On November 25th, 1999, Elian Gonzalez was found clinging to an inner tube three miles off the coast of Ft. Lauderdale after a boat carrying his mother, stepfather and eleven others apparently sank on its way to the United States. He had been floating in the inner tube for two days and nights, and after being admitted to a hospital he had been found to be in remarkably good shape considering he was without food and water. But the worst was yet to come for Elian Gonzalez. Almost immediately after his release from the hospital, Juan Miguel Gonzalez, the boys father, claims that Elians mother kidnapped the boy, and he wants Elian returned to Cuba. The Cuban government chose to back up Elians father in the demand, and that is when the question arose. What would the future hold in store for Elian Gonzalez? Would he be returned to a life with his father in Cuba or would he be kept under better living conditions in the United States of America? Before you go and make up your mind on this issue, Id like you to consider a few things. The INS ruled that in the name of “family reunification” Elian must return to Cuba, and many people agreed with the idea. But would such a decision be tolerated if it involved, say, a Jewish boy who had come to the United States from Nazi Germany during the 1930s? Would he have been sent back if the father – with a gun to his back – declared his desire to have his child returned to slavery or to a concentration camp? Would everyone argue that the child’s best interests are served by “family reunification”? Certainly not. Why, then, is Elian’s situation any different? Life in totalitarian Cuba, after all, is basically life in slavery. I think that it is best put in the words of Mr. Jacoby, columnist of the Boston Globe. Send Elian back and he will be allowed to live with his father until he is eleven; thereafter he will be sent to work in a farm-labor camp for 45 to 60 days per year…
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