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.
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.