Elian: a victim of legacy
The relatives and lawyers for Elian Gonzalez were negotiating in good faith for Elian to be taken to a neutral location in either Maryland or Virginia where Elian could be with his father. But they wanted some “neutral” supervision, so Elian would not be under the complete control of Castro. But, while the negotiations were on-going, federal agents staged a pre-dawn raid on the Miami home where Elian has been staying and took him away, crying and screaming.
History buffs will recall how Hitler used the same tactics of negotiating while planning all along to launch armed attacks. Moreover, the Japanese were negotiating on the eve of Pearl Harbor. Obviously, it works.
Why would Bill Clinton authorize Janet Reno to take such a cruel and unnecessary action? One of the items on Bill Clinton’s legacy-building agenda is an exchange of ambassadors with Cuba. Such a desire doesn’t make sense to conservatives, but it makes perfect sense if you are trying to court favor with the liberal professors who will rush to write the first histories of the Clinton Administration.
But Elian Gonzalez is standing in the way. After Elian was plucked from the sea by American fishermen, he was almost immediately granted a “parole” by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). The INS said the matter of his permanent custody would be decided by a Florida family court. So, it looked like Elian would be handled as a routine case of a refugee applying for and being granted asylum in the United States.
Then, Cuban dictator Fidel Castro decided to demand the repatriation of Elian to Cuba. Immediately, Clinton ordered the revocation of the original INS parole and said the boy must be returned to his father in Cuba.
In her efforts to please Clinton and Castro, Attorney General Janet Reno ignored both the law and the facts of this case. This earned her a blistering rebuke by a three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The panel, by the way, was composed of Reagan, Bush and Clinton appointees.
The court said, “This case is mainly about… the proper exercise of executive discretion.” In sum, the court said Miss Reno and her Justice Department ignored both the law and the facts in this case. Then, the court issued a strict injunction against the removal of Elian from the U.S. until his application for asylum and the appeals filed by his Miami relatives have been adjudicated.
The court did not say that Elian could not be reunited with his father while his father is in the U.S. This facet of the court’s decision was used by Clinton to order the pre-dawn raid to snatch Elian, literally, out of the arms of those who have being caring for him since the death of his mother at sea.
Now, we do not know what protections, if any, will be afforded to little Elian. His Miami relatives almost had an agreement whereby Elian would not be placed under the control of the Cuban government. But if he is, here is what to look for:
We have already seen staged appearances of Juan Miguel carrying his other son even though Latino men, by custom, leave that to women. We will see equally staged scenes of Juan Miguel playing with Elian. And, as history is our witness, the use of mind-altering drugs and psychological pressures on persons who have been “corrupted” by capitalist influences is a given. Look for Elian to start making drug-induced statements condemning his Miami relatives.
If Elian is returned to Cuba, the Castro government says that Elian, because he is the property of the state, will not live with his father. He will be placed in a center with a staff of psychologists and a bevy of “normal” children. The objective, of course, will be to brainwash little Elian so he becomes Castro’s poster boy for anti-American propaganda. Some legacy.
William Hamilton is a syndicated columnist and a featured commentator for USA Today.