Sorry, Dems, Billie Boy Blew It

Perhaps if Bill Clinton would have had a moral compass and done what was right instead of politically expedient and allowed Elian Gonzalez to remain with his family here in the States, George W. Bush might never had been President.

But, alas, asking a liberal the likes of Bill Clinton for an ounce of compassion and decency is an exercise in futility. Taking Elian by force, at gunpoint, in a Koresh style raid is a slap in the face the Cuban-American community will never, ever forget.

And it solidified, yet again, our relationship with the Republican Party.

Among Cuban Americans, it is a common tenet that the anger about what happened on this Miami street cost the Democrats the White House in 2000. It also helped doom Sen. John F. Kerry (news, bio, voting record) (D-Mass.) in November’s presidential election.

“It further sealed the identification of Cuban Americans with Republican politics and the perception that the Democrats cannot be trusted when it comes to Cuba” said Hans de Salas del Valle, research associate at the Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies at the University of Miami.

Joanna Dorte, 38, a relatively recent arrival on the block, knew Elian’s father slightly in Cuba. A little over two years ago, she came to America with her son, Antonio Luis Zayas, now 5. One recent morning, she arrived across the street from the Gonzalez home to do housework. When asked if she had been in the place of Elian’s father what would she want for her own child, Dorte didn’t hesitate.

I’d prefer that he be here in the United States,” Dorte said. “Because life in Cuba is very difficult, and there is no hope.”

Any father worth his salt as a father would want the absolute best for his child. And any President worth his salt as a man would have stood firm with resolve against fidel’s propaganda machinations.

It’s ironic that the fate of one little Cuban boy found at sea – it can be argued – decided the fate for the next eight years of the United States.

Oh, and, Janet Reno? Kiss my ass.

46 thoughts on “Sorry, Dems, Billie Boy Blew It”

  1. Val,

    Don’t you find it equally ironic that the Republican Party, which is the oft-quoted party of “family values,” opposed Clinton’s decision to re-unite a father with his son? After all, isn’t a solid family the foundation of “family values” as they define them? If you haven’t already, read “Cuba Confidential: Love and Vengeance in Miami and Havana” by Anne Louis Bardach. She does an incredible job analyzing the Elian saga on both sides.


  2. Martin,
    I think that the term “family values” does not only mean family unity, but parents granting their children the best opportunities. Elian’s father did not permit his child to have those opportunities.
    If Elian were in the States, he’d be free to not only enjoy a real childhood, as opposed to being used by Castro for his own personal gain with those ridiculous public appearances, he’d have a real future. He’d go to University to study his chosen vocation, not study to be say, an architect, yet have to drive tourists around to make enough money to eat.

  3. Amanda,

    The simple fact is that a determination of that sort should only be made by the parents the child, not distant relatives (which is what the Miami relatives were), something most of the court decisions regarding Elian highlighted. You may not like how Elian’s father decided, but it’s his child, not yours. The U.S. government and the courts stuck to an established precedent in the matter, and Elian’s father clearly believed that his son would do best with him in Cuba. Had he thought otherwise, he could easily have defected when he came to the U.S. to get Elian back.


  4. Well put. The Elian case also solidified the republicans at state level. Miss. Janet Reno could not even win the primary of her own party in her run for governor (Kiss my ass too Miss Reno). And Bob Graham’s seat at the US Senate was won by the Republican Mel Martinez (A cuban-american). Bill Nelson WATCH-OUT!

  5. *Could* he have defected? Did he have any family still in Cuba? Parents, siblings?

    This is not a quiz; I don’t know yes or no.

    But, if he did have family still in Cuba, what happens to them if he defects? Elian’s father didn’t float to Miami on a raft, he came over openly, with Castro’s full knowledge. You can bet that Castro knew where his family lived, if he had one.

  6. It’s been awhile so I don’t remember all the details, but didn’t Elian’s ‘father’ not even miss his son until fidel told him to make a fuss? And what about the mother knowing what’s best/right for her child? She died at sea trying to get her son to freedom, didn’t she?

    Sorry, Martin, but your attempt at turning Clinton’s decision into a nicey-nice father-child reunion won’t work with this crowd.

  7. Too bad the Elian case became politics instead of what it really was. A child belongs w/ his parent(s). I think i was the only cuban-american thinking that way. The means by which he was removed was completely wrong, but I was more embarrassed by the masses of Cubans demonstrating and rioting outside the(distant) families home. They made it a circus. I came to the U.S.A. when i was 5, with mother and brother, my dad was already here waiting for us, and I was traumatised. I can’t imagine the trauma Elian wouldve gone through w/ no parent at all.

  8. I don’t think Martin read the post.

    Elian’s mother died for his freedom. Elian’s father only took an interest in him when he learned he could raise his value to fidel and partake in greater luxuries of the nomenklatura.

    And Martin, why are you defending fidel now anyway – you were trying to tell us Chavez was good on the grounds he was no fidel. Now, we learn from you that life under communism is no big deal (easy for you to say in full freedom)and fidel isn’t such a bad guy after all! Either life under fidel is hell or it’s not! Make up your mind!

    Never forget Elian!

  9. No Ekaterina, you weren’t the only Cuban American who thought Elian should go back with his father. I think we’re a little more diverse in opinions than you seem to give credit for. And, aside from a few troublemakers the day of the raid, I don’t recall any rioting in front of Elian’s uncle’s house.

    For what it’s worth, Elian’s father showed absolutely no courage and no “fatherly” instinct when he decided to camp out in Washington and wait for Elian to be hand-delivered to him 4 months after he last saw his son. As a parent myself, I would’ve wanted to be with my child as soon as possible, Fidel or whomever else be damned. Of course, he had the full support of our administration and those bastions of fairness and family values – The Council of Churches.

    All Elian’s father had to do was come to Miami and meet with his uncles, and then his decision to return to Cuba with Elian would have been met with respect, if not by a large majority, then at least by a considerable amount of Cuban Americans, myself included.

  10. Elian is where he should be right now. Thanks to Janet Reno for having the guts to do what was right in the face of overwhelming opposition from groups who just wanted to punish Castro, as well he should be, but not at the expense of Elian.

  11. If the most concerned leader of Cuba did not read The Herald daily, and Elian had not been made such a fuss of, the opportunity for him to try to rub the exile community’s face in Clinton’s and Reno’s dung would not have materialized in his twisted but agile mind. But what a surprise! El tiro le salio por la culata (it backfired) and the Miami mafia as he calls us, registered and voted vigorously in the last 2 elections. The outcome was one Fidelito did not want, and it cost him one of his buddies in the long run, Saddam. It cost Clinton’s his designs into further influencing U.S. presidential politics tru his lap dog Gore and saved the American people from the further weakening of the military, the erosion of national security, and the giving away American technology to the Chinese for campaign contributions. Sad as it was, the return of Elian to Cuba actually helped achieve a greater good, in spite of Castro’ and Clinton’s efforts to put the Cuban Americans in “their place”. I have always loved the saying, “Men plan and scheme and God laughs”.

  12. Janet Reno is the scum of the earth. She took away a small child’s freedom, a freedom his mother died for. I have no words for what she deserves. I am only tranquil in the knowledge that it will be all sorted out in the end. She will get what is coming to her.

  13. You are right on target with your remarks about the taking of Elian at gunpoint and how it consolidated the Republicans. One more point: I’m not Cuban, and I live hundreds of miles away, but a lot of people like me were equally horrified by this event. Certainly the election results are one aftershock of that event and the many other acts of the Clinton years. Anyone who does not believe this needs to wake up and face reality.

  14. what can ew say about the state, stinking state of the union. deficits, the death and destruction of peace and prosperity. un-employment, stone walling investigation. so many loser topics to choose from. now the social security “crisis”. the bush bright spot elian was why you voted for this …give me strength….bush did not win by 537 votes…the court stoped the count…

  15. Martin,what Elians father decided? You mean what castro decided. I don’t think Cubans have freedom of choice.

  16. Kathleen,

    You’re assuming Elian’s father did not love his son. Whether or not Castro was behind it, a child and his father should not be kept apart over political spats between Cuban Americans and Fidel Castro.

    And Mora, if Cubans understand why saving a child is worth turning the world upside down, no one will understand this better than a Cuban father seeking his Cuban son, right?


  17. Martin,

    Seriously man, why cant you just admit defeat? You arent Cuban, you have no Cuban family, you werent raised Cuban, wtf do you know about what a cuban family is like? Think you know more than me about that subject?

  18. Val,

    You’re telling me that only a Cuban would understand the importance Latinos generally place on their family? Well shit, I know citizens of 33 countries in the region that might be a little upset by that characterization. And what do I have to admit defeat to? The simple fact is that a father belongs with his son (something you should agree with, considering you are Cuban and seem to know so much about the importance of family).

    Like I said, read “Cuba Confidential: Love and Vengeance in Miami and Havana” for a detailed description of the Elian affair and the roles played by groups on either side of the Florida Straits, and why Elian should have ended up with his father.

    Finally, and this was mentioned earlier, the Elian affair might have swung Cuban Americans into the waiting arms of the Republican Party, but it hardly delivered Bush the 2000 election. You live in Florida, and you should know that the close nature of that election was due to many other factors (among them the disenfranchisement of thousands of African-American voters and ex-felons whose voting rights should have been re-instated).


    PS: This is out of simple curiousity, but what is the Cuban American sentiment on Orlando Bosch and Luis Posada Carriles?

  19. Martin,

    I again am not talking about Latin America. Just because we speak the same language does not mean we are all the same. Now, once again, are you Cuban and do you profess to know more about the Cuban family than I do? You ignore the comment from a cuban woman in the artcle, is that more of your morla relativism? Or is it just ignorring the facts as stated?

    You were banned from this site and showed up again. I let it slide, but my patience with you is running thing. And dont give me any of that fascist suppression of speech shit either. This is MY site, and I will throw out the trash whenever I want.

  20. Val,

    No I am not Cuban, but one woman’s opinion in an article cannot pass as an opinion that represents all Cubans. She isn’t, after all, Elian’s father, so asking her for her opinion on the matter is irrelevant. Doesn’t the opinion of a Cuban father matter, especially when the father is the only direct family still alive?

    I recognize that this is your site, and that this is the second time you have tried to cut an argument short by banning me. I’m flattered!


    PS: Since you’re a moral absolutist, care to answer that question about Bosch and Posada Carriles?

  21. Oh Martin, dont pat yourself on the back, you were banned for being a pest moreso than anything else.

    Just how many opinions would you need, Martin? 100? 1000? Dude, I dont want to get any further with you on this subject. First, because its not that you dont know whatthe hell youre talking about, its that you know you dont know whatthe hell youre talking about and you try to convince those of us that see through your inanity that you do.

    Second, I will not hijack this thread on question from you that have nothing to do with the topic at hand. Stick to the topic or shut the hell up.

  22. Val,

    Everytime you see me making a point, you jump ship, not wanting to discuss further.


    PS: You still haven’t answered the quetion–What is your opinion of Bosch and Posada Carriles, two terrorists highly regarded by many Cuban Americans? This should be an easy question for someone like yourself, a non-moral relatavist…

  23. Martin,

    Im not jumping ship, man. It’s just that I have a life, you know? I certainly dont want to sit here and argue with you, on my own blog no less, when you obviously have a script and refuse to even accept the fact that some people may know more than you on a subject because they have lived it, for real and in person. See what Im saying, Martin?

    Nothing you could possibly say will change my mind on this because you have not lived it. End of story.

  24. Val,

    Unless your life story mirrors that of Elian’s, you have no right to claim absolute ownership of any issue relating to him.


    PS: Remember, you do not speak for the entire Cuban-American populace.

  25. I have three little words for those who believe that a child’s freedom and a mother’s last wish counts nothing against the wishes of Fidel, Bill, Janet and the National Council of Churches.

    Operaci?n Pedro Pan.

    If that had happened around the time of Eli?n, how many children would have been turned back by Bill and Co. because they had to be “with their parents”?

    Think about it.

  26. Matin, viejo, you know what, I, do think you are Cuban….. But a ?angara Cuban plantado aca por el Caballo….

    Si se?or, one that gets to go shopin’ at all the Yanki shopin centers and delights living in the horrors of capitalism with all its so called by bola de churre, “a den of bourgeois excesses and decadence”, yes, living it up while pretending to being forced to do so for thee good of the glorious revolucion and its mythical logros. Just as long as you show a dissenting attitude to everything that the rest of us have worked so hard at to enlighten other useful fools.

    Well, mi socio, its been tried before on all of us and know what? Didn’t work! ha ! ha!

  27. Nope, not Cuban, nor a Castro sympathizer. Just arguing that a child should be with his father. Hardly communism, wouldn’t you say?


  28. Cohete,

    Es ?angara, pero no del caballo, sino del hijastro, Hugo Chavez.


    Ok,man. You insisted. I dont want to have this debate with you because, well, I think youre a dick. Happy now? I didnt want to say it, but you just kept pushing. And please, save the “Oh Im making sense so you resort to ad hominem attacks” whine for someone who actually doesnt think youre a dick and it will make a difference to. Ya, por favor.

  29. Ahhh, the insult. The last refuge of a bad argument.

    Your silence on my question speaks volumes, really. You’re more of a moral relativist than anyone you’ve accused of the same. Congrats.

    All I wanted was a simple answer, and all I got in return was insults.

  30. Martin,

    Yes, it’s an insult, but it seems to be the general concensus. Here and in quite a few other blogs you frequent.

    Please, enough with highjacking the threads.

  31. Martin,

    The only person that decided Elian was to be returned to Cuba was Castro not Elian’s father. The only person that kept Elian’s father away from his son for months was Castro. Stop the BS. Pal, in the not so distant future, castro is going to die and the truth of his 40 plus year regime will be revealed to you and all the other apologists. When that day happens I am sure loudmouths such as yourself will be nowhere to be found.

  32. “Who is ready to give up their child,

    for someone else’s idea of greater opportunity for

    that child?”

    Cuban parents are forced to do that everyday because castro takes them away and shuts them up in boarding schools to brainwash them. If Elian’s ‘father’ cared so much about him, why didn’t he either try to escape with him or try to prevent him from going in the first place?

  33. To clarify once and for all: The decision to return Elian was made in accordance with U.S. law. Clinton and Reno did nothing but obey legal precendent in sending Elian to be with his father. The courts ruled that only Elian’s father could represent him in asylum-related proceedings–his other relatives were too distant to legally act in his stead. This may be unfortunate to Cuban-Americans, but this is what democrats tend to call the “rule of law.”

  34. Martin,

    May I butt in…?? Your like will get definitive clarification to whether the outcome was the best for Elian one day. This day is coming, inexorably.

    The day I’m referring to is that when an adult Elian is able to analyze and opine about the fiasco that Janet Reno & Co. made of his youg life, and the years of wasted brainwashing that he had to endure as a result.

    I’m sure he’ll say, “mal rayo los parta a todos”.

  35. Martin,

    May I butt in…?? Your like will get definitive clarification to whether the outcome was the best for Elian one day. This day is coming, inexorably.

    The day I’m referring to is that when an adult Elian is able to analyze and opine about the fiasco that Janet Reno & Co. made of his youg life, and the years of wasted brainwashing that he had to endure as a result.

    I’m sure he’ll say, “mal rayo los parta a todos”.

  36. “Ahhh, the insult. The last refuge of a bad argument.”

    No, sorry, that would be comparison to Hitler.

    “The decision to return Elian was made in accordance with U.S. law.”

    I assume you’re an attorney and can fill us in on all the details? Such as why, in a case involving so many obvious conflicts of interest, it would not have been advisable and indeed, practically required for the AG to seek appointment of a guardian ad litem?

  37. Dave,

    I am curious as to what conflicts of interest you are referring to. If those on the side of the Miami relatives, then you are right, there were many.

    As for appointing a guardian ad litem, why would the AG do so when she knew full-well that Elian had a legal guardian, that being his biological father? A guardian ad litem is appointed to represent children who are overlooked–when your father is asking for you back, you don’t qualify as being “overlooked.” The simple fact is that Elian was six years old, far from the age at which he could represent himself in any asylum-related proceedings. That being the case, his legal guardian would have to represent him, and if his legal guardian wants him back in his custody, well, that’s the law.

    I think it is also important to note that Manuel Gonzalez, one of Elian’s great uncles living in Miami, publicly expressed his opinion that Elian should be with his father.


  38. Excuse me you want to delve in to legalisms? Are you really arguing that Elian’s father, or his family in Cuba, were not under undue influence or duress from the Castro dictatorship to seek Elian’s return? No free will on his part, means that his legal pleadings are worthless. He wasn’t allowed to leave Cuba for months, because of Castro. When he finally came here, he was under the watchful eye of “Cuban” diplomats at all times and if you remember the rest of the family was kept back in Cuba while his father was “staying” at the Cuban consulate.

    Dude, as far as most people believe, we only live once. Perhaps, you should spend your one life doing worthwhile things instead of pimping for a mass-murdering scumbag dictator. Finally, as I said in my last post, when his regime falls, people such as yourself are going to be eating a lot of crow………as you always do when a leftist regime collapses.

  39. I’m not pimping for a mass-murdering scumbag, as you so eloquently put it.

    As for Elian’s father, you clearly didn’t read the news of his visit here. He paid extended visits to American officials (he met with AG Janet Reno with no other Cubans present), at which time he could have easily defected or indicated a desire to do so. He didn’t. Yes, Cuba may be the horrible tropical gulag you claim it is (and I tend to agree), but he may have been one of those Cubans crazy enough (gasp!) to want to go back there. That is his decision, not yours. Elian was his son, not yours. Therefore, the legality issue is important. If memory serves, two of Elian’s grandmothers also came to the US from Cuba early on to argue for his return. They could just have easily defected, or indicated that they wanted to. They also didn’t.

    I am amused by the fact that so many Cuban Americans argue against the tyranny of Fidel Castro, only to impose their own tyranny by which people who do not agree with them on every point are insulted and ostracized.

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