Choice for Elián easy, obvious
Date: Mon, 10 Apr 2000 07:23:26 EDT
Subject: Caruso Column for Tuesday, April 11th
For the Tuesday, April 11, 2000 edition
By Gary J. Caruso
Anti-Castro demonstrators are Œstupid, stupid, stupid‚
It is tragic that six-year-old Elian Gonzalez has become the pawn of the
zealously anti-Castro Cuban exiles in Florida. The psychological impact of
making this young boy a celebrity is but one negative effect being
perpetuated by the anti-Castro zealots. Elian‚s Miami relatives have even
suggested that Castro will execute the child if he returns to Cuba. In
preparation for civil disobedience, the fever pitch has effected the mayor of
Miami-Dade County who initially opposed Federal intervention by threatening
to prevent local police from supporting Federal marshals.
I cannot think of a better description for the anti-Castro exiles‚ antics
than to use a favorite phrase television‚s Judge Judy often employs to
summarize a series of actions in her courtroom. Judge Judy regularly
characterizes bizarre conduct such as that which is currently on display in
Miami as, „Stupid, stupid, stupid!‰
The U.S. relatives of young Elian are wrong in their actions and thinking.
First, rather than place the boy in a foster home, the government temporarily
put the boy in a home with relatives. That temporary custody does not
automatically give those relatives the right to keep the boy, nor does the
custody validate the family‚s credentials for permanent care. Their
insistence that they will not hand over the child to his father is part of an
appalling internal family feud.
Anti-Castro exiles are so hateful and defiant, they employ any means,
including disregard of U.S. law and the exploitation of a six-year-old
innocent boy, to demean and overthrow Fidel Castro. While freeing Cuba
through the downfall of Castro is an admirable goal, using hate to blind
one‚s common sense and family decency is not healthy. For the mayor of
Miami-Dade County to join the family‚s resistance and defiantly oppose the
Attorney General, like George Wallace did when he stood in the Alabama
schoolhouse door, panders to mob mentality. The mayor‚s actions also violate
his oath to uphold the laws of the United States and invalidate the rule of
law. It is that principle that is the strength of the American system and
supposedly the reason the family wants the child to remain in the U.S. in the
The harsh stand by the Miami-area exiles has actually strengthened their
Communist opponents. The exiles‚ actions have reinvigorated Castro and his
supporters in Cuba. The hot-headed confrontation and hard-line resistance by
Cuban exiles has rallied Communists in Cuba like no other issue in decades.
Young Cubans identify with their brother Elian who is being held from his
father and see this as a fight against the oppressive, giant United States.
Their greatest joy, hollow though we consider it, will be when young Elian
lands back on his native soil.
And young Elian will eventually land on his native Cuban soil. All
law..family, immigration, juvenile...sides with the father‚s rights. The boy
is too young to know what he really wants, so he cannot make a judgment to
ask for asylum. Every parent wants custody of the children when a spouse
dies. Courts can only prevent that scenario when abuse or neglect can be
If one were to use the Miami family members‚ logic that this country is
prosperous, free, and life here is in the best interest for the boy, then our
immigration laws would be unfair and void. The U.S. returns illegal Cuban
refugees...which Elian is...who do not reach land unless aliens can show that
they qualify for political asylum. If the U.S. was to alter its laws to keep
Elian, we would have totally open borders and quickly be overrun by Cubans as
well as other refugees from most of the Third World.
Further following the flawed logic of the Gonzalez family in Miami, it would
be our government‚s obligation to infiltrate American-based hate groups,
cults, militia groups and other „harmful‰ organizations and remove those
children from their parents. The question becomes, what should our government
consider when assessing the quality of life for Elian or American children?
Should it consider the politics, the living conditions, the opportunities or
the abundance of wealth? Why should Elian be given special consideration just
because Fidel Castro is a Communist who is hated by a large community in
Miami? Are Neo-Nazis living within our U.S. borders not as harmful to their
The tragedy for the Cuban exiles is that they are using Castro-like tactics
to „save‰ Elian. To them, the boy must remain free in the U.S. regardless of
the law. They are running in a circle as long as they are consumed by their
hate. Granted, most of them are currently without a homeland. Someday Castro
will no longer rule the island, and maybe these exiles can return home. Maybe
many of them will opt to remain in the United States or bring their remaining
family members from Cuba. But that day has yet to arrive, and they are not
the dictators of young Elian‚s fate.
Gary J. Caruso, Notre Dame ‚73, is serving in President Clinton‚s
administration as a Congressional and Public Affairs Director and is
currently assisting Vice President Gore‚s White House Empowerment Commission.
His column appears every other Friday, and his Internet address is
All Viewpoint Stories for Tuesday, April 11, 2000