submit the documents to the appeals court through an amicus curiae, or friend of the court, brief. Apparently, these documents were not considered by the appeals court – perhaps because they were not substantially provided by the lawyers for the Gonzalez family themselves – who had legal standing to do so," Judicial Watch said in a press release.
"Judicial Watch: Court Followed Polls, Not Law":
Time Daily knows Castro will take full advantage of his victory. "And Castro will certainly do his best to cap that by turning celebrations of the boy's return into the ultimate shot of ideological Viagra for his flagging revolution. It'll be a Fidel fiesta in which Juan Miguel Gonzalez may be a willing participant," wrote Tony Karon.
"Elian Gonzalez, Your Jet to Havana Is Waiting...":
Stephen Legomsky, a law professor at Washington University in St. Louis doesn't think the Supreme Court will want to hear the case. "The fact that not a single judge on the 11th Circuit favored even polling the court on rehearing the case is an indication of how much consensus there was behind this decision." The Supreme Court usually hears cases where there is legal disagreement.
"Full Court Rejects Elián Asylum Plea":
The response in Miami was subdued. No riots, no crowds in the streets, no organized protests. The Cuban American community is accepting the fact that the chances of Elian remaining in the U.S. are slim.
"Cuban Exiles Sadly Resigned to Elián's Fate":
After finding new evidence, authorities think Elian wasn't floating in the water last November as long as first believes, and the escape from Cuba wasn't a for-profit human smuggling operation. "It was more a venture among family and friends. In certain ventures aliens pool their resources and cooperate," said a U.S. Border Patrol official.
"Family Ties Spurred Rafters on Elián Trip":
Newsmax.com published photos from a Father's Day celebration Elian attended in Washington, D.C. The photos show Elian followed by armed guards. There is also speculation about Cuban religious ceremonies taking place. You can't tell from the photos because they're still pictures and obstructed. There has been some thought that Castro pays attention to the local Santeria (a flavor of voodoo) to gauge Cuban sentiment, but I doubt religious ceremonies took place last Sunday. Communist ideology is athiestic. This was a victory celebration over the Cuban American community and anti-communists.
"Exclusive: Photos Reveal Elian's Day Out":
With the political winds blowing against embargo supporters, the House of Representatives will probably pass a bill lifting part of the Cuban embargo to allow food shippments to Cuba. The Cuban embargo should be an issue left to itself, but some Congressmen from agricultural districts took advantage of the public abandoment of the Cuban American community.
"Leaders Facing Defeat on Cuba":
For Father's Day, Elian signed a letter to Castro and sent him "an affectionate greeting, and a well-deserved kiss." Juan Miguel also signed the letter printed in Granma. With Castro on the verge of victory, he just loves to twist the blade in the hearts of the Cuban American community and freedom-loving anti-communists.
"Elian Wishes Fidel Castro 'Happy Father's Day'":
When defeats happen, targets are needed for blame. The legal losses by Elian's lawyers have brought Miami lawyer Jack Thompson and Donato Dalrymple to ask for new legal counsel for Elian. A Miami radio show host said he lost his job for having them vent their criticism on the air.
"Radio Host: Elián Talk Killed Show":
6.17.00The LA Times is tired of Elian's struggle. The first paragraph of an editorial reads, "Here we go again. In their determination to somehow keep the boy in the United States, the distant relatives of Elian Gonzalez, the 6-year-old Cuban castaway, have petitioned a federal appellate court to review a ruling. This is their right, but the only result of a rehearing would be to keep open a wound that long has needed healing."
The paper thinks the costs to Elian and the government ($6 million) are too high to continue the legal battle.
Then the editorial asks, "Is there no point at which the family will accept the outcome of this matter?" I would hope they will continue to fight for Elian's human rights until victory is achieved or all peaceful means have been exhausted. Freedom is precious. Since Lazaro is a Cuban exile, he knows what it's like to live without it.
The recent pictures of Elian's communist indoctrination on U.S. soil and the revelations of U.S/Cuban coordination only strengthen Lazaro's resolve. A boys humanity is at stake.
I guess if the LA Times is bored with Elian, they can just wait for the next episode of Survivor.
"It Keeps Going and Going and . . .":
The latest appeal revolves around a recent Supreme Court ruling. Elian's lawyers say the ruling "determined that the courts could review the decisions of federal agencies if they were based only on informal policies, not formal regulations." If the documents discovered by JudicialWatch are any indication, deciding to return Elian to Cuba was an informal process (with coordination with the Cuban government).
"Elián's Miami Family Perseveres with Appeal in 'Uphill' Legal Battle":
Thanks for your patience while I was away on vacation.
Lazaro Gonzalez's lawyers filed their appeal yesterday asking the full 12-judge appeals panel in Atlanta to review the lower court ruling that denied Elian an asylum hearing. If the court decides to make a ruling, Elian probably would be ordered to remain in the U.S.
"Miami Relatives Appeal Elian Case":
"Florida Relatives File Appeal in Elián Case":
From documents [more documents] gathered by Judicial Watch, the Washington Times came to the conclusion that the White House's priority was returning Elian to Cuba to satisfy Castro and then develop a legal and media plan to cover their butts. The editorial goes on to say, "If administration officials put pressure on the INS to do the bidding of a communist dictator on the Elian case, the public should know about it."
"The Cuban Connection":
"Cuba, U.S. 'Coordinated' Elian Seizure Strategy":
Elian's lawyers (who still haven't seen their client since April's raid) sent a letter to Janet Reno demanding an explanation for the INS' "irregularities."
"Elián Relatives' Lawyers Demand Explanations for 'Irregularities'":
Newsmax.com reports that Ken Starr's old law firm Kirkland & Ellis has been brought on to help with the appeal. More legal muscle is always good, but this feeds the Newsmax.com conspiracy crowd who thinks Kendell Coffey is purposely tanking this case because of his Democratic Party connections. In a related story, Newsmax.com reports that Krikland & Ellis donated $8500 to Hillary Clinton's Senate campaign.
"Ken Starr's Old Law Firm Joins Elian Case":
ElianWatch will be on hiatus for a few days. I will be on vacation. See you on 6.14.
My analysis of last Thursday's Appeals Court ruling is over at Enter Stage Right. Here's an excerpt:
While the ruling is another victory for Fidel Castro, Greg Craig, Juan Miguel, and all their communist-sympathizing friends, it does not let the Clinton administration off the hook. Since the INS's change of heart last December when it decided that a Florida state court was not the place where this issue should be settled, the administration said it was a matter of law for Elian to be returned to his father. The court dismissed this claim saying "immigration law of the United States provided the INS with no clear answer." So the INS had to develop a policy to deal with this situation. That's is not the rule of law; that's the rule of Reno. Before Elian was washed upon Florida's shore, there was nothing like Elian's case so the INS had to create a policy. Their first idea was to let the state court settle the custody dispute. But after Fidel Castro screamed, the INS changed its mind and said state courts had no authority in this case. The Appeals Court ruled that the INS has wide discretion on immigration matters.
"Outside the Border of Reasonable Choices":
Despite the pleas of many newspaper editorial boards, Lazaro Gonzalez will continue his legal fight to keep Elian in the U.S. "Of course, I'm going to appeal," said Lazaro.
"Elián's Great-Uncle: 'I'm Going to Appeal'":
CBS News obtained a debriefing report from the federal agents who stormed Lazaro Gonzalez's home in April. There are some contradictions between what the agents said happened and what Gonzalez family and friends claim happened. The report says, "No one on the team threatened to shoot anyone during the operation." Both Marysleysis Gonzalez and Donato Dalrymple say that the agents shouted, "Give us the boy, or we'll shoot!" The report also says, "No team member struck anyone with a weapon during the operation." I guess that means the NBC soundman hit himself in the head during the Easter raid.
"Gov't Report On Elian Raid":
"Report Clears Elian Raiders Despite Eyewitness Claims":
While some legal experts think the chances of another appeal succeeding are slight, University of Miami law professor David Abraham knows the reason Lazaro and his lawyers are pressing on. "The real goal is, as it has been from the outset, to keep Elian here for a year and a day ... so as to be able to employ the Cuban Adjustment Act, which entitles those coming from Cuba legally or illegally to stay in the United States," said Abraham. Also, legal delay give Juan Miguel more time to reconsider returning to Cuba (however slight the possibility is).
"Scant Legal Hope Seen for Elian's Miami Relatives":
In another possible legal delay tactic, Judicial Watch, filed a motion to prevent Juan Miguel and Elian from leaving the the U.S. until deposed in their $100 million lawsuit on behalf of Donato Dalrymple.
"Judicial Watch Files Emergency Motion to Keep Elian in U.S.":
James Bovard in The American Spectator:
As we learned from the Clinton administration and much of the media, a machine gun in the hands of a federal agent is now a symbol of benevolence and concern for a child's well-being. The ensuing battle over the raid has gone to the heart of the administration's efforts to anesthetize Americans to government.
"Good Government Guns": [via End the War on Freedom]
The AP has a good review of some of the events of the past few days.
"Elián's Dad Makes Plea to Relatives":
Castro organized 500,000 people outside the U.S. Special Interest Section to demand Elian's return. It was one of the largest demonstrations to date. I have to commend Reuters for the accurate coverage of the event. The story mentions "meticulously staged mobilizations" and the "state-owned buses" used to get people to the demonstration. It shows that the Cuban protests haven't been the spontaneous, grassroots events the Cuban government claims they are. They're a complete contrast to last months Internet-organized, pro-Elian rallies in the U.S.
"Half a Million Cubans March to 'Free' Elian":
Marisleysis González, yesterday, asked to see Elian. "I don't see why we're not allowed to see him. We took care of him for five months and we did the best we can. And I feel that we as a family should be able to see this little boy," she said.
Juan Miguel has said that he will allow a meeting if the Miami family drops its legal fight for an asylum hearing for Elian. Seeing Elian in exchange for giving up all hope for his freedom? That's not much of a choice.
"Family Makes Appeal for Reunion":
The Appeals Court has ruled that Elian is NOT entitled to an asylum hearing.
However, Lazaro Gonzalez and his lawyers could appeal the ruling to the entire 12-person Court of Appeals or to the U.S. Supreme Court. If the case went to the Supreme Court, any arguments would take place in the fall in the earilest.
CNN brought up an interesting point. If the legal rangling takes long enough, and Elian stays in the U.S. for a year, he'll be eligible for permanent residency. But that all depends on if the Appeals Court lifts the injuction preventing Elian from leaving the U.S. If that's lifted, all legal moves are moot because Juan Miguel will take Elian back to Cuba.
"Court Rules Against Elian Asylum Hearing":
"Elian Cannot Seek Asylum":
"Court Rejects Elian Asylum Claim":
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