Friday, November 13, 2009

The Elian Saga

It was a conflict that separated two families in geographical latitudes and political attitudes. The protagonists were unknown people, prominent politicians, and two countries in permanent gunfire. The price was a little boy who lost everything: his mother, his home and his natural surroundings.

Elian Gonzalez made headlines around the world in 2000. Elian fled Cuba in the arms of his mother Elizabeth without his father’s knowledge. In their way, the small boat failed and drawn claiming the life of ten people and Elian’s mother. The little boy was rescued by fishermen.

The Elian story is typical of how a simple family business becomes a circus when the Cuban-American disagreement is involved.

I was in Cuba when the tragedy happened and from the beginning my opinion always was that the boy had to be with his father. There is no question about it. All those who challenged the natural law were backing a monstrosity: refusing to give all the rights to his father means that people who are living in totalitarian regimes don’t have the rights to have children and any estate in the world could challenge their paternity as parents.

From the beginning, the polls showed how the sides handled the case. The Cuban-American community in US backed almost entirely that Elian should stay in Miami. Meanwhile, two-thirds of Americans thought Elian should be returned to his father.

The case showed overwhelmingly that the Cuban-American community in US was biased by political issues about the Castro regime, instead of being concerned about what was essentially the case.

It was a ridiculous circus, a line up of politicians covering Elian with an American Flag. Remember, my dear Ros-Lethinen? The media coverage around the house of Elian’s relatives, the tearful tragicomedy of some of them in national television, the long standoff of the old bunch of Cuban “patriots” protesting, the police, the lawyers, even the attempts to make Elian an American citizen made the whole situation a typical picture of a Banana Republic anchored in the heart of Florida.

I just want to ask a couple of questions:

Why the American government didn’t act more expeditive and return the little boy immediately to his father in Cuba?

• What would have happened if the little boy had been from Haiti rather than Cuba?

There is no question that the Castro component played a role in the drama. It was the darkest moment in the history of the Cuban-American community in US. They set themselves in the wrong side of the story, letting Castro to stand alone and tall in that moment, and he played brilliantly his role.

The most damaging moment was when a group of exiles burned an American flag in the streets of Miami. That moment showed to the American people at what length that community went.

November 21 was the day when Elian was wandering in the sea. In a few days there will be 10 years since then and still the syndrome of Elian is floating in the Cuban-Americans, especially in some anti-Castro groups and politicians.

Remembering those days I would like to share what I read about this case in The Washington Post, written by Richard Cohen:

Elian and Juan Miguel Gonzalez, son and father. The former is an innocent child, the latter a man whose boy was taken from him. Elian has behaved like a typical 6-year-old, Juan Miguel like a typical father. And most of the politicians like typical fools
Outstanding truth.