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realclearworld

April 22, 2000

Never forget

Father, where is the lamb that is to be sacrificed? --Genesis 22

At 6:30 on the morning of Easter Saturday, April 22, 2000, I was awakened by a phone call from my best friend, just finishing a recording session, calling to tell me that they had raided the house where Elian was staying in Miami. I woke my wife and I turned on the TV. In a precognitive 9/11 sort of way, we watched and watched the coverage, all day and night. We were angry and we were disgusted.  The actions taken by our government that morning were unprecedented. My wife expressed her revulsion over the kidnapping and committed herself to become more involved in conservative politics. I just quipped, "welcome to my world."

Nothing in the ten years that have passed have moderated my views.

The Elian crisis, as it became known, happened because of the usual impulse of leftists to kowtow to fidel and his gang, It was a watershed moment for this community. The Cuban-American community, at least those of us who care about Cuban liberty and the defeat of The Beast, knew we had to redouble our efforts. We had to bring the truth about the enslavement of Cuba by communists to the world. A couple of months later, June 28 to be exact, Elian was whisked away and returned to Cuba. In a matter of days, we were asked to "move on" and "forget" the issue: it was over.

No, it's not over. It will never be over.

Elian became the political football of the decade: the politics of liberty versus the politics of communism, the politics of right versus the politics of wrong. It had NOTHING whatsoever to do with parental rights.

I totally supported the right of Elian's Miami family who wanted to keep him from returning to Cuba. Sending him back to a communist system was prima facie child abuse. The hypocrites in the Clinton Administration, who were hell-bent on "saving the children" in the USA from every other fucking thing under the sun, were not willing to save Elian from a Communist hell in Cuba.

At the time of Elian's kidnapping, I was a father of a four year old. I understood what a father's pain would be like. However, being the “father” did not automatically make him right, nor did it automatically qualify him to be the right person to care for Elian. He was a brainwashed Communist who did not have the child's best interest at heart; he had his best interest at heart. And, of course, Elian's mother lost her life trying to bring her son to freedom. She spoke to us from the grave with a clear statement: Elian belongs here! We shat on her memory.

As for the rest of the nation disagreeing with us: we are used to it; we don't mind. If the Cuban-American community has to be the last loud, obnoxious voice crying in the wilderness against castro and communism, so be it. I would rather be called a “hothead,” or a “hardliner,” than to sentence an innocent child—any innocent child—to a life of communism and misery. This was a fight for right, a fight to keep an innocent 6 year old here in the US to experience a free life instead of a life under tyranny. Elian was a microcosm of what we have suffered for over fifty years. Elian was just another victory for fidel.

***

I'll never forget what happened ten years ago today. And I'm sure many of you will never forget, too. And the sad, sad truth is that we were right about what would happen to the poor child once the Beast got his filthy claws on him.

Elian today, a proud little commie, just like we predicted...

Elian today, a proud little commie, just like we predicted...

And, as the final punctuation on the issue, former President Bill Clinton, said this recently about the Elian affair:

"I did everything I could to try to have this resolved in a peaceful way [...] Several things I would do differently. But this isn't one of them.''

We know, Bill. We know.

38 comments to April 22, 2000

  • pototo

    This happened under a Democrat administration. Wasn't this the party that the Estefan's just had a fundraiser for?
    hmmm......

  • cachito

    Just like you George I still know that what we believed and felt at the time was proper. Every argument that we used at the time has been proven over time to have been correct.castro turned Elian into his trophy and in the process destroyed his life. He may live more comfortably than the average Cuban but he seems like a very unhappy young man. As has been documented here in the past now the same people who sent Elian back are in power again, how sad.

  • George,

    I just happened to have spent a good deal of time with retired Ambassador Grover Joseph Rees while at the conference in Dallas. He and I had a chat about the whole Elian affair and his thoughts run parallel to ours. Even his Wiki page mentions the Elian Affair:

    His view of human rights led Rees to support a full hearing to determine whether little Elián González (born 1993) should remain with relatives in Miami or be returned to communist Cuba. Rees decried the pre-dawn raid that resulted in Elián's capture by INS agents. The whole case was, he said, a triumph for Cuban President Fidel Castro. "Castro has actually been able to turn the Elián issue to his advantage across a broad field of ways.

  • Spygirl

    It may be a coincidence but April 22 was Lenin's birthday.

  • Rob

    God rest the brave soul of Elian's mother who is all but forgotten. She did her best and should be remembered this Mother's Day.

  • Rayarena

    I think that we, the Cuban exile community, really dropped the ball with Elian. We handled this so wrong! I believe that's why Elian was returned to Cuba.

    When Elian was initially found floating off the coast of Florida, there was absolutely no issue from the American masses against him staying in the USA. In fact, the overwhelming majority of Americans wanted him to stay. No sooner did Castro and his minions become involved that the tide of public opinion [like a massive tsunami] turned against us.

    While that sleazy political hack and opportunist Armando Gutierrez and the pitifully well-meaning but woefully inadequate Marileysis became spokesmen for Elian, the other side found polished speakers from organizations running from Father's Rights Groups to Church Groups [Yes, I know that the National Council of Churches is a Marxist front, but to the world, Joan Brown Campbell was a nice grandmotherly type] to speak up for returning him to Cuba.

    Then the Mainstream Media did their usual number on us with people like the hideous Katie Couric viciously attacking us on National TV. Who can forget her comment about Elian being safer in Havana than in Miami.

    I watched the entire media circus from NYC and the media only focused on inarticulate, English-challenged protesters with cheap homemade posters, while they spoke to polished, English proficient speakers on the other side. To the world, the people gathered in front of Elian's home were "crazies." There was no attempt to organize it better. When you are in a media war, IMAGE IS EVERYTHING. It's going to sound harsh, but there was no attempt to control our crowds, and to rein in the inarticulate screaming viejos with the cheap homemade Spanish signs.

    And, where were the paid ads in major newspapers? The Cuban American National Foundation had one paid ad in the NY Post. The NY Post is not a national newspapers. Although I like the generally conservative NY Post, it's considered a "rag" by many New Yorkers. I presume that CANF chose the Post and not the NYT's which would have been the best choice, because it would have been a lot more expensive. Anyway, the ad was ridiculous. Instead of addressing the issue from a logical point of view, they appealed to cheap sentimentality and started talking about the alleged dolphins that saved Elian's life. While, its possible that dolphins did save his life, pointing this out in an article only gave more ammunition to the detractors who were making fun of us as if we were lunatics. Reading the ad, I wondered how anyone at the CANF offices could be so out-of-touch. It was shameful.

    Then when the brilliant Harvard law scholar Alan Dershowitz asked to take over the case [because despite his liberal credentials, Alan is a strict constitutionalist who was appalled by the way that the Clinton Administration was making a sham of the law], Elian's entrenched legal team lead by Reno's friend Kendall Coffey [conflict of interest here?] wouldn't hear of it! One wonders what motivated Elian's legal team? One of them seemed pretty opportunistic when he went on to become Mayor of Miami.

    Finally, even the conservatives turned against us. They saw Elian as an illegal alien and Cuban Americans as no different than border-crossing illegals and U.S.A. hating "Viva La Raza" types who want open borders in the USA. I used to spend hours on Internet message boards debating and the attacks were vicious. Conservatives would worry about Elian growing up to be a gangbanger and would refer to Cuban Americans in the most pejorative terms imaginable describing us as if we were a group leftist Che-T-Shirt wearing, quasi-communist, anti-American brown-power latinos.

    Who can forget the good ol'boy protesters with signs reading, "one down, one million more to go!" Or the surveys saying that people thought that we were ungrateful and that we were the most hated group in the USA.

  • Wahiro

    Boy ! time flies, It doesn't seem 10 years , that I used to go in front Elian's Family house to wish them the best AND pray for him.
    The night he was taken I was going to stay ,but my legs were killing me as well as my back ,from an accident.
    But we all had the feeling something was going to happened.

    We can't said his life was ruin, I believe in a higher power and perhaps it was meant for him to return and be the future democratic leader of Cuba, that's my fantasy and my prayer.
    Whatever will be will be.

  • Spygirl

    Rayarena, brother, you said it! Instead of approaching the problem in a calm, cold, rational manner---knowing full well what we were up against!---once again the Cubans #@$**# it up with the usual hysterics, the usual incompetence, the usual psychotics, the usual selfish backstabbing, the usual lack of planning.

  • Spygirl, you are dead wrong. We DID NOT know what we were up against. Not in our wildest nightmares could we have envisioned the kidnapping of a child to be sent back to fidel. It was not part of our experience as exiles. While I won't praise our efforts -- in the end we lost, after all -- I also won't damn them. We were -- are?-- still very emotionally attached to this issue. Not you or anyone else will convince me that we were wrong. We fought with the weapons we had and the people we had, and we lost. Shame on us. And double shame and damnation on those who gleefully sentenced this boy to a miserable, Godless, soul-deadening life.

  • C.E. Martinez

    I was living in Miami back then, I was woken up that early morning by the helicopter flying so low over my house, I knew right away it had something to do with Elian Gonzalez, it was such a depressing day not only that but the aftermath and days after. I was working down in South Dade at the time and I had to put up with so much anti-Cuban talk and slurs from the oh so tolerant anti-racist liberals (racism is politically correct when it is directed towards groups who mostly vote Republican and/or are conservatives)...I'm also half American, Anglo, whatever you want to call it and as the grandson of a WWII veteran it just sickens me to no end how this nation lowers itself to kissing the asses of Marxist scum who hate this nation and what it stands for. I want to point out the organzier of the so-called "pro-American" rallies in South Dade James Cross, the owner (or former) of the Red Rooster Lounge on US1 in Cutler Ridge at the time was a twice convicted pedophile, well he's now a 3x convicted pedophile as he's back in the slammer.

  • FreedomForCuba

    Rayarena and spygirl,

    I agree with George as today is easy to play armchair quarterback on this issue but at the time that it was happening there was a different picture.

    Of course the Castro regime in complicity with the MSM, the Clinton administration, lefties groups in America sympathetic to the Castro tyranny and several key players here in Miami were responsible for sending Elian back to Cuba and if it would happen today during this administration it would probably have the same outcome.

    The fact is that we had way too many players betraying us during the Elian affair meant that we were doomed from the start.

    Unfortunately many Americans also took the bait from the MSM and turned all their hate and prejudice into us mistakenly believing the MSM.

    Well, the American people today are paying the price for believing the MSM support for electing a Marxist anti-American bullshit artist into the highest office in the land. What goes around comes around.

    But you know what? As much as Bill Clinton doesn't regret sending Elian to Cuba I don't regret protesting the actions of his administration here in Miami. This was one of those times when you must act with your conscience regardless out the outcome and let the chips fall where they may.

    I also believe that the Elian affair happened for a reason and that reason was to deny Al Gore the Presidency of the USA (payback was a bitch back in the 2000 elections) because had he been POTUS during September 11, 2001 today we would have been in much worse shape that we're now.

    This event was prime example of how the Democrats always betray the Cuban people and the Cuban-American community here in the US and that's why I'll never play the role of useful idiot (like the Estefans are doing today) to that party.

    I have not forgotten (and never will)what we went through with Elian Gonzalez.

  • Spygirl

    George, the Cuban community definitely knew what it was up against. For MONTHS, it was obvious what was going to happen. Hell, even I knew that there was going to be a raid after the big rally when Reno said that they had made a mistake in announcing it beforehand! It didn't take a genius! I naturally assumed that both the family and the neighbors had made preparations for that eventuality. But no, it was the usual Cuban ineptitude.

    If the Cubans, for once, admitted their faults, we would be making a quantum leap in resolving the Castro problem; but, not, every time that someone criticizes the Cuban community, yet does it from an anti-Communist stance, they get dumped on. Hey, why do you think they've been in power for over half a century? Because of Cubans' eternal ineptitude. Hell, we couldn't even get independence from the pendejo Gallegos by ourselves!

    We didn't have an Humberto Fontova back then, but even so, there were ways to get our message across.

    This is a very emotional topic for me and I don't care if I get dumped on here.

  • Spygirl

    Freedom, AL GORE OPPOSED THE RAID! THIS IS ONCE OF THE REASONS WHY THE GORES HATE THE CLINTONS! JESUS CHRIST, DO WE ALSO HAVE TO BACKSTAB OUR ALLIES?

  • Larry Daley

    Is the Craig who went from the White House to Goldman-Sachs recently the same one who was lawyer for Castro in the Elian matter?

  • pototo

    Spygirl,
    You are full of it and by the sounds of your comments you sound more like a muckraking plant than anything else.

  • Gigi

    Well, I'm still not over the Elian affair -- the commie teachers they brought for him at Embassy Row in DC, the wacky grandmas, the "child's best interest" bs from Reno.... no way should we forget and move on. There was so much acrimony and hatred in my office that I ended up leaving the job 5 months later after working for them for over 18 years. Pro-Elian lawyers I worked with were threatened with career obstacles. Craig, Reno, Klintoon - they all cooked this up and had ZERO intention to do anything for the boy. And for those of you who want to be better informed, check out the court filings and Eric Holder's hand in this whole fiasco --- he was Reno's puppy and they both directed the whole thing hiding behind other people's signatures. Totally despicable cast of losers.

    If this does anything, it should spark the fire to get rid of the metralla that we have in office.

  • FreedomForCuba

    Second you pototo.

    spygirl,

    Keep dreaming that the Gores were out allies and hate the Clintons...

    Lay-off the bong, please...

  • Social comments and analytics for this post...

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by daniel_thecuban: 10 years ago today, #Reno stormtroopers pointed an automatic weapon at a 6 year old, heres the pic http://ow.ly/1BGlz...

  • FreedomForCuba

    Thanks for sharing Gigi...

  • firefly

    I was at Elian's uncle house the Friday before he was taken. I was on my way back to my office from a meeting when on the spur of the moment; I decided to stop by Elian’s house.

    I got there around 1:30p in the afternoon. This was my first and only time to have visited the place. I remember that it had been hot that day and Lazaro had started to pass water bottles to those in the crowd. I had been able to get in front of the crowd and since I was standing by the barricades, he offered me one (I never saw Elian or anyone else, and once Lazaro went back inside the house, he never came back out).

    To the left of where I was standing were several young men with bandanas covering their faces. At the time I thought it was odd. Why would anyone need to cover their face? I figured that since they were close to the TV cameras (they MSM was camped out across from Lazaro’s house and to the right from where I was standing) they didn’t want to appear on TV. Who knows?

    What I did notice were the FEDS. Since all the excitement had quiet down once Lazaro went back inside, I stared to scan the area to see if there was anyone I knew and that’s when I noticed a couple tall Anglo men standing by the barricades (very near to Lazaro’s neighbor’s house). They didn’t even try to hide it. Afterwards, when Elian was kidnapped, I realized why they’d been there that day.

  • FreedomForCuba

    "I naturally assumed that both the family and the neighbors had made preparations for that eventuality. But no, it was the usual Cuban ineptitude. "

    spygirl,

    How can you make such comments?

    What did you want the family to do in this case?

    Where they could go with Elian without being detected and followed by the feds?

    How could they have prepared for what it was coming to them?

    You wanted the family and neighbors to engage in a bloody gun battle with federal agents?

    Do you understand what the consequences of that action would have been?

    Dam, you're such a bonehead...

  • Sigh,

    The second photograph (uniformed Elian) really breaks one's heart. This kid could have really grown into someone of merit, someone great. He had all the opportunity in the world. And now he has become part of that group of folks who are the ire of the Cuban community- on and off the island.

    I hope he works his way out of it - I really do.

    AB

  • To some extent, many Cuban-American protesters did overreach. The way religious imagery was used to depict Elian as some sort of iconic figure, the sometimes over-the-top expressions of emotion, the lack of a well-organized and effective response from the people representing Elian's family in Miami...

    However, as George said, I won't damn them either. They were on the right side, and they were fighting against a well-organized and cynical machine in the Clinton administration. If our worst sin was lack of organization and overblown emotional outbursts, then we should all be condemned. For those who loved to dump on the Miami Gonzalez family as some species of low-life "escoria", the best way to judge a person's character is by what they do when they're not in the limelight. We've barely heard more than an occasional nugget from that family since 2000. The recent PB Post article on Delfin Gonzalez was the first I had heard from him in years. Basically, they have kept to themselves and have lived a quiet as life as possible, and are simple, unsophisticated but decent people who were directed by fate into an international incident.

  • FreedomForCuba

    "If our worst sin was lack of organization and overblown emotional outbursts, then we should all be condemned."

    Ditto, Robert...

  • Rayarena

    For those who say that we didn't know what we were up against, we most definitely knew what we were up against. For weeks prior to that horrible night, there was talk of a raid on Lazaro's house. There were even Cuban-Americans standing vigil in front of Lazaro's home around the clock in anticipation of the raid. I saw those Cuban-Americans on TV locking arms demonstrating how they would block the entrance to Elian's home if Reno and Doris Messinger's goons tried to raid the home.

    That said, I believe that Spygirl was also referring to the sleek public relations campaign that was being carried out by Castro in cahoots with the MSM and Marxist fronts like the National Council of Churches and how we were not up for the challenge.

    So nobody is being an arm chaired quarterback. The Elian debacle was a train wreck in slow motion. The outcome was painfully obvious and we dropped the ball.

    Why was that sleezy little political hack, Armando Gutierrez, allowed to be the family's handlers? I have nothing more the utmost respect for Uncle Lazaro whom I consider a hero, but I despise the people who around him who were around him, who mis-advising him and I believe got involved with Elian for personal reasons. Case in point, when Alan Dershowitz wanted to represent Elian, his legal team wouldn't hear of it! God forbid that their little limelight would have been taken from them.

    Read this article published in Newsmax.com:

    Analysis: Miami Family Lawyer is Throwing Legal Case for Elian

    NewsMax.com reports that a number of prosecutors and other employees in the Miami U.S. Attorney's Office are protesting against Janet Reno's forcible taking of Elian Gonzalez (see "Revolt in Reno's Ranks").

    These employees wore black to work this week to register their disgust with Reno and her illegal raid on the Gonzalez home.

    But sources among the Justice Department dissidents inform NewsMax.com that members of the group are equally dumbfounded by the legal actions of the Miami relatives.

    One of the assistant U.S. attorneys has now disclosed the following to NewsMax: "There are a number of us here [Assistant U.S. Attorneys] who don't understand why Elian's team of lawyers doesn't go to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals and hammer Reno hard, to make her the issue, to show the three judges that her raid was illegal and obtained by a false affidavit. It's maybe the only way to get the boy a fair hearing. Kendall Coffey, who is the head of the team, who used to be our boss here as the U.S. Attorney, ought to know that is the only strategy that will work."

    But these same sources know why the legal case on behalf of the Miami family has been bungled: Kendall Coffey.

    As reported here weeks ago by this reporter, Coffey has been a very close associate of Reno for decades.

    Coffey had served as a former fund raiser for Reno when she was state attorney.

    Coffey, in an act of political patronage, was then hand-picked by the Attorney General to be her U.S. Attorney here in Miami.

    Coffey then had to resign in disgrace in 1996 when he bought a lapdancer a magnum of champagne in a notorious striptease club called the Lipstick Lounge.

    Coffey bit the dancer on the rear end, prompting a complaint by the young woman to the local police.

    It later turned out Kendall used a government credit card to pay for his extravagances as well.

    Coffey was brought into the case because members of the Cuban-American Democracy Movement have close ties to the local Democratic Party and thought Coffey's close relationship with Reno could help them understand her while helping smooth the negotiations.

    Obviously Coffey did not "understand" Reno and she couldn't care less that he was representing the Miami family, as her decision to storm the house demonstrated.

    Even if Reno had fired Coffey, their relationship had been too close for too long to suggest that he would be willing to take her to the mat in a serious legal match.

    That point, made in NewsMax.com weeks ago, was proven accurate by the very weak legal response the Miami family made in the wake of the outrageous raid into their home and the seizure of the boy.

    Sources among the U.S. Attorney's office are not surprised Kendall is not taking strong legal actions.

    He was not agressive as a U.S. Attorney and nobody thinks he wants to rock the boat with Reno, the Justice Department or the local Democratic establishment ? because his private law practice still depends on his old network of contacts.

    But the sources are suprised that after the terrible situation Coffey has put them in that he is still in charge of their legal efforts.

    "If he remains in charge, the relatives are doomed. Elian will most certainly be returned," a source said.

    Is Coffey a decaffeinated attorney when it comes to mixing it up with his longtime friend Reno? So far he has helped put Elian just one step away from the next flight to Havana.

    Jack Thompson is a Miami attorney. He is a frequent commentator on the Elian Gonzalez case for the Fox News Channel.

  • FreedomForCuba

    Rayarena,

    In response to your very long post I hope that you understand from where I’m coming from.

    Please read Gigi’s post (I suspect that she knew what was happening) because it looks like she was working with lawyers that were dealing with the issue at the time.

    We had the most powerful man in the world at the time, the President of the United States of America, the scumbag that could not keep it inside his pants while in the oval office, Bill Jefferson Clinton going against us.

    We had no chance of winning this battle not matter what, the odds were totally stacked against us.

    Yes, we did lots of things wrong and yes, we could have handled it way much better but, even if we did that, the outcome would have been exactly the same because I suspect Bill Clinton had a secret arrangement to return that kid to Cuba with Fidel Castro and the in-between person for this secret deal was Greg Craig.

    Bill Clinton statement of couple days ago verified my suspicions in this case, that’s are why I cannot stand that SOB.

    We were screwed from the start on this issue whether we like to admit it or not. We were in a no-win situation, that freaking simple.

    What I can sincerely guarantee you is that the Elian Gonzalez would be living in America today if George W. Bush would have been the US President at the time.

  • Rayarena

    Freedomforcuba,

    You may be right, perhaps we were screwed from the start, but we made it far too easy for them. We played into their hands. The ongoing jokes on the Jay Leno Show, Saturday Night Life, that horrible Oliphant cartoon in the Washington Post, the editorials making fun of us. We are partly responsible for these things because, we gave them dried straws for their fire. The fire were the people standing in front of Elian's home with crucifixes and statues of the Virgin Mary, the talk about the dolphins, the inarticulate, Spanish speaking viejos screaming at the news cameras. I say this with pain, but to an outsider it did look like a circus and that's what those S.O.B's in the MSM said that it was. Then that political hack Armando Gutierrez and the well-meaning but woefully inadequate Marileysis were allowed to be Elian's spokesman.

    Then Kendall Coffey who was Janet Reno's friend was the chief lawyer! Give me a break! Isn't that like the fox guarding the chicken coop?

    Believe me, Alan Dershowitz would have made mincemeat out of Janet Reno, and a sophisticated PR campaign with polished speakers representing Elian and paid ads in the major American newspapers and commercials on TV would have made a difference.

    Hell, if Michael Jackson could pay for a commercial on TV when he was accused of molesting that boy, why couldn't we?

    Freedomforcuba, I agree with you that perhaps the outcome would have been the same, but to restate what I said, it wouldn't have been so easy and we wouldn't have become the national joke that we became.

  • Rayarena

    Correction: I didn't mean the Oliphant cartoon. There was a horrible cartoon in the Washington Post making fun of the Cubans during Elian. I don't know if Oliphant drew that cartoon, but it predates the infamous Oliphant cartoon that was published about a two years ago.

  • I'm late here after a very long day away from a computer. I've been reading the comments, and it seems to me this thread has come dangerously close to blaming the victims for the crime.

    "Inarticulate screaming viejos with the cheap homemade Spanish signs"

    Inarticulate? So what? Is anyone suggesting that they didn't have the right to protest? Should only polished professionals be allowed to express their views? I've seen elderly Cuban women become hysterical and nearly faint at the sight of the che image, and express themselves quite clearly if a little inarticulately. I imagine seeing the image of the man responsible for murdering family members might have that effect. I've seen plenty of news footage over the years of African Americans screaming inarticulately over actual or perceived incidents of racism, I've seen plenty of elderly Jews get very upset at the mere mention of Hitler, and no pundit dared to make the comments such as we've heard and read about Cuban-Americans. Hell, how many times have we seen some Peta member of greenie fruitcake coming unglued on camera. Do the pundits make fun of them? The blame for Elian's kidnapping lies squarely with the Clinton administration, Reno, their crooked cohorts, and the rat in Havana pulling the strings.

    Think about it please.

  • Rayarena

    Ziva,

    Your point is well taken. I agree with you, but the difference between Cubans and Jews, etc.. is that for every Jew who gets upset and emotional at the mere mention of Hitler, there is a polished B'nai Brith, and Anti-Defamation operative setting the record straight, there is some Jewish organization willing to spend money on a paid ad, or an editorialist or commentator writing a well-thoughtout explanation in some major newspaper. Ditto for blacks, ditto for gays, etc...

    There was no balance with the Cuban-Americans. The closest thing that we had [and I use past tense, because since Jorgito took over CANF, it went STRAIGHT to the toilet] was CANF and they were woefully ineffective during Elian. As I said in a previous post, CANF paid for a ridiculous ad in the third-tier NY Post where they waxed poetic about the dolphins that allegedly saved Elian's life. Couldn't they have paid for a full-page well-reasoned Ad in the New York Times? Then what did CANF do? They staged public protests and they blocked traffic. This made commuters furious. As one commuter said, I support Elian's stay in the USA, but its not my fault that this is happening and I shouldn't have to suffer for it! It was a PR disaster.

    Am I blaming the victim for Elian's unjust kidnapping by the Castro/Clinton/Reno triad? No, that would be a wrong interpretation of what I am saying. I am being constructively critical.

    I am being constructively critical of the lack or organization, or the people who were unwilling to step aside, so that Alan Dershowitz could take over the case, people who were unwilling to step aside, because they wanted to stay in the limelight, etc.. I am being critical of the over-bloated egos.

    What I am saying is that we don't have friends. The MSM is not our friend, neither was the Clinton Adminstration. They appealed to the American people before going for the jugular. Make no mistake about it. The months preceeding the Elian kidnapping was a well-thoughtout, Goebbelian public relations campaign by Castro/Clinton/Reno, so that they could kidnap Elian. Once they thought that we had been villainized enough, once they had elicited--either directly or indirectly-- the help of Father's Rights Groups, Anti-illegal Immigration Groups, Pro-Family Groups, pro-Castro groups, bigots, etc..., once we had become the most unpopular ethnic group in this country as one infamous survey at the time alleged, then they went for the kill.

    We played into their hands. Leaving Lazaro who is a brave and heroic, but, yet simple man in the hands of Armando Gutierrez was a big mistake, allowing the well-meaning, but inarticulate Marileysis to be a spokesperson for Elian was a big mistake, allowing Armando Gutierrez and Kendall Coffey to represent Elian were big mistakes, not countering the misinformation campaign by eliciting the best PR company New York City had to offer was a big mistake.

    As I said, watching the Elian debacle was like watching a train wreck in slow motion, and seeing the actors make the mistakes in slow motion and knowing what the outcome was going to be as a result of those mistakes.

  • Rayarena: I thought Marisleysis was very articulate and expressed her emotions in a clear, honest, heartfelt way. So what if she wasn't "polished" like a Kendall Coffey (what good did his polish do, BTW?). She is NOT to blame for the organizational and strategic issues Cuban-Americans suffered.

  • Rayarena

    Robert,

    Marileysis was not articulate, but I won't debate that with you if that is what you believe. She did, however, express her heartfelt emotions which came across clearly. Unfortunately, that's not what convinces the American people, especially when you have a press that turned her emotional outbursts into signs of instability and laughed at her frequent fainting spells which became the butt of a nationwide joke.

    That said, I never said that Marileysis was to blame for the organizational and strategic issues Cuban-Americans suffered. All that I said was that it was a blunder to make her a spokesperson for Elian.

    On another note, I'm a bit confused by your use of Kendall Coffey as a comparison to Marileysis to drive in your point. That would seem to suggest that I have some respect for Coffey. Have you read what I wrote? I've said repeatedly that Kendall Coffey was largely to blame for the debacle. So, of course Kendall Coffey's polish didn't do any good, because he threw the legal case for Elian.

    He was the first person that had to be replaced. He was the biggest mistake in this entire fiasco.

  • Gigi

    Coffey was a bad lawyer for this case. All he wanted was face time with the cameras. He did have one or two other co-counsel who were experts on family law, but he was the one to argue the case and he did a miserable job. Tickled Reno with feathers, didn't hammer her at all; read the transcript. When I saw him and Manny Diaz involved in it, I knew it was a slippery slope downward. Too bad, there were attys. who were genuinely interested in helping the family; but politicians are always politicians first, and anything else second. Elian got Coffey a spot as a legal commentator on TV down the line; just some extra cash to blow at his favorite joint. Sad and pathetic. He hasn't done much in the exile community since then, which shows me he didn't give a hoot.

  • Gallardo

    Well, the Elian incident further demonstrated the stupid and back-staving realities of this nation. It must be said that more inconceivable than seeing the USA send a child back to a Stalinist tyranny is seeing how the USA has allowed such stalinist tyranny to perpetuate itself comfortably and undisturbed for half a century.

    Gentlemen, let's be real, Castro is there because the USA has allowed him to be there. After back-staving Batista (after propping him) in '58 with an arms embargo all to favor Castro, once Castro demonstrated to be what Batista indeed had always said he was, a fraud and a communist, they then backed out and again back-staved our freedom fighters five minutes before reaching Cuban shores. They have protected that cancer ever since as I think all of us here know the destiny of those (the likes of Omega 7 or Alpha 66) that have been caught attempting to smuggle armament into Cuba or doing hits against communist officials outside of Cuba. Yes, some are free but others are in jail when none should be in jail. Sadly, be sure that our enemies will help each other but I can't say the same for our "friends", again sad but true.

    Let's also not forget that in WWII they fought along Stalin and gave him half of Europe. In fact, it was after this that communism flourished and spread all over the world killing more people than Hitler's Nazism or any other system for that matter. The USA "Liberated Europe", my ass. They eliminated one monster to favor another and cashed on it. The Soviets were weak, there was not reason for that and had it not been for a true honorable president with position and principles like Reagan, Washington D.C. would still be sucking soviet d%^k, believe it.

    The very fact that Castro slaved and robbed an entire well-off republic that had millions of foreign dollars invested in it and an American military base right on Cuban soil that was never capable of even giving a single gun to a Cuban, more than shows the unreliable imbecility of which I speak.

    Yet, while Castro is allowed to destroy an entire nation and serve as a bastion of financing and training for further bloody communists elements across the region, they do go into Panama to take Noriega out in a weekend and sentence him to a life sentence for trafficking cocaine, give me a f#@%ing break.

    I think we can all agree that after WWII the foreign police of the USA has been utter stupidity and failure. It has cost them morally, a lot of blood, and monetarily. This very wars that USA is today loosing are the result of previous mistakes and stupidity. Come on, the USA put the Taliban in power, Clinton had two chances to kill Bin Laden and good info on 9/11 (he simply didn't do crap), and Saddam could, and should, have been taken out in the fist Gulf War. Let's say things by their name. Indeed, this is a great nation founded by great fathers and a lot of smart people along the way but there is also a huge amount of myopia and stupidity here, way too damn much for a main power, that's for sure. One day too much will be too much and sadly I think that day is being visible.

    Remember Honduras a couple of months ago? Yeah, the USA verbally attacking and pressuring a Honduran constitution abiding government for ousting an anti-American poppet of Chavez, yeah that is also very inconceivable stuff. Hell, the very fact that this population has elected as a messiah a resented bluff socialist that clearly does not represent nor feel for this nation, a shameless manipulator that visited Rev. Wright's "church" for 20 years is also very inconceivable. The Elian case is just one more of the many. Sadly after observing all of this, it is not inconceivable, the consistency of it all is scary stuff, that's what it is. We all must truly do what we can because this great nation as we know it I feel is not just stuck but on the edge. I have never felt so doubtful of the next 10 years, I hope I am wrong, but I truly feel that way.

  • FreedomForCuba

    Gallardo,

    All I have to say after reading your long post is that I cannot dissagree with you.

    It is the painful truth, but it is what it is...

  • As a resident Americana here at Babalu, and on my own blog, I have often posted of U.S. complicity with the castros, and the responsibility the U.S. government has in Cuba's tragedy. It is my opinion, that castro not only destroyed Cuba, but also is responsible for the degradation of U.S. civil society, the demise of our public education curriculum, and in general every bad thing that has happened since my adolescence, in fact I was 11 years old News Years 1959, and I remember the news footage like it was yesterday. It was only a short time later that U.S. university students started dressing like, and looking like fidel y che. Do not underestimate the scope of the evil perpetuated by this monster.

    I love my country, and as a loyal citizen will always defend and protect the constitution of this great nation, but I will not collaborate with any elected official, however high the office, of anyone who collaborates with the tyrannical regime in Cuba... period, and not only for my sympathies towards Cuba, but because of my firm belief that the fate of Cuba, and the United States is joined, and therefore, things will not be right for the United States until the United States makes amends and does right by Cuba.