Desde Dentro de Cuba.

Distribuido por Cuba Free Press, Inc. - http://www.cubafreepress.org

Dec. 9, 1999.

THE CHILD ELIAN GONZALEZ IN A TUG OF WAR By Jaime Leigounier, Cuba Free Press.

HAVANA - An innocent 5-year-old child has been rescued from the dangers of the sea, just to face the many dangers of that swamp which is politics. The Cuban government supports the paternity rights of the child's father. I should applaud its position, since for many years now I have been claiming those very same rights before the Cuban courts, with no success whatsoever.

The same government which now would assert these rights in the case of Elian is the one that refuses recognition of paternity rights to its own citizens living in Cuba.

I have to empathize with the father who says, "Give me my child; I am the father."

Hundreds of thousands of Cubans living on this island are unable to invoke these rights when their children are taken from them by the Cuban government to be sent to schools in the countryside or to accept "scholarships" far away from their families and without their consent. But I was shocked by the father's television interview. He emphasized that he was a patriot, one who would never leave Cuba, and a Communist to boot. But he only said "this is my son," at the very end of a long list of reasons, in what seemed to be an afterthought.

I was also deeply shocked at the arguments presented by Mr. Hay, the lawyer representing the child's family in Miami. Mr. Hay stated that the boy was a Cuban refugee and as such had every right to stay in the United States. What shocked me about this is that I would be unable to come up with a legal technicality when it is a child's very welfare that hangs in the balance.

A small 5-year-old child who has all the support of Miami's Cuban community and at the same time is the object of strident demands by the Cuban government is a very fragile human being to suffer being subject of a tug-of-war. When Solomon judged a similar case there were two women involved, not two opposing political forces.

Perhaps a solution to this situation would be that the "very humanitarian Cuban government" with all the support that might be necessary on the part of the U.S. government, would allow Elian's father - along with all of his family, in order to avoid any possibility of coercion - to visit Miami immediately. The father could then be free to return to Cuba with his son - or not return at all. Freedom of choice.

Jaime Leigounier, Cuba Free Press.


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