Letters to www.emperors-clothes.com

'The USA Has Lost its Moral Edge' (1/7/00)

Dear Emperor's clothes,

At first my natural response is to keep the boy in the USA, where he would not be subject to rations of milk, toys etc., and would have the greatest possibility to be what he could be. But then I think: the USA has lost its moral edge in the areas of liberty, free speech, the right to live unencumbered by government, an edge that would justify keeping him here. As we in the USA have become a thoroughly totalitarian society which bombs people who do not submit to its demands, with a media controlled by the same elite people who commit genocide against those who do not submit to slavery. Americans are living in the "Matrix" and don't even know it.

The people who would say it is unfair/wrong that he be returned to Cuba would be philosophically correct, from my viewpoint, but are in denial. The US government is: Worse than Castro!

Milan Stevanovich
Detroit, Michigan

An obscene game (1/7/00)

Dear Emperor's clothes,

They played political football with that poor kid long enough. Elian, after suffering the dual traumas of clinging to an inner tube in shark-infested waters for several days and then learning that his mother had drowned did not deserve to spend the next six weeks in a tug-of-war.

No six-year-old, especially one who has gone through what he endured, should have been besieged by his Miami relatives, an obscene number of gifts, Disney World, etc. on one hand and nightly phone calls with his Cuban father on the other. I only hope he gets a lot of nurturing and a removal from the spotlight after he goes back home so that his wounds may start to heal.

Sincerely yours,
Jan Rainwater

"Let's send little Elian home" (1/9/00)

I, as a refugee from a communist country, am 100 % behind the decision to send the six years old Elian Gonzales back to Cuba to be with his father. Politics is far from a six years old child's mind. The best interest of the motherless child is to be with his father, period. I grew up at the communist system and I must say that for a little child that system is not as bad as is commonly believed. Problems with the system begin when you are a teenager. By the time little Elian is a teenager who knows what the system in Cuba will be like. After all, Fidel is on his last leg, anyway. Let's send little Elian home to his father.

Sincerely,
Victor Minsky
Columbia, SC

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One Little Soldier

Dear emperor's clothes,

I am forwarding the following article on Elian Gonzales for your readers.

Sincerely,
Thomas W. Warner

One Little Soldier: Lessons for Millennium

by Maricela Fleites-Lear and Dr. Ana Maria Sierra (12/18/99)

Over the course of a few days the life of one little boy has changed forever. During a season of anticipation and cheer, two nations are battling for the political upper hand in who should decide the fate of one little boy. On the eve of the new millennium one little soldier is trying to teach us something simple and profound about our fundamental rights and responsibilities as human beings.

The little boy is Elian Gonzalez . He is from Cuba and arrived in this country on Thanksgiving Day after being spotted in the Straits of Florida by a fisherman who then notified the U.S. Coast Guard. Elian was found in the open sea gripping an inner tube. He was brought to a Miami hospital, treated, and released to the care of his great-uncle residing in Miami.

Elian embarked on this journey with his mother and her boyfriend, both of whom drowned at sea. Elian was one of three survivors. His father, Juan Miguel Gonzalez, and four grandparents are in Cuba. The parents shared custody of Elian. The mother worked nights and the father worked days. Elian went back and forth between their homes and the homes of his grandparents regularly. The mother paid a resident of the United States to smuggle her out of Cuba with Elian, exposing him to a treacherous voyage. The mother was not a political dissident. She was seeking economic opportunities. This desire led her to betray the trust of her family and to risk her life and the life of her son. No one was aware of her plans. A little boy who was caught between two parents is now a little boy caught between two countries.

As if this little boy's plight were not tragic in itself, his situation has ignited a political fire that has been smoldering for decades between Cuba and the United States. Since 1959 the United States imposed an economic and political embargo against Cuba. The initial rationale for the embargo was attributed to Cuba's confiscation and nationalization of properties owned by U.S. companies and individuals. However, the continued rationale for the embargo has changed over the years, adding and subtracting political motives and special interests. At the top of the list are the anti-Castro groups primarily based in Miami who have controlled U.S. policies toward Cuba during the last 40 years. The anti-Castro groups are at the center fueling their cause which is to impede and prevent the normalization of relations between the two countries. To achieve this end they have used every possible means, including playing with the fate of one small boy.

Mr. Gonzalez is claiming his son and has requested his immediate return to Cuba. The U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service is requiring Mr. Gonzalez to establish his paternity even though the Cuban government recognizes it. If Elian were a citizen of any other country he would have been released immediately to his parent and grandparents at U.S. taxpayer's expense. Instead, the anti-Castro Cuban Americans in Miami are lobbying that the case be presented before a Florida court and to force Mr. Gonzalez to fight for custody of Elian in the United States. The United States' position violates a 1994 immigration agreement with Cuba in which Cubans found at sea are repatriated to Cuba. Meanwhile politicians are taking advantage of photo opportunities with Elian, a traumatized child who has recently suffered the death of his mother and the loss of his father.

So, what lessons can we take with us into the new millennium from this decades-old battle re-ignited by the fate of this little soldier, a battle which has reached a new summit, a summit of the absurd? We learn that no matter what our political beliefs or ideologies may be we are all interconnected, be it by history, by geography, or by baseball. We are so linked that even the personal decision of one young mother from a small island country can have far reaching effects beyond her son, her family, her town, or her country. We learn that when conflicting political interests persist between two countries without avenues for ongoing exchanges and open communication, we can fall into a pattern of dehumanization. Therefore, we learn that in the new millennium we need to be respectful of each country's sovereignty and to respect the agreements that we have established. Elian is teaching us to look beyond our self-interests. Elian is teaching us to look toward unity and peace.

Marisela Fleites Lear was born in Cuba and now leads the Washington State Advisory Council of the Cuban American Alliance Education Fund, Inc.

Dr. Ana Maria Sierra is a Cuban American and a child and family psychologist. She is a member of the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children* and she is Program Director at the Child Study and Treatment Center* in Tacoma, Washington.

These organizations are listed for identification purposes only and do not necessarily endorse the opinions expressed by the writers.

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"Tired of the politicians" (1/10/00)

Dear Emperor's clothes,

I think this little boy belongs with his father. I cannot imagine that we are teaching our children that parents are ³nothing² that material things mean more. I am glad that I had my father and would have preferred him to all the toys in the world. At first the toys will look wonderful and then you start to miss your father or mother.

I am getting rather tired of the politicians trying to please the Cuban community for their votes and also trying to get Castro. They care nothing for this child.

I would rather you did not use my name. I do not want threats from the Cuban community.

Sincerely
Kathryn

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