by Agustín Blázquez with the collaboration of Jaums Sutton

After four months, absentee father Juan Miguel González, was finally permitted by Castro to come to the U.S. That alone raises questions among intelligent people of what is going on behind the scenes. Are we to accept that Juan Miguel is acting on his own? What father in America would behave in such a bizarre way?

But Juan Miguel is not a normal father living in a normal country. He is just the obeying subject of an almighty tyrant that made Cuba into an abnormal country. So his behavior is violent, defying and vulgar at times. For example, his ABC’s "Nightline" threats on January 13. His arrival speech (obviously drawn up by Castro) on April 6. And his showing of his middle finger to the pro-democracy demonstrators at the Cuban Interests Section in Washington, D.C. on April 13. All these are quite understandable to Cuban Americans acquainted with Castro’s hate training against his enemies, that starts when children enter elementary school.

Just look at the violent reaction against a pro-democracy demonstrator from the Cuban baseball team umpire and Castro State Security Agent, Cesar Valdés, in Baltimore’s Camden Yards on May 3, 1999. Valdés attacked and wrestled to the grown a peaceful demonstrator. Castro received him as a hero in Cuba for his violent action. A recent example of aggression occurred on April 14, 2000, at the Washington, D.C. Cuban Interests Section. About 10 pro-democracy demonstrators where attacked by about 15 "diplomats" who came from inside the Cuban diplomatic section. It happened around 7:30 p.m., after an ABC television crew left. The "diplomats" attacked slamming to the grown an elderly Cuban American woman and others. A Policeman and a Secret Service man were also attacked. One of the attackers was identified as Armando Collazo, First Secretary of Consular Affairs.

Cuban Americans’ firsthand experience with Castro gives them an edge over the rest. The majority of Americans have not lived under a totalitarian tyranny. Therefore they have no frame of reference and tend to judge this complex situation in a superficial manner and keep missing the point. The U.S. media is one of the main culprits for its bias, as well as the politicians who fail to convey the facts to their constituents.

Not even when the welfare of an innocent 6-year-old child brought to this country by his mother is at stake, do U.S. media and others think twice about what they are doing by sending Elián into the arms of a tyrant waiting to brainwash him. And the brainwashing is not speculation. Castro, at a March 4 press conference at the 2nd International Havana Cigar Festival announced, "We do not even intend to organize a celebration when the child comes back, we have already said this. We will receive him and he will be taken to a hospital, like [Cuban spy José] Imperatori was, for a general medical check up and treatment."

What will that "treatment" be? Ricardo Donate, a Cuban American in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area says, "Psychological and psychiatric practice has been at the service of the Cuban government's political ends for a long time now. The use of extreme psychiatric measures such as electroconvulsive treatment or force feeding of psychotropic drugs to political opponents have been extensively documented in "The Politics of Psychiatry in Revolutionary Cuba" by Charles J. Brown and Armando M. Lago.

"So I would conclude that the psychological/psychiatric treatment of Elián will be designed to produce a certain political outlook in the child. Based on previous experience with other cases, I would expect that if the child does not respond as expected by the political authorities, he will be either socially or physically disappeared. If the child responds as expected by the government, he will likely suffer from dysfunctional personality disorders as he tries and fails to reconcile actual experiences with the distorted explanations implanted by the therapists."

If Juan Miguel returns to Cuba with his son (constitutionally, Cuban parents do not have rights concerning how to rise their children), he would not be able to prevent Castro from taking his child away and interning him in a "hospital," as he announced, to reprogram him. Therefore, a move to return Elián to Juan Miguel, even though to uninformed Americans appears to be the right thing to do, is one of the most immoral, cruelest and abusive measures that could be taken against this innocent child.

It is clear that Juan Miguel – even on U.S. soil – is not a free man. He is a hostage of the Castro regime and cannot speak or move around freely. He is being watched at all times. He is surrounded by Castro’s henchmen in the U.S. and loyal agents like National Council of Churches’ (NCC) Rev. Joan Brown Campbell, whose "religious" organization is notorious for its ties and support of communist regimes. (The NCC has given millions of dollars to the Castro regime.)

Also keeping an eye on Juan Miguel and paying the $800 per hour fee for his attorney, Gregory Craig – Clinton’s buddy - is the Methodist Church whose bishop, James Armstrong, in 1977 led a delegation of American church officials to Cuba. Kenneth Lloyd Billingsley, the editorial director of the Pacific Research Institute in San Francisco and author of "From Mainline to Sidelines: The Social Witness of the National Council of Churches," says of Armstrong’s Cuba incursion that his delegation "supported the regime’s repression."

Montgomery County police surround the Cuban "diplomat’s" house where Juan Miguel is being held where streets are blocked. The U.S. Secret Service is also fully entrenched there. I wonder if that display of force at taxpayer expense making the neighborhood look like a mini-totalitarian state, is just to prevent Juan Miguel from defecting. Knowing the nature of Castro and his past secret dealings with Clinton, it is not far fetched. Robert D. Novak in his Washington Post column on April 10, published the following information provided by a source to Rep. Lincoln Díaz-Balart: Gregory Craig "provided Castro with sufficient guarantees that U.S. security personnel would make certain that Elián’s father will not be allowed to defect." Apparently, the U.S. is cooperating with Castro’s repression.

Family members and friends know that Juan Miguel wanted to defect long before Elián’s mother took her fatal voyage. It is equally known that Juan Miguel knew in advance of his former wife’s plans and that after her departure he called his relatives in Miami (a fact supported by U.S. telephone records) and told them that they were on their way. Also supported by telephone records is the call in which Juan Miguel, after learning that his son was safe in the U.S., asked his relatives to take care of his son until he made it to Miami. He did not ask for his son to be sent back to Cuba. It was not until Castro interfered that Juan Miguel was forced to demand his son’s return.

Castro has taken Juan Miguel under his wing to control and supervise all his movements, converting him into a puppet for his anti-American crusade. Juan Miguel’s and his relatives’ houses were speedily repaired and they were showered with new clothes, furniture, food, and other perks considered privileges in Cuba now, due to the low standard of living that Castro has created. Juan Miguel has been given a protocol house in an exclusive area in Havana, reserved for Castro’s elite and privileged visitors like the dying Colombian writer Gabriel García Márquez, Robert Redford, etc. So much for equality.

After a four-month grooming period, Juan Miguel was allowed to come to the U.S. But just in case, his family remains hostage in a government compound in Cuba, including a 5-year-old son of his current wife from a prior marriage. So, it is a dual hostage situation. Castro has his hostages in Cuba and with the apparent complicity of Clinton, he has his hostages in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. This is outrageous, but that the inquisitive U.S. media has not noticed it, is even worse. Could it be that because of their bias they are looking the other way, as usual?

It does not take too much intelligence to realize that Juan Miguel is NOT a free man, even on U.S. soil. But the American people are so confused by so much propaganda and Cuban American bashing by the U.S. media that they cannot realize that Juan Miguel is unable to behave as a free man in the "land of the free."

Most Americans seem to be hiding behind the humanitarian principle "The boy should be with his father." If only it was that simple. Supported by the media’s selection of interviewees famed for their unwavering support of Castro, Americans are not exposed to the fact that Elián will not be with his father, but with Castro. The groundwork is already completed to turn father and son into icons of the Revolution. And being an icon of the Cuban Revolution is a very full time job.

Because of Castro’s interference in a private family matter making hostages of Juan Miguel and his family and his sinister plans for Elián’s future which neither his father nor his family in Cuba can prevent, the parental rights seems a preposterous excuse for the Clinton Administration. They know better. It is a matter of freedom. Ricardo Donate says, "I am left to conclude that Elián González will suffer immediate physical and psychological trauma if he is sent back to Cuba due to the actions planned by Fidel Castro. This changes the debate from ideological considerations to clear issues of child welfare."


Agustín Blázquez

Mr Blazquez is the Producer/Director of the documentaries COVERING CUBA & CUBA: THE PEARL OF THE ANTILLES


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