RE: Child's Way: America is the Right Home for Elian Gonzalez [March 2000]
We received over one hundred emails about Anthony Marciano's recent column on the Elian Gonzalez situation. The opinions have been extremely varied, passionate and evenly balanced between allowing Gonzalez to stay and Gonzalez being forced to leave. The following are a cross-section of the responses.
» Continue these discussions and give your own feedback on Elian Gonzalez in our Soapbox Forum.
What Are Authorities Thinking?
I am appalled that he would be sent back especially without Janet Reno and authorities meeting with this child who has survived so much. It would seem that all hope would be removed from his heart and soul if he is sent back without his expressed desire to go. This child lost his mother and endured a horrific time at sea and we will just send him back? What is Castro holding over the heads of sensible people in positions of authority, who say simply that it is in the best interest of the child to return him to Cuba and his father?
His Father Has Legal Custody
If the situation were reversed, and Cuba was holding a small child whose American father wanted him back, why, all hell would break lose. Elian must go back to Cuba with his father. It is painfully simple: he is a child, his father has legal custody. Unless it can be proven that the father is likely to be in some way abusive to this kid, there is no legal or ethical reason not to return him to Cuba. Certainly I would choose democracy over communism -- I don't mean to imply otherwise. I just mean that, while Elian may not have all the material goodies in Cuban that American kids have, and while he might never attain the same kind of opportunities in his homeland that he might in the U.S., I'm not at all sure that this boy would not live a happy life with his father in Cuba. This whole issue has become a huge political firecracker -- while the basic, bottom-line is that Elian must go back to his father, and the longer his relatives in Miami drag it out, the harder it will be for Elian. Where is Soloman when we need him?
Freedom Outweighs All Else
The seizure of Elian Gonzalez should not only be viewed as a terrorist action by OUR government, but the death of freedom in this country. We should all be shocked and outraged by this hideous act.
Elian Gonzalez should remain in the USA. His father and his new family should also remain in the USA if they want custody of young Elian. The U.S. government's decision to give custody of Elian to his father and returning him to Cuba -- a repressive communist society -- should outrage every freedom-loving citizen on this planet. Legalists may argue that the "order of Law" must be followed. But in this special case Elian's Human Rights to live in a free society should outweigh the "order of law."
A Child Needs A Father
Don't forget about how important a father's love is towards his children. We have many children in the United States that have all the freedom they want and don't have fathers. These kids end up becoming misfits of society. I believe many of today's social problems, such as crime, drug abuse and teenage suicide are the result of absent fathers. Is Elian really better off staying here in United States without his father?
I believe Elian Gonzalez should be returned to his father. For several reasons,
- Juan Miguel Gonzalez is his father. It isn't the U.S. government's job to decide what families should be broken up.
- How many cuban refugees are turned away every day? How many have had an act of congress even considered for them to stay?
- How many tax payer dollars are spent on keeping this thing going?
- He is just a kid. If he goes back to Cuba Castro wont waste his time to harm him; if anything Elian will be worshiped because he is the reason Cuba defeated the mighty United States.
Great column. Americans do not understand that in countries like Cuba, the citizens of the country must endure mind games every day. I lived in Cuba some 30 years ago. The wounds are always there. If they cannot destroy you mentally and emotionally, they'll get to you through the ones you love.
Freedom is the American Way
Americans have forgotten the images of parents thrusting their children through barbed wire fences in Berlin, Hungary, China and Vietnam. We used to know how bad communism was.
That Cubans have been throwing themselves into shark-infested waters to escape Castro for 40 years prove that this system is "slavery." What would Clinton-loving, communist sympathizers do with a black child in N.Y. in 1860? The fugitive slave law stated that the child must be sent back to slavery. "Leftists" in the form of Abolitionists refused to comply with the fugitive slave law. Where is that American tradition now?
So much was sacrificed. Elian should by all means remain in this country. There is a reason God allowed this child to survive ... He belongs with his father ... I agree totally with your comments on Elian Gonzalez. He needs to stay in the United States and God help him do so ... Of course, he should stay here ... No one should be forced to live in a totalitarian state ... Shame on our government ... send him back ... These people are criminals and should no longer be allowed freedom in this country ... Let's ask Elian! ... Great column ... keep Elian here ... Freedom supercedes anything ... Keep up the good work ... We all feel helpless ... How can you separate a parent and child? ... Clinton, stop trying to run the show, back off and let the two families work out their own issues ... No one should ever be returned to a communist country ... You are the first person that has had exactly the same view point I have ... Today I am embarrassed to be an American ... I am ashamed to be a Republican ... Elian's Miami relatives need to accept reality ... He should be with his father, wherever his father chooses to be.