Elian is now with relatives in Miami, Florida, where he
has been staying since his dramatic
rescue at sea last November. His
mother and 10 other Cubans died when
a boat full of illegal immigrants
capsized in their attempt to reach
His father, Juan Miguel Gonzalez, who travelled to Washington 10 days ago, has been trying to meet his son and break the impasse over the
Under ordinary circumstances, it would
have been a simple case of a reunion
between father and son.
But they have been unwittingly caught in
a political fight involving politicians
and powerful Cuban exiles.
These forces have shown little concern
for the child in the name of democracy
In the emotional debate, no one has
bothered to ask whether Elian's father
is fit to raise the child.
Instead, Cuban President Fidel Castro's
policy has become the issue of the dispute. Castro, the argument goes, is
unfit not his father. In Cuba, the
Americans are being attacked for their
unfairness and injustice.
In Miami, Elian's greatuncle, a distant
relative, has the biggest say on
American TV and newspapers.
The child has been videotaped telling
his father he wants to stay in the US.
While his relatives say the video is
authentic, critics are claiming that the
child was coached.
American politicians have ironically tried to force the father to defect.
Politics has taken centre stage,
involving people who have no business in the issue, while denying
The judiciary system has been blatantly
abused and subverted by politicians and
relatives to keep Elian in the US. At
this point, the court has barred Elian
Elian's lawyer goes on TV every night,
using superlatives to claim that Cubans
“walked around fearful and scared'' and that children were unhappy in the communist ruled
Being a lawyer, he has been convincing. Human rights activists have nodded in support.
Elian may possibly have a better future
in the US, one must concede, but six-year-olds do not bother about democracy
and communism. They just want to have a
good time playing with other kids.
Lots of children in Cuba are certainly happy.
Every child belongs to their parents not
Castro, not Clinton and certainly not
The matter nothing to do with politics
and everything to do with simple values
like love and affection. These are what ordinary people talk and care about all
over the world, not just in the US or
To strengthen their case, the
anti-Castro campaigners are
claiming that they “speak for the
people.'' Like many politicians,
they too have freely made such
The fact is that they only represent a small section of the Cuban community in the US. A survey has shown that many Cubans in other parts of the country are embarrassed by the
action of their brethrens.
The same people who speak about the
right to protest peacefully have vowed to use force should the authorities step in to take Elian from his relatives.
And because these campaigners are so
imposing, the majority in Miami who
disagree are fearful of expressing their
It is a case of self-proclaimed
democrats who suppress the rights
of others to speak up, simply because they disagree.
In Cuba, the same political rhetoric is being played up. Elian has been reduced to a political slogan without a thought to the psychological damage
on the boy.
Political rallies are being held,
sometimes in heavy rain, in Cuba
with Cubans listening to boring
politicians reading from prepared
text. These's no escape it's
also on TV.
Elian and his father should go home
soon. They should be together as father and son, and that's all that matters.