PRESIDENT CASTRO AND VICE PRESIDENT CLINTON
by Agustín Blázquez with the collaboration of Jaums Sutton
In the 1950 Joseph Mankiewicz film "All About Eve," Bette Davis said, "Fasten your belts, it’s going to be a bumpy night."
Janet (remember Waco?) Reno’s "Justice" Department and Doris Meissner’s Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), on December 1, 1999, acknowledged that they had "no role in the family custody decision process" of 6-year-old Elián González, rescued off Florida’s coast six days earlier. They said, "the issue of legal custody must be decided by its state court." The INS paroled Elián and placed him at his great-uncle Lázaro González’s home in Miami. They stated that the "involved parties will have to file in Florida family court."
However, after Castro’s 72-hour ultimatum for Elián’s return accusing his Miami relatives of "kidnapping," Clinton, preparing for a complete cave-in to Fidel, his administration’s State Department hinted, on December 7, a reversal of policy. On December 13, at the St. Martin Parish jail in Louisiana, eight Cuban inmates - part of the 2,700 hard-core criminals Castro sent to the U.S. in 1980’s Mariel boat lift - took seven hostages, demanding their own release to another country. (Since the 80’s, Cuba has refused to take them back in spite of the efforts of the Carter, Reagan and Bush Administrations.)
But, apparently, the Castro/Clinton duet resorted to their time-honored technique of secret talks. Castro, having suffered several recent public failures, saw Elián’s return as a much-needed public victory. Clinton, with his eye on a legacy-fulfilling opening of U.S.-Cuba relations a la Nixon/China, apparently made a secret deal to exchange Castro’s criminals for Elián. So, on December 19 the State Department announced that Castro would accept his criminals. On December 22, they were back in Havana, where the Foreign Minister’s spokesman said that this acceptance was "an exceptional case" for "humanitarian reasons."
Then, on January 5, as part of the deal, the INS announced that Elián must be returned to the custody of his father in Cuba, and thus the continued insistence of the Clinton Administration to repay Castro’s favor or else. Never mind due process and the human rights of an innocent child. Never mind the harassment of a Cuban American family in Miami that has given Elián all the love and care that his own father – a hostage of Castro - has not been able to provide for months. Never mind the unreasonable demands on the family to sign a document agreeing to give up their rights.
Larry Daley from Oregon, commented, "The hidden weakness of the INS case is quite apparent in the agency’s request that Lázaro González sign away rights to an appeal to the Supreme Court in the Elián case."
Somebody wrote in the New York Times online forum, "Now that Miami-Dade County Mayor, Alex Penellas and City of Miami Mayor, Joe Carrollo have formally stated that neither their offices nor their Police will assist in bringing Elián González into custody, or acting against Cuban-Americans protesting Elian's return, shouldn't Bill and Janet surround Miami-Dade County with ATF and FBI stormtroopers and set the County on fire? I believe the Cuban-Americans may be armed."
As a sample of the prevailing prejudice against Cuban Americans during the Clinton era, an anonymous source reported on March 29 seeing American Civil Liberties Union’s president in Dade county John de Leon interviewed on television. De Leon denounced Mayor Penelas and the 22 other mayors (some of them African American) who protested the Clinton Administration’s provocation of the Cuban American community. He compared them to "racist state officials who some 50 years ago refused to enforce federal law in the matter of racial integration and civil rights."
The source finds this comment indicative of many policies of the ACLU against the Cuban American community. "We need to understand that behind their sanctimonious ‘defense’ of civil liberties hide people who are enemies of our freedom in the United States and the possibility of the people of Cuba to live in freedom." They have not come forward in defense of Elián or his family in the U.S.
Mayor Penelas, with the memories of the siege of the Branch Davidians in Wako, Texas (where over 30 babies were incinerated alive following Reno’s orders), fearing violence in the streets of Miami as a result of another injustice from the federal government, in conjunction with the other mayors, made the courageous and rightful decision of denying assistance to the federal authorities. And they made it very clear that Clinton and Reno would be responsible if violence erupts over the case.
On March 30, Reno, coldly insisting that "Elián should be reunited with his father," – even though the Cuban state takes upon itself all rights about raising children – criticized Penelas and the Cuban American community. She said that they "came to this country seeking a democratic society in which to live, where all people can speak," that’s right, and that is what they are doing: expressing their feelings of outrage against the way they are treated and maligned in the U.S. They are approaching the level that blacks used to have.
Reno said, "and there are processes and procedures for people to be heard." That’s right, but they have been facing a frustrating wall of rejection from the U.S. media and academia for decades. They are constantly, unfairly qualified by derogatory words such as: "right wing," "rabid," "vociferous," "Miami Mafia" and "anti-Castro," when in reality they should be called "pro-democracy," because that is what they want for their country.
Our Attorney General, who has an unfortunate record dealing with children as a Miami-Dade district attorney in addition to the fatal Waco incident, said of the Cuban American community, "I don’t think they came to this country to incite violence." Right again, but don’t forget that blacks were pushed to civil disobedience by the shameful abuses they were subjected in the U.S., specially in the south. If they would not have done what they did, they would still be in the bottom of the pit. That was the only alternative they had to be heard and respected as human beings, and they still have a long way to go.
For their political beliefs in freedom and democracy for their homeland, Cuban American exiles in the U.S. are constantly looked down upon, dismissed and doors are closed. I am a Cuban American and I know that kind of rejection.
Meantime in Cuba, Juan Miguel González, Elián’s father, is very much under the control of Castro. Kilari Anand Paul, president of Global Peace Initiative in an article published by The Miami Herald last February 7 after his return from a visit to Cuba, said that Juan Miguel is "virtually under house arrest and his public comments, living accommodations, and travel arrangements are monitored and controlled." Paul, who, like Sister O’Laughin in Miami, was prepared to work for the reunification of Elián with his father, also had a change of mind when confronted with reality. He said, "While virtually every move I made was monitored, I was able to speak to credible sources who have indicated that Elián’s father wants his son to remain in a nation where freedom from fear is a way of life."
Other sources in Cárdenas, the city where Juan Miguel lives, say that the house that Castro’s regime rapidly refurbished for him is closed and that he and his family are nowhere to be seen. Prior to his notoriety, Juan Miguel was working as a doorman in a foreigners-only hotel in Varadero Beach with a salary in pesos equivalent to US$8 a month. Mariela Quintana, his mother – the one who bit Elián’s tongue and touched his genitals to "cheer him up" – used to work in Cárdenas’ Ministry of Justice with a monthly salary equivalent of about US$10 and her husband was retired with a pension of about US$5. I wonder how this family can afford the US$800 an hour that Clinton’s buddy-lawyer, Gregory Craig charges.
Raquel Rodríguez, the mother of Elisabet Broton, Elián’s deceased mother, did not have a job and her husband was retired receiving about US$5 monthly. When Elisabet was alive and working as a waitress in a foreigners-only hotel, she helped them from her miserable salary. In addition, they all received US dollars from their relatives living in Miami. (Because of family remittances, 40% of the Cuban population has access to U.S. dollars.) That is what the hated "Miami Mafia," as referred to by Castro and the U.S. media have been doing for decades: supporting their families in Cuba. And when their relatives in Miami visit them, they take suitcases full of medicines and other necessity items and gifts as all Cubans do when they visit. The video camera used to record Elián’s birthday in Cuba was a gift from a Miami relative who visited in September 1998.
The last time that Elián’s grandmothers were seen in public in Cárdenas was in a melee they generated by refusing to take their place in a long line to buy Cuban fritters. The grandmothers pushed away the people who were patiently waiting in line and placed themselves in the front, which provoked a fistfight. Castro’s police escorted them away immediately in a police car to their newly refurbished house and they have not been seen again in town. Afterward the crowd was attacked by Castro’s paramilitary Rapid Response Brigades.
Now Castro is imposing again his will upon the U.S., and Clinton once more will bend over backwards. Castro’s scheme, as officially announced on live Cuban television on March 29, is for Juan Miguel (maybe with a rifle?) and his entire family to come to the U.S. The entourage will consist of 31 people, including Ricardo Alarcón the president of the Castro-controlled National Assembly. Among them 12 of Elián’s former classmates. Also three teachers, three psychologists, two child psychiatrists, four doctors and two nurses (most likely security agents and experts in brainwashing and mind control) to keep the family living in fear and under their strict control.
Of course, this traveling mini-totalitarian police state will be based in Washington, D.C.’s Chevy Chase area house of Cuban Interests Section’s Chief "diplomat" Fernando Remírez de Estenoz, where they will enjoy diplomatic immunity. Even though the U.S. does not have diplomatic relations with Cuba. They plan to create a mini-school and a mini-hospital for Elián. And who knows, maybe a mini-chicken coop and a mini-pig pen as many families do in Cuba now. The "elected" President Castro also dictated, "to proceed, without losing one minute, with the rehabilitation and readaptation [read the reprogramming and communist indoctrination of Elián] to his family and school nucleus while the process at the Atlanta appeals' court lasts.''
This sounds like part of macabre plot concocted by the bad guys in a new James Bond movie. This has to be one of the cruelest jokes perpetrated on the American people – a mini-communist state in Chevy Chase, MD. This is an outrageous act of manipulation and outright child abuse. What will be next?
How will the affluent Chevy Chase neighbors feel about a house filled with 31 extra people performing human experiments? What about the zoning laws in that residential area? How will they like the 24-hour security, television cameras and traffic that Castro’s circus is going to generate? How much money is it going to cost to taxpayers?
The Elián González case is a private family matter. Why are the politics of Castro and Clinton and apparent deals taking precedence? Why isn’t Juan Miguel González permitted to come unescorted with his family to visit his family in Miami where Elián has been living like any other normal person would do? Lázaro González and his family in Miami, as well as the Cuban American community will not object to their presence there. Do not forget that that humble family opened their home, prepared a meal and waited for the grandmother’s visit with goodwill, gifts and flowers, only to be snubbed by Castro and his agents in the U.S.
Why is Castro permitted to control and stage everything? Why does the president of the United States, a country that stands for freedom and democracy allow a tyrant to import his totalitarian repressive regime and continue the abuse of his people even on American soil?
Mr Blazquez is the Producer/Director of the documentaries
COVERING CUBA & CUBA: THE PEARL OF THE ANTILLES