It has been ten years since the strange episode of Elian Gonzalez. His mother risked and lost her life bringing him to the U.S. on a small boat from Cuba. Castro demanded his return and President Clinton complied. The boy was ‘repatriated’ at the gun point of US Marshals. “The boy should be with his father”, Clinton said. Now, Elian is 16 years, old, a member of the Young Communist Union of Cuba. He attends military school. A museum about him in his home town has his statue with a raised, clenched fist. His birthday has been celebrated personally with Fidel, and his father has become a member of the Cuban National Assembly. The Cuban State Security set up a ‘monitoring station’ next door to his home.
Certain facts have emerged. Elians’ father called relatives in Miami to tell them that Elian and his mother were on their way. Janet Reno suppressed aspects of a report by court-appointed US judges who presided over the hearings in which Elian’s american relatives opposed his return. Elian’s grandmothers from Cuba covertly signaled to the Judge panel that they were under scrutiny by the Castro government and unable to speak candidly. Elian’s father was allowed to visit the US, his other children were not. He was under constant Cuban escort while in the United States.
And so a sitting President of the United States assisted an anti-american dictator in the forced repatriation of an escapee from a communist dictatorship to the United States. The President did this with force of arms, delivering not only the boy, but also a giant PR coup for the dictator, a leader who regularly proclaims himself an enemy of the United States. The President, with this action, essentially declared to the world his view that a nation without civil liberties, without independent judiciary, without freedom of speech or association, without democratic elections, a nation ruled by a secret police, is as good a place to raise a young boy as is the United States, a young boy whose mother gave her life to bring him here.
We are asked to believe that the father truly wanted his son in Cuba rather than in the United States. We are asked to ignore the mother’s heroic efforts to get him here. We are asked to assume there was no coercion from the Castro government.”
“As Scott was a slave when taken into the state of Illinois by his owner, and was there held as such, and brought back in that character, his status, as free or slave, depended on the laws of Missouri, and not of Illinois.” Supreme Court Case: Dred Scott vs. John F. A Sanford, March 6, 1857.
Did Elian Gonzalez determine the results of the 2000 presidential election? Al Gore was running a close race for the Presidency. Florida would be crucial. How would a Gore victory affect Hillary Clinton’s political future? The Florida Cuban community was enraged by Clinton’s actions. Gore, over a barrel, at first approved the decision to return Elian, but then disavowed it. He lost Florida by an extremely narrow margin, and then the election, despite winning the popular vote.