the calm waters off the shores of Florida to the severed ties between
two nations, a little boy by the name of Elián Gonzalez was plucked from the
sea and catapulted into the callousness of national ideologies and into the
spotlight of an international custody battle. Elián is a child of innocence who knows
no malice, and for many, he has become an icon for freedom. But this six year old has lost more than just his
mother in a political game of finder's keepers. He has lost his
anonymity and his mother's dream of him living a life free of tyranny, for even if he
is permitted to stay in the United States, his actions and his life will
always be under the glass of public scrutiny.
Now for me to try to understand the situation
surrounding this little
boy, I must first unmask any political pretensions and self-regarding ideologies,
and for all fairness, I must take no notice of them; sort of evening the playing
field if you will.
To begin, I must first forget the fact that the 1966 Cuban
Adjustment Act gave Elián Gonzalez permanent residency status the moment he
stepped foot on American soil. After that, I must ignore informed people who say Elián
was born two years after his parents were divorced and his mother had sole
custody of him, while the father played no role in the raising of Elián.
I must also ignore their claims that the father hasn't see Elián in almost
three years. And I must not believe these people when they say Elián's
birth certificate, with Juan Miguel Gonzalez's as the father, was created two
days after word had came of the death of Elián's mother. And I must
likewise dismiss claims that Elián was kidnapped
by his mother, and the father had abused the mother. Since there are so
many different stories being spread throughout the news media, it's impossible
to know which ones to believe. Next, I must not wonder why our federal
government feels it necessary to overstep its authority and infringe on the sovereign
rights of the State of Florida to rule on a family matter. Then I mustn't allow myself
to cry for a young mother who sacrificed her life so her child could live in a
so-called free nation. And lastly, I can not let myself feel shame for any
American who cares little for freedom and would send Elizabet Broton Rodroguez's son
back to Cuba.
So now with those distracting notions out of the
way and with the playing field somewhat level, I can focus on the real issue at hand--Elián
and what is best for him. In a time when I see a little boy who could lead two feuding
nations into resolving past differences, I see only self-interests being swapped for the innocence and
freedom of a little boy. I see no partaker in this matter concerned about what's best for
Elián, save one. Marisleysis Gonzalez is the only person who seems to be
genuinely concerned for little Elián and his well-being. The father, the US
Justice Department and the dictator
of Cuba all vow the return of little Elián to Cuba, while Elián's relatives in Miami
all vow to never let him be returned to Cuba. Someone has to give in, and I'm sure it won't be the
powers that be. Nevertheless, a single question still remains unanswered. What's best for
Juan Miguel Gonzalez - A pawn
who could end the game with a single move.
I've tried to put myself in Juan Miguel's shoes to
try to understand why it has
taken him nearly five months to come to the United States and claim his son.
Personally, I would've been gone seconds after I learned what happened. I would've been on the very next plane to Miami, but he
didn't and I wonder why. At first I questioned whether he really wanted
or not, and I even
went so far as to doubt his love for his child, but now I think I
Passports and Visas do take time, maybe a week or two,
but not five months. So I think something else has been running through this man's
mind. Of course, this could only be answered by him, but I believe it's
very likely he hoped the United States government would have been true to its word and
let his son become a American citizen. I believe it's every parent's desire
for his or her child to live a better life than he or she has, and I believe Juan Miguel delayed
long as possible in hopes his son would be granted a better life in the
United States. For this reason, I believe he does indeed love his child, and Juan Miguel does want his
son to live a better life than he has, but I also believe he has found himself caught in a political machine that will not
set him free. However, he could bring this
whole matter to an abrupt end if he requested asylum for himself and his family. Although the Cuba government and
its people would be outraged and angered by such a decision, I don't believe anyone in truth
a father's attempt to better his family's opportunities in life.
The US Justice Department -
Poor decisions bring poor results.
and the Commissioner of Immigration and Naturalization Service, Doris Meissner, among others, want to
reunite Elián with his father simply because Juan Miguel is the sole surviving
parent. But I don't believe anyone has rejected the legality or even the inevitability
of such a reunion. What's being rejected is the return of little Elián to
an impoverished life in a country where everyday commodities and quality health
care, as well as other things most Americans take for granted, are regarded as luxuries and
are designated for only the privileged
and the elite in this communist lead country. I suppose compassion is not
an attribute to be held by someone in power; it could interfere with their
judgment. But to me, the Justice Department has
failed to consider anything rational in this matter, simply because they've ignored the
wishes of Elián's mother and what is actually best for Elián.
As of late, the Justice Department hasn't had a very
good track record in resolving high profile cases. So I see no reason for
them to start making the right decision now. I mean, from their debacles at
Ruby Ridge and Waco to their lousy handling of the Olympic Park bombing, and now to
their latest delusion of protecting us from a monopolizing Bill Gates, Attorney
General Janet Reno hasn't shown prudence or even any wisdom in her decisions.
I truly believe Janet Reno doesn't know what she has done, nor do I believe she
knows what she is doing. She claims she has only followed the letter of
the law in Elián's case. However, some have said this is just not true;
there is no law on the books that says she has to send Elián back to Cuba, but
rather it has been up to her discretion all along. But in any case, I fear the worst for Elián's relatives in
Miami if they try to test Reno's resolve in this matter, because the prospect of taking Elián
hasn't been rolled out. And if the past is any forecast to the future and
knowing the FBI has killed innocent people to end a crisis, then the closure of this
matter may not be as appealing as the public expects,
and I will not be too surprised if this matter ends tragically as well. I just hope
for the sake of all involved, I'm wrong.
Cuba and Fidel Castro
- He will do anything to get Elián back.
As for Fidel and his countrymen, I say let Elián
stay. And to the American people I ask, have we forgotten so quickly how much of a tyrant this man is?
Just four years ago, his air force chased and unlawfully shoot down two unarmed civilian
aircraft over international waters, which resulted in
the deaths of three
American citizens. The Cuban government justified their actions by
claiming these planes intruded into their airspace and dropped anti-Castro leaflets on Havana.
However, international law gives no country the right to shoot down a civilian
aircraft for any reason. And we want to cooperate with this man?
I just wonder if we've become so complacent, so content
in our current prosperity that we've failed to remember this dictator's
past? A ruler who forbids religion in his country and continues to
own citizens who dare voice their opinions against his communist regime.
And according to Cuban exiles, Juan Miguel Gonzalez could never gain full custody
of Elián because the Cuban government controls every aspect of the rearing of their
children. They also claim by the age of eleven, Elián will be sent to a military
school for four years and eventually he'll end up in a labor camp, or worse,
fighting for Castro somewhere in Latin America. One Cuban official even said
Elián is the property of Cuba. Plus, I feel if any concessions have been promised by
this dictator to the Gonzalez family upon Elián's return, these concessions will be taken away the moment
things have cooled down, out of international view.
But then who am I to judge how Castro runs his
country. If he wants to brainwash his country's children in believing his
so be it. But what I'm more concerned about is how eager the US government has
been in siding with this man. I suspect the public isn't being told
the whole story as usual, and to avoid filling the gaps with
speculation, I won't pursue this line of reason any further. However, I do see the
fact that many Cubans risking death to escape Castro's control as a good indication
something is wrong with that country and Elián's
best interests will not be sought in Cuba.
Moreover, it leaves me puzzled as to why Juan Miguel hasn't
requested asylum for himself and his
family. For me, that would have been the first thing out of my mouth the moment I stepped foot
on American soil. That is,
unless Juan Miguel doesn't fear retribution. I mean, sure he talked alone with
but who was with his second wife and child? Is that even his real wife
and child with him? And what kinds of
promises were made about Juan Miguel's family back home in Cuba before he left for
the US? Maybe I'm stretching it here, but I see it as an insurance
policy. Insurance policies are taken out everyday for one thing or
another, so I wouldn't put it past Castro if he indeed had taken out a policy of his own. Threats of reprisal
could be why Juan
Miguel hasn't asked for asylum. In addition, I don't see Castro really caring
very much for Elián, other than his return to Cuba. And I believe Castro would do
to realize that end.
- These people only want what's best for Elián.
It is obvious to me that Elián's relatives in Miami are genuinely concerned
about his well-being and his future. They know he could live a better life
in America than he would in Cuba, no matter what Castro has promised. And it is obvious
to me Elián's relatives are caring, compassionate people who would do him no
would make his mother's dream come true. Elián could only benefit from
such an arrangement.
I also see Elián's second cousin, Marisleysis,
as an inspiration and
a Godsend. She has cared for this little boy since his arrival in America, and has become
what the news media has called Elián's "surrogate mother." And it is
my opinion that it would be an insult if Juan Miguel does not go to Miami and personally thank
these people for caring for his son.
So now this raises several questions. Can these strangers in Miami care for Elián as well as his biological father? Is
this what's really best for Elián? Should he be allowed to remain in the
United States? For me the answers are very easy. Yes, yes and yes.
I believe I can say this because I too lost my mother when I was very young, but
for me the situation was compounded even further when I was abandoned by my
father after the death of my mother. So it is not hard for me to imagine
what this child is going through and what types of obstacles he will face living in
America without his parents. As for me, it would've been
impossible to survive on my own without the intervention of my relatives.
And though this may not be saying much, I didn't turn out half bad.
In conclusion, I see no reason why
Elián's relatives in Miami could not do the same for him as what my relatives did for me.
I truly believe every child in this world should be afforded the best opportunities in
life, and for
Elián that would mean he should be allowed to stay in America--the
of the free, the place where a young mother sought refuge for her only son.
As I wrote this paper, I found myself divided between
two moral dilemmas. The first of which was in my head: I know it to be
morally wrong not to return Elián to his father. This, I do not
refute. Yet the second moral dilemma lay in my heart: It would also be
morally wrong to ignore the dying wishes of Elián's mother. This, I just
could not bring myself to do. I suppose, for me, having lost my own mother
through death and my father through desertion, I've placed a mother's wishes atop a father's. And while I'm all for reuniting Elián with his
father, the wishes of Elián's mother seem to have had more influence on my
heart than the father's wishes on my mind.
I'm certain my position on this matter will be in the
minority, but I do not apologize for following my heart and respecting the
wishes of a young mother. And lastly, I included this postscript because
I felt it important to make clear why I reached the conclusion that I had.
I'm not trying to justify my conclusion, but rather explain it more
clearly. And I thank you for understanding.
Best wishes to you all,
Final Note: Obviously, this paper was written
before the United States Justice Department and Janet Reno took it upon
themselves to assault the laws of our great land, only to make a mockery of our
Constitution and Bill of Rights. I am personally sickened by the actions of our so-called
leaders of today.