Elian Gonzalez and Cuba

Elian’s father wants him back. Why does the US want this boy? Isn’t it bad enough that his mother died? Why can’t he go live with his father?

I believe the argument is that his mother died so he could be free. Sending him back rather takes away from her martyrdom.

That said, I don’t know, legally, how it should work out.

It seems that the mother and father disagreed on where they boy should live. Or, perhaps, the father might have allowed him to stay with his mother, even if he disagreed. Something like, “Cuba is better than the US, but as long as your mother will look after you, its ok to go with her.” Or something like that.

In any case, there is no mother any more, so all that is moot. The father wants him.

I suspect that this question will be unanswerable unless we first explain why the USA likes having undocumented Cubans enter the US illegally, whereas undocumented Mexicans get shot upon attempting to enter the US illegally.

It’s especially distressing that U.S. policy clearly states that Cuban children recovered from our waters are to be immediately returned to their parents, even if the parents are in Cuba.

THe other night on NBC News, there was footage of some Congresswoman from Florida throwing a birthday party for the OBVIOUSLY unhappy boy, and at one point she literally draped him in an American flag. Looks like someone has aspirations to higher office.

The way this boy’s life has been made into a political football really repels me.

Phil, Is the policy distressing or is the government’s failure to follow it distressing?

Who ever let this boy set foot on US soil gave Castro a PR coup that he will be able to milk for months.

If the child were from any country other than Cuba or if he had landed in any state other than Florida, he would be back home with his father by now. the mother wanted to live in America. She wanted her child with her. She died trying to make it happen. Fine. It is a sad story. But severing a child from his remaining parent for no reason other than political ideology is not a policy worthy of an enlightened nation.

The best lack all conviction
The worst are full of passionate intensity.

I get the impression (from Spiritus Mundi and elsewhere) that Floridians view this issue very differently than most others.

My guess is that this is because Cuban expatriates would tend to feel that anything is better than Cuba, even if one is separated from his remaining parent, whereas non-Floridians percieve Cuba as not so bad. Am I close?

The boy’s American relatives would like him to stay in the U.S. However, none want to assume custody of him.

IMO, he would’ve been home by now if Castro hadn’t gone public with his demands for the child to be returned to Cuba as the gov’t doesn’t want to be seen as capitulating to Castro. The lawyer for the U.S. relatives has said that they’re trying to work this out within the family and return custody to the father but Castro’s “politicizing” of the situation has made it worse.

On thinking about this as a father, I can now say without any hesitation, that I think the boy should be returned to his father.

People should not be punished for having the “wrong” political views. Nobody has accused the father of abuse. Nobody has accused him of being a bad father. The boy should be returned. Period.

I am afraid the argument that Castro’s politicizing of the event is at fault for the delay in the boy’s return to Cuba doesn’t jibe with the facts. The boy would already be in Cuba, in accordance with stated US policy, if not for the initial politicizing of the situation by the expatriate Cuban community in Florida. Castro did not initiate the political battle. He is simply taking advantage of it, which should surprise no one.

The best lack all conviction
The worst are full of passionate intensity.

Castro didn’t politicize the event. His words were “if the U.S. authorities are not idiots, the boy will be returned within 72 hours…”; not the “ultimatum” so gleefully reported by the US press.

US, and international law are pretty clear: dad gets him. Moral law ? With these facts, Dad gets him - no other “moral” option… None of this jingoistic “Cuba is a hellhole” b.s., as that is a judgement call, and a moot point which shouldn’t be brought up, similar to “fruit of the poisonous tree” legal theory…

That is most definitely an ultimatum. By implying that the U.S. authorities would be idiots not to, he is implying that there will be will be reprocussions. What is that if not an ultimatum? You have to understand that any ultimatums that Castro makes have to be veiled ones, because he really doesn’t have much power to back much of it up.

As for what should happen to the little boy? At this point there shouldn’t be any quick decisions. There should be a hearing to decide what is best for his welfare. The father should have an opportunity to be there either in person (Castro would never let that happen) or via teleconferencing. I also believe that the boy should be asked what he wants, although that probably shouldn’t be the only deciding factor. The boy’s mother died to get him here, she and the others sacrificed themselves to put him on one of only two inner-tubes they had so that he might live and be able to complete the journey. There WAS a reason she left her husband and there WAS a reason she left Cuba. She gave her life for those two reasons, so I don’t believe that we should be so quick to return the child to an environment that his own mother was so determined to take him out of.

And there IS a possibility those reasons aren’t quite as compelling as you think they are. Maybe she was trying to give her little boy the best life possible. On the other hand, maybe she owed someone money. The point is we really don’t know.

There are thousands of children out there who are missing because one parent decided they had a reason to take the kid somewhere else. Shi’ite Muslim men who think they have a religious duty to take their children back to the Middle East without consent of the kids’ American mother don’t seem to get the same sympathy.

I can hardly disagree more. The child at the moment is being forcefully separated from his one living parent and from the culture in which he was raised. He is in a strange land, surrounded by strangers who are using him as a tool for political purposes. (Note: I do not say that some of them do not also have altruistic motives, but those motives themselves stem from political ideology.)

There has been no evidence raised of mistreatment by the father. There have not even been any allegations that the father is in any way unfit. The only reason that advocates argue for him to stay here is a vehement hatred for the political system of his homeland. This is not sufficient reason to forcefully separate a child from his parent.

The best lack all conviction
The worst are full of passionate intensity.