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Elian Gonzalez

Little Havana, capital of new banana republic
by Walter Savinovich

I am an American. My mother was born in Cuba. I have sympathized my entire life with the Cuban cause, especially since the rise of Castro, and my understanding of what communism has done to dull that Caribbean jewel. In that light I joined the military and within my 22 years of service I saw the end of the cold war and the downfall of Soviet-sponsored communism. Except in Cuba.

Through the years I saw the injustice of the system and supported the embargo against Cuba, for they were going to succumb to the pressure of freedom. The Cuban people would eventually realize this and revolt against El Caballo (Fidel Castro).

The story of little Elian is rather typical except for his age. Cubans willingly risk their lives to leave that jewel of oppression for freedom and the opportunities that this land offers. Evidently Castro cannot keep the winds of Americana from behind his sugarcane fence.

Hundreds of thousands of ex-patriot Cubans, and their first and second generation children wait for the day when they can return to Cuba once Castro has fallen. Those Cubans that have become U.S. citizens rejected their allegiance to any foreign powers and states and swore loyalty to their new adopted land--and we welcomed them joyfully. Their actions are disingenuous at best for they would reject their new citizenship and return to Cuba, as is their collective dream to return to their tierra at the first opportunity.

When the refugees came here, they eagerly adopted the laws that bind this social experiment together. The laws respected the individual, and their freedom was ensured. This freedom, of course, has a price, for they must work within the structure that holds up our society--they must also follow our laws. That is, of course, until the law of the land does not agree with the vision of these "citizens."

Little Havana, Miami, Dade County, Southern Florida has picked up a new moniker: Banana Republic. Cruel? Harsh? Maybe not. Maybe it's right on, and Elian's plight serves to bolster the validity of this new tag.

In Cuba, Elian stayed with his mother and father, spending time with both. One day his mother executed a plan to leave covertly for the United States and take her son with her. Does not the father have a say in what happens with his son? Why is Elian so different? Politics. Banana Republic politics. The rule of law does not coincide with their collective view.

Elian's mother was a criminal. She kidnapped her son and took him across international borders. This action is recognized all over the world as a criminal act. The fact that she died is tragic for even as a criminal her motivation was noble. The fact that Elian probably saw his mother disappear is tragic. But these facts do not alter another fact: the only person recognized the world over to speak in Elian's behalf is his father, Juan Gonzalez. However, this view does not coincide with the vision of the new Banana Republic.

Lazaro Gonzalez is a criminal. He is an accomplice to an international kidnapping. His crime is aiding in the kidnapping of a child from his father--a criminal act even in Cuba. The truly perverse thing is that the new Banana Republic has seen it fit to abuse our laws in the quest to support a criminal act and work at keeping a child from the only one that can speak for him. Where else, except in the United States, can a group of individuals pervert the law of a land and make their host look inept, idiotic, and unable to enforce its own laws?

The wisdom of King Solomon was once challenged when two women were brought before him, each claiming to be the mother of a child. Each vehemently pleaded to be given reign over the child, each arguing their maternity. Solomon, knowing that true maternal love would not allow harm to a child, issued his famous verdict. The true mother preferred to lose her child rather than allow harm to come to it. Today's drama is similar. The difference, of course, is that Lazaro Gonzalez and the Banana Republic are so bent on keeping Elian here at all costs that they will hurt the boy instead of letting go. You see, by keeping Elian here they've put one over on Castro--the Evil One. To that end, Elian is expendable.

Can Elian recover from his indoctrination into freedom at the hands of his family? Yes, in time. Can any rational individual, after having seen Elian's video, reach any conclusion other than brainwashing? No. Since when does a six-year-old boy make demands of his father? If a child doesn't want to go to sleep at night, how does a parent handle that? With tremendous difficulty, when an uncle is allowed to interfere by using the media to make a spectacle over the father's right to raise his son.

Lazaro Gonzalez related that the current siege in Little Havana is not like the situation in Waco, Texas, instead it is like the Alamo. What Lazaro does not realize is that he really is much closer to the truth than he knows. The Alamo was not a really pretty chapter of American History. Like all winners, we were able to modify the recounting of events to best suit our needs.

Tejas was part of Mexico, and the Americans there were upsetting the government with the importation of slaves. They wanted to grow cotton and, of course, slaves were required to do the manual labor. Mexico did not believe in slavery and General Santa Ana was sent to reestablish the law of the land. The occupants of the fort were nothing more than criminals challenging a government. We eventually "stole" the majority of our west from Mexico under our ideal of Manifest Destiny, allowing us to express that chapter of our history as the downfall of "courageous patriots." Times have changed, but the wrongdoing of the people of the Alamo does not justify the wrongdoings of Lazaro Gonzalez, Elian's Little Havana relatives, nor the Banana Republic.

There is no question that the United States has infinitely more opportunities for Elian than Cuba. There is no question that the worst day in freedom outweighs the best day under oppression. There is no question that Lazaro Gonzalez et al are criminally out of line and contemptuous of a court order. There is no question that Elian has been hurt, but are we willing as a country to let this go unanswered?

We all know about the roads paved with the best of intentions. Here are a few more: Two local mayors, Miami and Miami-Dade, sworn to uphold the Constitution of the United States, stated they would not assist, nor would they direct their respective police departments to assist, the U.S. Marshals in the lawful removal of Elian from the Little Havana home. Famous Cuban-American celebrities, Gloria Estefan and Andy Garcia, lend their star power to further the cause of this Banana Republic in a continued attempt to invalidate the father's voice over his own son. These attempts are morally wrong and are simply using this boy to try to get at Castro.

Is the Banana Republic's hatred of Castro so strong that they are willing to sacrifice the well being of a little boy? If the Banana Republic's heroes and leaders feel that strongly, let's see some martyrs, let's see them go back, the Bay of Pigs be damned, for they have this righteous indignation. However, I think they are, instead, content with perverting our laws and thumbing their nose at their nemesis from the safety of the American shore.



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