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Elian Gonzales reunites with his father and the rule of law prevails!

News Update: Elian Gonzales Reunites With His Father!  04/22/2000

On Saturday April 22 at around 5 am. armed Immigration and naturalization Service (I.N.S) agents raided the Miami house of the relatives keeping Elian Gonzales since he was rescued from the sea after his mother drowned while fleeing from Cuba. Elian's father came all the way from Cuba to claim his son, but the Miami relatives refused to give up the boy. They were holding him as a symbol of their opposition to Castro's government in Cuba. Attorney General Reno gave the order for the boy to be reunited with his father. The relatives in Miami refused despite Elian's father has been in the US. for two weeks and never allowed to see his son. Despite numerous negotiations between Elian's relatives in Miami, the I.N.S and the Attorney General's office the issue was not resolved and Elian's relatives were still in defiance of the law. Undoubtedly, the continuing refusal of the Miami relatives to release Elian led to the Saturday morning's successful raid and Elian was reunited with his father in Washington.

Many times people are over-inflated with emotions due to ideologies or ideational perspectives. At a moment of obsession, a good idea not only becomes very dangerous, it can also be serving selfish motives. Elian's interest was never served by being kept from seeing his father by the Miami relatives. He was being used  by the Cuban community in Miami as a symbol of opposition against Castro's government. But, is this fair to this innocent little boy for being used as a political tool? It is a form of child abuse for anybody to use the issue of Elian Gonzales to further their political causes.

Those who choose to exercise their rights under democracy must respect the rule of the law in a land which gives them so much freedom and liberty. Law and order help to maintain the integrity of a democracy without allowing the exercise of freedom to decay a lawful society into anarchy. You  have the rights in pursuit of happiness under the banners of liberty and freedom, but you do not have the rights to violate the law of the land. Law and order represent part of the greatest beauty of a democratic nation.

Editorial by 'Yinka Vidal Managing Editor, OUTCRY Magazine, April 22, 2000

Is America Playing a Dangerous Political Game With a Six Year Old Cuban Boy?

Many people try to cross over from Cuba to the United States like any other citizens from other countries in pursuit of a better life. Some are lucky after making it to the United States while others are not so lucky as their dream is washed away. Many Cubans drowned trying to cross over to the United States. Some died in cargo-like packages like the Chinese trying to flee Communist China, this past week. The quest in pursuit of happiness under democracy continues.

The story of Elian Gonzalez the six year old Cuban boy was no different from those of others who tried to flee Cuba or from other countries. His natural mother illegally tried to get him away from Cuba and from his natural father. Unfortunately, the mother drowned, and the child survived. It is very sad that the mother died in the process of achieving her dream. But, such behavior of illegally taking this boy from Cuba would be regarded as kidnapping in the United States!  The United States immigration policy is to return Cubans, Mexicans, Haitians or anybody who tries to get into the United States illegally back home except if fleeing from political persecution. At the moment and time when a mother or father puts a child in jeopardy such as this mother did to this boy, that parent is automatically stripped of parental guardianship. The U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service was correct in the first statement with the intention of sending the boy back to his father in Cuba. Attorney General Reno reiterated the government's official position on this issue - - - this should be final.

Now, because a group of Cuban immigrants spoke very loudly in Florida and across the nation,  and some politicians believe they can flex their political muscles, America is supposed to change both the immigration policy and a father's right to the guardianship of his child. Both the Congressional subpoena and the Judge's order are unnecessary --- the child should have been returned to his father in Cuba. No question asked! This is why many people outside the United States are angry with the American policies which are sometimes based on schizophrenic behavior ignited by emotions.

The ploy by another branch of the U.S. government to keep this boy here beyond the date set by the  I.N.S. amounts to nothing but a political football. People causing the delay are trying to make names for themselves at the expense of this little boy. They should be ashamed! This is grossly irresponsible and may constitute a form of child abuse! If we respect Americans' rights and we want other people outside America to respect us, we too must respect the rights of the citizens of other countries regardless of the style of government.

Serious Danger: If the U.S. decides to keep this boy in America because of the arrogance of the so called democracy, a dangerous legal weapon may be given to other countries. The danger in the future will exist in an international marriage if a foreign born parent decides to take a child to his country away from the American parent who has the legal guardianship. The foreign country can decide not to let the child come back to the United States and can legally cite the fear of letting the child becomes a minority in a country where minorities are persecuted and discriminated for being different. If the U.S. disregard the parental rights of other countries, other countries will start disrespecting the parental rights of Americans as well. This situation is bound to mushroom into a giant international crisis if we play politics with this boy. Any sensible politician or government official will stay out of this and allow the I.N.S which is the branch of government responsible for this to handle the matter. No public sentiments or emotional fireball of some political activists should dictate the United States' responsibility to uphold the law!

What is important is not the political system in Cuba nor the fools asking the boy to show victory signs to the media while brain washing the little boy. The interest of the boy should be the determining factor not because a group of people want to make names for themselves. It is very disappointing for presidential candidates to open their mouths arrogantly saying, "Because the mother lost her life in trying to get the boy to freedom, and as a result, the boy should stay in the United States." This is American political arrogance and hypocrisy at its best! Who gives the guardianship of this little boy to the political candidates? Since when do we celebrate the victory of a kidnapper who committed a crime in getting to the United States while others were sent to jail or deported? Any decision to keep this boy in the United States is a violation of the international law and the immigration policy of the United States. It is a dangerous political game that may eventually haunt the United States in the future. If we are a nation of law and order, we must obey the international law and cannot change the rule just because we do not like the outcome.

If it is the policy of the Unites States to free Cubans and Haitians once they make it to the United States, then keeping the boy in the Unites States can be arguable as being consistent with the U.S. immigration policy.  As long as it is the policy of the United States to return Cubans, Haitians and Mexicans back home once they are rescued from the sea or captured from the land, this boy should never be an exception. Those who professed to uphold the law should respect the sovereignty of another nation even if we do not agree with their style of government. If this boy's father is stripped of his parental right because of Cuban's political situation, then all Cuban children must be rescued by the United States government and be brought to America.

Based on the behavior of the child, not too many people will believe that the child knows that he is being brainwashed by the system. If the boy is forced to stay in the United States away from his father knowing that he may never see his natural father again, the boy may grow up to hate what is being done to him at this time. Delaying this boy from going back to the father is not in the interest of the boy! Those who choose to derive political gain from this boy's issue must be ashamed of themselves!

No matter how many bikes this boy gets, no matter if he is freer than a fish in the ocean or becomes a multi-millionaire, none of these can replace the parental love of his father whom he is going to miss. One day the boy will hate the system for taking him away from his father and taking advantage of him this way.

White House's Position: In the middle of all this fiasco OUTCRY Magazine interviews the White House about  President Clinton's position regarding whether the Gonzalez boy should be sent back home. According to the the White House spoke's person, he explains that President Clinton sympathizes with this boy's situation and the political crises incurred. He indicated that politics should not play a role in making a decision about the outcome of the case. "The President's position has remained the same from the beginning of this issue," stressed Mark speaking from the White House Press office.   President Clinton believes and supports the child to go through the process of law in this country. In other words, people should allow the process of American law and order to take its course and politics should not be the determining factor, Mark emphasized.

'Yinka Vidal, Reporting for OUTCRY Magazine

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