Last Updated:Friday - 09/24/2010
May 8, 2000
The sacrifice of Elian Gonzalez
SPECIAL TO THE WCR
The case of young Elian Gonzalez -- the six-year-old Cuban boy who has represented the rope in a five-month tug-of-war between his American relatives and the U.S. Cuban expatriate community on one side; and his father, the Cuban government, and most of the Clinton administration on the other -- poses a philosophical conundrum for family values conservatives like myself.
One argument asserts that from a family-oriented perspective, the boy should be with his one surviving natural parent, his father Juan Miguel Gonzalez - which he now is.
However, that affirmation is tempered by the fact that Elian's nuclear family was dysfunctional, his father is now married to a woman who is not his mother, and his real mother died attempting to provide Elian with what she believed would be a better life in the U.S.
One does not set out to sea on a makeshift raft of inner tubes with a six-year-old unless one perceives their immediate estate to be desperate. Elian might reasonably wonder why, given that his mother was willing to risk both his and her own life to escape from Fidel Castro's island prison, the U.S. government is in such a sweat to re-incarcerate him.
After all, if Elian's mother had survived the passage and managed to set foot on U.S. soil, her refugee status and that of Elian would have been secure.
What seems to have largely been missing from the Elian debate is any consideration of Elian's own wishes, which is why I was delighted to note that the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that there is merit to hearing the boy's side of the story, implicitly admonishing the U.S Immigration and Naturalization Service for automatically assuming that Elian should be returned to Cuba.
In formulating my own provisional opinion on the Elian question, one usually-reliable compass I've applied is factoring in rhetoric from liberals and leftists on this issue. Since those people can usually be counted on to be dead wrong about nearly everything controversial, and they appear in this instance to be singularly of a mind that Elian should be hustled back into the arms of Castro forthwith, my inclination is that the boy would be better off staying with his great-uncle's family in Miami.
Indeed, notwithstanding the opinion of some psychologist "expert" the U.S. Attorney General's Department dredged up to pontificate about the Miami family's alleged "psychological abuse" of Elian (whom the doctor had never met), the lad has by all appearances bonded strongly with his 21-year-old cousin Marisleysis Gonzalez as a surrogate mother, and from my lay-perspective, losing two mother figures inside of six months could be assumed to be pretty psychologically traumatic as well.
Then there is politics, which is inescapable in relation to this issue. The conservative Federalist Digest argues that there are no parental rights under Castro's communist regime, citing a statement from Cuban government spokesman Luis Fernandez that "(Elian) is a possession of the Cuban government. No other entity can remove this."
The Cuban Constitution gives the government draconian authority over how children will be raised. The Children of Fidel Castro, an indoctrination guidebook for the Cuban youth organization, the Young Communist Pioneers, states "Cuba's children belong to the Revolution."
No one understands the ugliness of Castro's regime better than the Cuban emigr‚ community in Miami, many of whose members made their own way to freedom in jury-rigged craft similar to the one that failed Elian's mother and 11 of her companions.
Regarding the U.S. Justice Department's now-executed raid to remove Elian from his Miami relatives' home, Metro-Dade County mayor Alex Penelas vowed: "We will not lend our respective resources, whether they be in the form of police officers or any other resources, to assist the federal government in any way, shape or form to inappropriately repatriate Elian Gonzalez to Cuba."
Bravo Mayor Penelas, but obviously the INS didn't need his help when they broke down the door of Lazaro Gonzalez' house on Easter Eve morning and bodily seized Elian at gunpoint from the arms of one of the fishermen who pulled him from the water last November.
Now that Elian has been reunited with his father, the likelihood of his ever being returned to his Miami relatives would seem slim to nil. One hopes that the Miami Cuban community will make sure that the Clintonites pay dearly for their perfidy at the polls in November, so that the sacrifice of little Elian at the altar of political correctness will not have been entirely in vain.
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