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Monday, 1 May, 2000, 13:54 GMT 14:54 UK
Elian: Was force necessary?
They stormed the house where Elian had been staying, broke down the door, and then drove off with him. There were shouts and scuffles as a small crowd of demonstrators outside the house were pushed away and sprayed with gas.
Do you agree with the decision by the US authorities to use force to grab Elian? Or should they have tried to find a negotiated solution to the problem?
To read more of your comments on Elian's seizure click:
To read your comments on our previous Talking Point on where Elian belongs click here.
The Cuban community of this city (Miami) have shown nothing but arrogance towards the US government - by consistently disobeying US justice, they have left themselves out in the cold - the respect this exile community previously commanded has gone. The US government was wrong in its methods but right in its action - the Cuban community (and I know they are in a minority) should shut up and put up!
There is so much death and disease in the world and we choose to ignore it to concentrate on one person that is unhappy. How many other children have fled their own countries and lost both their parents. Elian is with his father and we should be happy for both of them.
A few minutes of being scared is what it took to stop the boy being brainwashed by his Miami relatives and the rightwing Cuban-American religious fanatics; and returned to his family and his country.
As much as I dislike to see force become the only way to enforce the law, I am still waiting to hear one single logical argument supporting the Miami relatives' refusal to return this child to his father apart from their belief that life in the US is so much better than life in Cuba. If this is all they are basing this on, maybe they should go and bring all Cuban children to the US. It would be for their own good, wouldn't it?
Americans play to the media. America is a violent society where strength has prevailed against common sense or even justice. It is a society build on the corpses of the predecessors.
In the Gonzales case the protesters were the perpetrators and now there is protest against the enforcers of the law who did their duty in the best and only possible way. The protestors played havoc with a child, a helpless child and took on the mantle, illegal duty of playing politics.
Let good sense prevail, above all.
I find this whole mess disgusting. People are exploiting this child to the fullest extent and squabbling over him, but at the end of the day he is a small boy who will probably be seriously affected by this for the rest of his life. The adults should never have been so childish in the first place. Surely they are responsible enough to sort out the problem quietly, for themselves, for the sake of the boy?
Using force is the American way to get democrancy
It is unfortunate that should have come to this but what was done had to be done. Anti-Castro supports called it a "shameful display" and they were right. It is a shame that the Cuban-American community should be so militant as to require the use of force to ensure the safety of Elian and the US authorities. It is also shameful that such a large community and even the vice-president of the United States should approve and support what was, in essence, an international kidnapping. I congratulate Janet Reno on efforts but I do think that 5 months was much too long of a time to have waited. Elian is a small boy and 5 months is a significant portion of his life at this point. Perhaps in the future the US government will learn, and never leave any refugee that they find with US relatives before they send him back to his country of origin.
They did the right thing, but in the wrong way. The US authorities have ruined the child emotionally; he will never ever get over such action; this will always haunt him.
No, I don't believe it was necessary for such force. Thank you Mr. Clinton for making the USA look barbaric. Another disgraceful job don by your team.
The "show of force" was certainly needed and necessary to retrieve Elian Gonzalez from the family members in Miami!
The child was not a kidnap victim, he was being looked after by family members who strongly disagreed with decisions being made about the child's future. I would challenge any one who thinks that this ridiculous outing in to "might is right" tactics to think about the same thing happening in their home, if they were looking out for the interests of one of their relatives. Yes the action was decisive, but the ends did NOT justify the means!
David Masters, UK
Everyone can scream out "American
brutality!, American brutality" as much
as they want about the seizure, but it
was the only thing that could be done.
Juan Miguel has been so patient in the last 5 months...even the knowledge of that shows me who the child is better off with. I think that the sharks between Cuba and the US are nothing compared to those in Miami. And what about the film that the relatives made of Elian saying that he didn't want to see his father again??! Personally I think that is more damaging to him than the raid over the weekend.
The "rescue" seems a fairly typical over-handed American operation. Perhaps we will hire the SAS next time.
The kid should have been left in the USA. He said he did not want to go back yet nobody listened to the one person who mattered most. THE CHILD! Authorities take note.
Why do our tax dollars are being used for another investigation? Another 50 million perhaps? Enough already, let the boy go home with his father and get to work on some issues that are more important than dealing with this dysfunctional Miami family.
The Cuban exiles show that they still have a major lesson to learn on the subject of Freedom. Freedom carries obligations. Just because you're in the USA (Land of the Free) doesn't mean a "Free for All".
The use of forces was necessary, and was the right thing to do. Congratulation for those who enforced the laws and reunited the father and the son. Even though some useless politicians and disgraceful Miami relatives criticised what happened this Easter weekend, we, the citizens of the world support your action.
There was no hostage situation, if there was why was the FBI allowed in the house just hours before the raid?
Tom Gunn, USA
The taking of Elian is proof that we are living under a dictatorship, complete with a Praetorian Guard. Our Constitution has been shredded. The rule of law is whatever Clinton says it is. We deserve more than a lawless liar as President.
I support the decision to hand back Elian. Notice how most of the opposition to the decision from the USA is politically motivated. I.e. you don't like Clinton and everything he does sucks. Get over it Republicans.
I think the use of such force was a shameful act for the US. What a sad commentary for the land of the free.
Excessive force? Communist father? A better life in Miami then in Cuba? The father afraid of Castro's retribution? Say the following over and over again. THE MIAMI RELATIVES NEVER HAD A RIGHT TO WITHHOLD THE CHILD FROM THE FATHER. PERIOD!!
That little boy has been through a lot in the past few months. He belongs with his family, his father, stepmother and brother. Its not fair that grown-ups should fight over his head, can't they be civilised people and think about the child before themselves. His home that he knows and is familiar to him is in Cuba, no where else.
Courtney Ramirez, California, USA
The scene would not have been pretty under any circumstances given the histrionics of the little Havana family who kept the boy.
Elian's relatives in Miami were unreasonable in their desire to prevent the boy going back to Cuba, but the fact that the government raided a private home in the wee hours of the morning with machine gunners to abduct by force one of the members of the household is something we have seen done in Nazi Germany, Stalin's Russia, Communist China and is still done in Castro's Cuba. Are we U.S. citizens supposed to condone this just because it happened in the USA? The same raids are condemned when they happen elsewhere!
Although Castro's Cuba is not a paradise, neither is the United States. At least, Cuba is a place where school shootouts do not happen on a regular basis (if happen at all) and chances of being shot while visiting National Zoo in Havana are pretty minimal.
I love how everyone KNOWS what the Miami family wants. Everyone on BOTH sides is such an expert on motives.
In all this mess, only one thing is clear- it is utterly depressing how many people think the U.S. government should have used force. No matter what your opinion is on whether Elian should have been returned, the FACT is that there was absolutely no reason to use force at the time the house was raided.
I don't live far from Miami. My heart really goes out to the people that escaped alive from Cuba. It's a rough journey. Ninety miles of open sea in a raft with no water, terrible. But this situation isn't about people wanting to come to the States. It's about a little boy who was brought here. He can't make this decision on his own. He needs a father to help him learn how to make these decisions. That day, we honoured fatherhood. I'm proud of that.
Gordon Collins, England
Am I missing the point - reasonable force? - You call this reasonable force - I'm glad in the UK we're still relatively civilised.
I agree with the government. The boy was taken illegally from his country and his father. There is no question the government was right is using force and putting an end to the already long and drawn out situation.
Marie-Jose Arts, The Netherlands
If Elian was the primary issue in this compelling and dramatic story, there would be an overwhelming amount of support for the father's right to his child regardless of the enforcement action.
OK it was very different circumstances but my home was once surrounded by armed officers and I was only about 6 but imagine waking up to find the one place you are supposed to feel safe full of armed officials. I think that the person who authorised this should be ashamed of herself.
Good, the father is re-united with his son. And I hope this is the end of it. How many other fathers will tolerate some relatives stealing their son and making a public circus? I wouldn't.
Just so that there is no misinformation, the police did have a legal warrant to search the Miami home for the child, and the INS also had the law on their side when they took the child from relatives who for weeks unlawfully kept him from the arms of his father.
Tim Rose, UK
That the government of my country would do this is absolutely disgusting. That this present administration would do this shows their true colours, and further undermines what this great nation is supposed to stand for. Freedom.
The boy must be with his father and his photos with him deserve 1000 words. He is happy with him. You see, some times, there is no need for a Batman uniform or hamburgers to be happy.
Tim Pearce, UK
If the government finally acted this way to enforce the law, it is because the Miami relatives never considered the interest of Elian himself. They made political capital out of a tragic situation - without taking the boy's interest into account - and denied the most elementary right: the boy belongs with his father.
The authorities would not have needed to snatch him if he had been handed over to the father as ordered. The Miami Cubans seek to live in America, but are not prepared to obey American laws they do not like. Surely this is a lesson for all countries willing to absorb large numbers of refugees?
If reasonable civilised negotiating means don't work, it is the authorities' obligation to use force to apply the law applicable. Here the father has the moral and legal right of custody of his son. Just that the relatives reside on a richer side of the world do not make them above the law.
The authorities did the right thing.
But seriously, I noticed that only one comment on this message board was from someone claiming to be from Cuba. I think that says a lot. The USA may not be perfect, but, until the current administration, we had freedom and due process was our right when we disagreed with the government. Apparently the Clinton administration believes it is above the law and doesn't need a warrant like any other law officer in this country to enter a private home uninvited.
Kiley Anderson, USA
This child should have been returned to his obviously loving father the day he was released from the hospital after being found. As far as I know keeping someone else's child and refusing to give him back is kidnapping and kidnapping is still illegal in the USA.
Liu Zheng, China
Chien M Ho, Singapore
I think the President did the right thing. The family basically kidnapped the kid. It doesn't matter whether they saved him from a raging volcano or killed a dragon to save his life. Elian is not their kid. The president is doing what's best for the country. YES. This Elian matter could have political repercussions and I think Clinton is doing the right thing by not starting a confrontation with Castro. Unfortunately, it was the Cuban folk here in the US and in Cuba that gave Elian undue importance and near deity status...
Elian was returned to his father after being kidnapped by his uncle. Yes, force was necessary.
I think this whole Elian thing is a disgrace and those who were for this whole episode should be ashamed of themselves. This boy had every right to be here. I think Janet Reno is a disgrace and should resign as soon as possible. This was even more cowardly then what she did at Waco.
A parent has the fundamental right to have his child with him or her. In this case the father, the mother having passed. Of course authorities have to investigate whether the parent can take care of his child. If not other relatives maybe can.
I think another rule must be that never force can be used for the wellbeing of a child. Force and wellbeing are very contradictory.
Unfortunately, both parties acted the wrong way: The Cuban exiles in Miami should have been put in jail a long time ago for not obeying a court order. They are not above the US law, and if they don't want to obey it they should return to Cuba. On the other hand the US government should never have engaged into talking to them like this. The government should have gone against the relatives a long time ago, fully enforcing the court order. At the same time they should have gone against the relatives not against Elian.
How can some of you commentators call the Miami family kidnappers? They dragged Elian out of the water, in which his mother drowned fleeing Cuba. They didn't want to send him back to that. Some of them left Cuba for a reason. To any of you who have been in their situation, leaving a country ruled by a dictator, having a gun pointed at you or your flesh and blood by federal agents, then I think you have a right to judge them. They offered for Elian's father to come stay with them to be reunited with his son. What was wrong with that idea? I don't think these people were dangerous powerful threats that caused Janet Reno to resort to violence. Really now! Think about it
The USA definitely did the right thing. And I think you'll all be surprised at how unaffected he will be by it all. Children are tremendously resilient, all that stuff about psychological damage was just an excuse.
What's there to be discussed further? I think Juan Miguel must now withdraw the 'Miami relatives' application for Elian to remain in the US. Who really believes that a six-year-old boy made that decision? As his father Juan Miguel must withdraw the application, take his family and go home. I think the so called Cuban Americans must deal with the fact that there are some people who CHOOSE to live in Cuba.
I think the Miami relatives have shown their hand over the past 48 hours. This event provided them with a long period of fame. While the government was heavy-handed,
they only did what the relatives forced them to do. These people should be ashamed of their behaviour in keeping Elian from his father and they should not be given the continued opportunity to grandstand in from of the news cameras. In a typical American style, everybody saw the Elian case as a great vehicle for pushing political ambitions.
The Miami family was on the phone negotiating the reunion of Elian with the father. On hold, with Reno on the line. Women were praying outside. The family's life was in full view. The child was in full view. I had personally seen him on a swing earlier, happy, free. The only rumors of weapons in the neighborhood had come from Castro. There were no guns in that house. And everyone knew it. They destroyed the house, called him the "f' ing" kid, give me the "f' ing" kid, hit women calling them whores, pointed to the other children in the house. Clinton lied when he said the Court of Appeals had authorized it. Reno insulted us saying to look closely at the photo of the officer to see that he was not pointing at Elian's head, nor his finger was on the trigger.
The lawyer Greg Craig can go in and out of the Andrews Airforce. But the third in command of that installation, Senator Bob Smith is not allowed to go in and see Elian. No one can see him. Just in photos. Not in full view. Castro mentioned Elian had to be "re programmed ". No, all this was not necessary.
I think the boy belongs with his father. I do not think that the US should have used as much force as they did. A man/woman dressed in street clothes who calmly walked in and collected the boy would have been a more reasonable solution.
I believe that the Miami family is now feeling what the father may have felt for the past five months. Only now that the boy has been taken from them do they want to meet with the father. But when the grandmothers came several weeks ago and asked for the return of the boy, they wanted no part of it. I feel that the force used by the US was wrong, but an action that needed to be taken. If only they could have done it in a more "humane" way.
The taking of Elian was necessary because the family were too defiant of the law. Once the temporary custody was taken away their refusal was equivalent to a kidnapping. Force is always used in hostage situations, and Elian was one.
The father (provided he is fit) is the sole carer for his child if mother is not there to care for him. This is the LAW for most of the countries in the world. The behaviour of the Miami relatives is both disgusting and unlawful. They do not have the best interests of the child in their heart, and how could they try to brainwash the child against his own father? The Cuban exile community has proved only one thing in this this sorry saga of theirs - that they are just as bad, or even worse than the very system they have run away from.
Good on Janet Reno to take affirmative action so that a child and his loving father can be re-united again.
It is sad day when you hear the cousin of Elian, Marisleysis, say how it is that Elian could not be without her for more than two seconds. It is a sad day to see how she denied that the child on the photographs released of Elian and his father was really Elian. It is sad because more than showing the need that Elian had for her, it shows her own needs. Can't she understand that Elian can be emotionally attached to others, especially his own father? I appreciate the concerns for someone who is to live in a totalitarian regime. But let us be absolutely clear, people can be happy even in those regimes. More to the point, the choice for a child should be made by his own parents, and in this case in the absence of the mother (who in any event had taken Elian out of Cuba without the father's consent) surely can only be the father's. And he has made his choice. It is absurd to suppose that he could only make decisions freely in Miami. He's currently in a US Air Force base. He could very easily seek asylum there. The fact that he has not must convince people that he does not want to live in the US, that he wants to return to Cuba.
I am pleased with the rescue of Elian. The show of potential force was necessary to prevent an armed clash. It was swift, peaceful, and effective. I rejoice to see son and father reunited.
It's absolutely horrible that little Elian had to go through this additional trauma, but the Miami relatives didn't leave Reno much choice. They turned Elian into a pawn. His father couldn't go down and get him, the crowd would have killed him given the chance. By letting this circus drag on as long as it did,
Elian's Miami relatives showed how much they really care about the boy. Now that he's back with his father, Elian can finally begin healing.
People who think the US Government used just force in taking this boy are mindless fools! Allowing a government to manhandle law abiding citizens like this is the first step to a country becoming a tyrannical dictatorship.
Isn't it a coincidence that there just happened to be an AP photographer on the scene to capture images of a terrified Elian to be immediately distributed to the crowd outside the house? If they truly cared about Elian, they would have prepared him joyfully to see his father, even if it broke their own hearts to let him go. But that is not the case here. The Miami relatives should be ashamed of themselves - they set this whole thing in motion by keeping Elian away from his father. They tried at every point to stir the pot. It's done now - he's back with his father, however intense the procedure to take him was. I am only sorry it took so long - these were months that his "loving" relatives had to fill his head with their own political agendas. Shame, shame, shame! Elian will recover, now that he is with his family who truly loves him. It takes guts to do what Reno did - she knew she'd catch flak but she knew she'd never get the child away from the Miami faction without force.
I absolutely agree that force
was necessary. The Gonzalez
clan were brainwashing Elian
and using him as a pawn. Janet
Reno showed extreme patience.
You DO NOT NEGOTIATE with
In reality, the Miami relatives of Elian are responsible for the action taken by the US Government. If they had obayed the law, this shouldn't happened.
If Elian's abusers/kidnappers and the idiots who are protesting in the streets in their support don't like America, they can always go back to Cuba. Elian belongs with his father, period dot end, no exception, no discussion. Janet Reno and Justice did exactly the right thing and should be highly commended.
I only hope Mr. Gonzalez and his new wife are successful in helping Elian get over the abuse and brainwashing he's been subjected to over the past few weeks.
The Miami family and fellow Cubans are absurd. I was happy to see the US government use the necessary force. Sure, the semiautomatic weapons would scare anybody, but in today's US society, no one can assume that there were no guns in the Miami house or that Federal agents would have been safe if they just strolled into the house and politely asked for Elian. I think the Miami relatives should be praising the fact that the free society they live in let them be defiant against the law for as long as they were. I support the was the case was handled early Saturday morning. And, I wish Elian a safe trip back to Cuba, where he belongs with his father.
The Miami relatives were on the wrong side of the law and were criminals. Perhaps someone should file charges against them for kidnapping.
In the USA, we have a show called COPS. These are police videos taken by different departments around the US. Sometimes we see how Europe handles things too. It was not all that unusual how the police would react. They knew something was up. Why would they have so many people in the house? They were never going to turn over the child without a fight. And now that the shoe is on the other foot, they (the uncle and cousin), are saying how they were the victims, how could the US do this?
The Miami relatives are using the press to get Elian back as they were using them to keep him. They paraded a little child in front of the camera and spoiled him for months. Wouldn't that be considered exploitation? At times Elian's uncle and cousin played to the cameras as as a stressed out family.
Now, that pictures show how happy he is with his dad, they are going to say that it is not a true picture of Elian. Give me a break! Was the video that the uncle and cousin made with Elian telling how he feels really a true picture?
He needs to go home to Cuba.
One may well argue why it was necessary for these men to carry machine guns, but the blame for the whole mess goes 99% to the Cuban-American Castro haters. I have only contempt for all those politicians who are quick to attack the US Government's operation, but but do not in the least critisize the exploitative behavior of the Miami Cuban-Americans.
Regardless of whose custody Elian should be in, I feel disgust as a citizen of the United States after witnessing such excessive force. This was a family home not a house of criminals, the Clinton administration was negotiating in bad faith, and demonstrated for the millionth time that the administration has absolutly no regard for the law of the United States, and is not looking out for the best interests of this child. They have no respect for its citizens, and absolutly no domestic leadership skills whatsoever. I cannot believe what I have seen on TV and read in the papers. For God sakes this is the United States not communist Russia, why on earth are federal agents using force when there were still so many options left in the situation? Now I can't wait until the November elections when I will have my turn to cast a vote against those involved in this administration.
The INS had to do what they were forced to do by the actions of the relatives in Miami. They kept moving the goalposts as Janet Reno said.
Why have all these do-gooders got such a problem with armed intervention against law breakers? Just like with children that will not go to bed there gets a point where reasoning fails and force is necessary!! Well done America - next move is to jail the Cuban exiles that rioted or send them back to Cuba if they don't respect Americas laws.
The snatching of Elian Gonzalez by the US governemnt was unnecessarily violent. Things should have been done in a less confrontational manner.
The boy belongs to his father. The Miami relatives want people to accept their argument that since the father is a Cuban who wants to live in Cuba, he should lose custody of his son. Time someone showed the Anti-Castro extremist some humanity. They are worse than the dictator they claim to be opposing.
Janet Reno has been the only consistent voice of reason in this entire shameful episode. When will the citizens of the United States learn that they cannot insist that the world live by their rules? If it was saving Elian from communism that was the issue here, ask them to sponsor a child each in a North Korean orphanage. Elian belongs with his father, even if he has to go back to country where school children are not mowing each other down with their parents' guns.
Instead of battle gear they should have worn business suits and ties, and instead of assault weapons they should have been armed with the proper legal documents.
Although the life of a single child is important, why don't the Cuban-Americans channel some of this energy for the children of Miami and the rest of the country? There are plenty of children who can use the support that Cuban-Americans have given Elian.
The Batista thugs in Miami claimed
they were ashamed to be American.
Well, after their cynical cowardice
in disregarding the rule of law,
I'm ashamed to have them as
I think that the photo of the policeman in riot gear storming the bedroom will go down as one of this century's best photographs. Two questions. Why was a reporter there in the first place? Secondly, why do people not understand that the assault rifle that the policeman is holding is pointed, not at Elian, but at the person who would deny his father the right to his child?
I can assure you if Clinton was running for another term as President or Reno was running for a Senate seat in Florida this order would never be carried out. This is a devastating blow to Al Gore and will more than likely ensure George Bush the Presidency. There are over 20 million people of Hispanic origin in the US, therefore, Gore is going to pay the price for this action. The Republican party is going to have a field day over this.
Marisyles wants the publics support in her bid to see Elian now - what about all that time she denied his own father access...who does she think she is? It is 100% the Miami Relatives fault this kidnapping had to end this way.
The only mistake Janet Reno made was to believe that by accommodating Elian's Miami relatives' increasingly irresponsible requests, she would gain their acquiescence to respect the law. These persons were also stimulated by U.S. politicians, Florida authorities and the Miami media into believing they could get away with the kidnapping of the child. In the end, force was necessary.
I fail to see the point of offering Elian asylum. There seems to be little difference between Castro's Cuba and Reno's America.
The Cuban exiles have shown is that they do not deserve the special treatment that were accorded by INS. Over the years they benefited from the sympathies of many Conservative Americans. With the holding hostage of a little boy from his father and the burning and stomping of the US flag has permanently broken that bond. They have marginalised their influence in US politics and any Republican politician coming to their rescue will be under taking that at a great personal risk. The Cuban exiles have overplayed their hand and they lost.
The anti-Castro policy of the US has nothing to do with the right of a boy to live with his own father. Thank God, this story is over. Let's discuss about the future of US-Cuba relations and the future of Cuba after Castro.
If Elian were a Cuban with black skin none of this would be happening. The world would have the same attitude has it did during the floods in Africa, the starvation in Ethiopia. I don't understand why this child's case is being treated differently that all of the other refuges and asylum seekers who come to America.
To paraphrase Franklin D. Roosevelt, "This day will long live in infamy" when the US Department of Justice took forceful violent action when a family-friendly agreement had been reached at the precise same moment to transfer custody of Elian to his father.
Clearly many courageous Cubans have
risked their lives to come to US. Unfortunately the 'Cuban Liberation Circus' used this child to grab the media to their causes. The US government
finally got it right. The cold war is over. Perhaps sanity can return to our
relations with Cuba, as Elian returns.
The US Govt & legal system have allowed the Cuban exiles to use the little child in their grubby war against Cuba. This saga has shown the American legal system in a very poor light.
I say well done Mrs Reno. I take my hat off to you and to the people who went and got the kid from that house.
There are 1200 American children being held in foreign countries against the wishes of American parents. The figure may include children taken by one parent against the wishes of the other, but at any rate this is a serious problem. Castro's Cuba is a terrible place, but how could the U.S. demand the return of abducted American children if it allowed the Miami relatives to keep Elian illegally?
For those Cuban Americans who are so ashamed to be Americans because of what happened, "Well, go back to Cuba".
Take a close look at those supposed "reunion" pictures. Elian appears to have grown a lot of hair and two new teeth in three or four hours. Who is behind this fraud?
Your question is not correct. The US gov't tried negotiations, but the Miami relatives were not responsive.
At last, let it be known we fathers are parents too. Thank you madam Attorney General Janet Reno for giving us hope. Has anyone thought to give Elian's cousin Marisleysis Gonzalez a psychological check? People were questioning the character of the father, but what about hers?
The US authorities have already tried and have expended all non-violent means to have Elian reunited with his father and have simply come up against persistent defiance. I think that the people who have been looking after elian over the last few months have other concerns than Elian's welfare at heart. Personally, I am suspicious of anyone or group of people that express emotion so aggressively (I'm referring to Elian's Miami family. I feel that they are very aware of how they appear to other people and are deliberately trying to muster sympathy for their 'cause' and are using a child to do it. Shame on there selfish performance of emotion. Aren't they aware that such intense behaviour causes distress to children?
The people only know what they have been told by the press. In the USA the press loves Clinton. Therefore, what the people have been told is little more than Clinton propaganda. I suspect that few people commenting here know what has really happened concerning Elian in the days and weeks preceding the use of force to seize Elian. I am hopeful that the real story will eventually emerge.
I am disgusted as an American Citizen that our government has done such a outrageous act.
I believe that Elian should be allowed to stay in the United States.
I also feel the families should be brought together and talk all of this out.
Where is President Clinton and Janet Reno when American children are kidnapped by their parents and taken to other countries? Why aren't they helping the parents who live here
getting their children back? We as Americans should demand that they help those parents get their children back from other countries.
This beautiful child has gone through so much in the last five months.
Castro is laughing as this whole mess.
How as Americans can we let this happen?
President Clinton insists that the law must be obeyed. Did he obey the law?
To "Tom" from UK. NO! The US legal system HAS NOT ruled that the boy is to go back to Cuba. The US legal system has a series of appeals before an order from a bureaucrat can be enforced. In fact, the order has in effect "suspended" until the process is exhausted. What may be illegal is the seizure of the boy: his seizure my be ruled illegal and the INS may be held in contempt of court should the family chose to pursue this action. Also, there is a significant risk that the Air Force may go ahead and fly them back to Cuba in VIOLATION of the order from the 11th Curcuit Court of Appeals. Should that happen, there may not be any recourse for the family other than the satisfaction of knowing that the US government has violated its own laws to kiss Castro's ass!
I think that force was . If someone takes away my child and refuses to give him back, I would call that kidnapping. If it was any other situation, law enforcement agencies would definitely have used force. The father has every right to keep his child. Since when did relatives have more preference over immediate family? I think it is shameful that the relatives in Miami think that they have a case in the courts: a blatant abuse of democratic rights in this country.
For five months the attorney General of the USA tried to come to an arrangement with these cuban kidnappers. every time they came out with new excuses. the only people using this poor child as a pawn were cuban exiles anxious to keep their so called plight fresh in americans mind. they are fearful that america is softening on the cuban situation and in turn their special immigration status will be removed.
the INS did what they had to do and as traumatic as it was it was the right thing to do. Remember they gave a father back his son, a father, not a cousin not an aunt, they returned him to his father. amen
While it is unfortunate that little Elian was seized by force by federal agents, I do not think the government had any choice. The Miami relatives and the Miami Cuban-American community made it quite plain that they would never peacefully relinquish control of the child to his father. They are the ones who made force necessary by their stubborn refusal to obey the lawful orders of the US Immigration Service. Let the responsibility for Saturday's action be on their heads.
The boy belongs with his father, not with kidnappers who just happen to be his family. Hiding a boy in a closet? Where I come from we call that abuse, and I'd be pretty glad to see a US Marshall come to save me...with a very big gun, the bigger the better.
Instead of battle gear they should have worn business suits and ties, and instead of assault weapons they should have been armed with the proper legal documents.
The use of force by the Federal government was unfortunate but necessary. This issue was not just about a bitter custody battle, but a matter of upholding the rule of law in society. We shall have to wait and see whether anyone associated with the Elian Gonzalez case can emerge with even a shred of dignity or self-respect. So far the signs are not good. At the bottom of a very unpleasant pile are, as always, the lawyers and the politicians.
The laws of society, however distasteful we may feel them to be, cannot be held to ransom by an overwhelming minority, as was the case in Miami until yesterday morning. The boy is best off with his father. We can only hope now that he will no longer be paraded before the camera's and will cease to be a pawn in a much bigger game. Just how much interest will everyone show in Elian's welfare in a few weeks or months?
Your report said Elian was "seized". US news channel said "snatched"
I think the correct word is "rescued".
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