Is Elian a child of revolution?
News Copy Editor
Yeah, you know the story. Elian Gonzalez was found in an inner tube and he's in Miami, but he's going to be sent back to Cuba soon. The law says he must go back, so you believe he should go back, but do you really know the law?
Some of you reading this right now must be thinking that Elian should be reunited with his father in Cuba because parental rights are more important that Elian's right to freedom in the United States. That would probably be true if parents had any rights in Cuba. When Castro took control of the government, he rewrote the constitution, and the state, instead of parents, has custody of children. He would not be returning to his father but rather to the Communist government.
It's also quite ironic that Castro is now the spokesperson for parental rights, especially considering he kidnapped his own son approximately 30 years ago. While in Mexico, he persuaded his ex-wife to send his son on a two-week vacation, but he never sent him back to his mother. Instead, he sent the boy to a couple in Mexico that he trusted.
Now that Castro is dictator of the island, Cuban parents have limited rights over their children. Elian could stay with his dad until he's 11. Then he would have to work in a farm-labor camp and continue military service. Yeah, it would be easy for me to sit here in front of my laptop in a cushy university and say that Elian must comply with the law. I mean, if that law book in that dusty library says that Elian must go, then doesn't that mean he has to go?
I understand Attorney General Janet Reno has a job to uphold the law, but we can make a difference. If we voice our educated opinions on issues, then maybe laws can be changed. Perhaps there can be a subpoint that states: 1) A refugee child brought by his mother to the United States will be sent back to his father unless (a) his mother divorced his father for physical abuse and she died to reach freedom with the child; (b) or he will be returned to a Communist government where his dad doesn't even have parental rights; (c) or his grandmothers molest him and admit to it on national television.
It's sad but true that we're all tired of hearing about this case that has continued since Thanksgiving when Elian was found in an inner tube off the coast of Florida. Actually, wouldn't you be even more tired of this story if you were Elian? As you play in your yard, cameras are watching your every step while the Cuban and American governments juggle their own political agendas.
Forget that Elian is Cuban or that there is a large Cuban-American community in Miami supporting him. He is a child with a politically controlled fate whose father is under complete Communist control.
I cannot begin to imagine the fate that awaits Elian. Beneath the post-cold war Communism vs. Democracy rivalry there is a six-year old boy. Perhaps the Cuban-American community has used Elian as an icon of freedom, but Castro could just as easily use him as a Communist symbol, a child of the revolution, when he returns to Cuba.
All Inside Stories for Monday, April 10, 2000