Elian Gonzales Then and Now

Via TMZ: "On April 22, 2000, Elian was taken from the home of his Miami relatives by U.S. federal agents and eventually returned to Cuba. In 2008, Elian became a member of the Young Communist Union of Cuba."

TMZ reports the recent picture is from Easter Sunday and says he looks "indoctrinated." I can't tell. He looks more wistful to me. Maybe he was humming Cher's "If I Could Turn Back Time" in his head. Either way, a sad chapter for their whole family, both the cousins and aunts and uncles in Miami who wanted him to stay, and the father in Cuba who wanted him back. The father clearly had the law on his side.

As for whether Elian would have been lonely and felt separated from Cubans had he stayed in Miami, the answer is probably no. Miami Dade alone has a population of 650,000 Cubans, including those of Cuban descent. I think he'll turn out ok either way, he was a happy child and now is a "purposeful" adult. Good luck, Elian. My sympathies have always lay with you in this ordeal.

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    I felt so sorry for that kid (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by desmoinesdem on Tue Apr 06, 2010 at 05:01:00 AM EST
    I lost my mother at a young age and can't imagine dealing with all of the extra stress associated with the custody battle.

    The child clearly belonged with his father, but I hope he has been allowed to keep communicating with his relatives in Miami. It would be wrong for him to be cut off from that branch of the family.

    the question wasn't (5.00 / 5) (#4)
    by Turkana on Tue Apr 06, 2010 at 12:12:35 PM EST
    whether he'd feel lonely and separated from the cuban people, it was whether he'd feel lonely and separated from one cuban person- his only surviving parent. i thought his american relatives were mostly reprehensible opportunists.

    attempting to gauge his mood from a single photo is like bill frist analyzing terri schiavo from a video. shame on tmz.

    Exactly. Well said, Turkana. (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by bridget on Tue Apr 06, 2010 at 12:24:42 PM EST
    Elian was not old enough to choose (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by Slado on Tue Apr 06, 2010 at 01:18:45 PM EST
    for himself so he should have gone back to his father.

    I always differed with my conservative friends in saying there was no justifiable reason for a child to be separated from his father.  

    If he had been 12 or 14 he could have told a judge where he wanted to live but he wasn't.  He was a 6 year old boy who belonged with his father.

    Would he have been better off in the US?  Of course he would have but so would a child living in squaller in a thousand different countries on this planet and the US would be no more justified in keeping Elian in Miami then they would be kidnapping children from across the globe and bringing them here.

    Hopefully Elian will live long enough to live in a free democracy one day.  The silver lining is he will most likely out live Castro.

    I felt so sorry for that kid (none / 0) (#2)
    by Jen M on Tue Apr 06, 2010 at 06:48:49 AM EST
    and the trauma of his removal from the relative's home.  Then the stranglehold he instantly had on his father when he saw him.

    There have been so many stories, before and after, about Americans trying to recover their children from a spouse who has taken them abroad. In those cases we tend to insist the kid be brought back. Especially if the spouse has died and the kid(s) are in custody of family.  

    What's right is right.

    I didn't know there was a (none / 0) (#3)
    by jeffinalabama on Tue Apr 06, 2010 at 08:21:14 AM EST
    specific look for being 'indoctrinated.'

    inasmuch as feeling alone and separated? there's a difference between being around others of the same nationality and being around your own father. Family is extremely important for many reasons.

    Wistful or not .... (none / 0) (#5)
    by bridget on Tue Apr 06, 2010 at 12:17:16 PM EST
    I still can't believe that anyone still holds a grudge against those people who decided that young Elian was sent back home to Cuba to be with his father (isn't that something that even his mother wanted? and she should know....) after he lost his mother. It was the right thing to do.

    Alone the way it is written up: "Via TMZ: "On April 22, 2000, Elian was taken from the home of his Miami relatives .... Please!!! The propaganda at the time was unbelievable. TV was there, of course.

    The Cuba hatred is ongoing. For what? Why not work towards peace with a country so close to our own borders? Hasn't enough hate time gone by?

    He looks "indoctrinated"? For heavens sake.

    Let me share my own projections:

    Maybe he is thinking on that picture about all those Cuban doctors who had left for Haiti to help those seriously injured, the poor and homeless people who lost limbs and had nothing but hacksaws. While hospitals in Miami were just 90 miles away. Actually AFAIK some hospitals there were more than ready to treat them. Plenty of beds, doctors and meds were waiting. They were not allowed to help ...

    Instead the US sent soldiers so homeless Haitians wouldn't emigrate to the US.

    Maybe he thinks about all the money that was sent to Haiti? What happened to all the money generous people from all over the world sent to Haiti? Somehow it didn't help thousands of people living injured with no roof over their heads months after the earthquake.

    Maybe he thinks of countries like a certain "hatred" country in South America that not only sent meds etc. but also forgave Haiti's debt? Shouldn't the richest country in the world have done the same at the v. least?

    Too bad that the American press doesn't keep us informed ... Maybe Glenn Greenwald will look into it unless he hasn't done so already.

    So it Looks to me Elian turned into a nice looking young man. Lets not read too much into pictures. I wish I could show you some of my own when I was that age. Thoughtful? Yes. Indoctrinated? I don't think so. So Elian may be looking at something of interest and thinks of .... anything. Maybe he thinks  ... nothing.

    btw. I have lived in cities with millions of citizen with my own nationality. It wasn't much different from living in Paris or London.

    I also stayed with fabulous relatives during vacation time as a kid.

    But home is home - as a kid it always is where the parents are. Where ones mother and father live. Relatives? Its nice to have them. But they are just relatives after everything is said and done.  

    At the time, I very much supported reuniting (none / 0) (#8)
    by oculus on Tue Apr 06, 2010 at 01:29:23 PM EST
    Elian with his father in Cuba.   Subsequently, I read Carlos Eire's book "Waiting for Snow in Havana."  Eiere and his older brother were part of the Peter Pan exodus of children from Cuba to U.S. Their mother immigrated years later.  Their father chose to remain in Cuba.  They never saw him again after they left Cuba.  Kids had a very rough time of it both before and after their mother arrived.  Eire is now a Professor of History at Yale University.  I "googled" him after I finished his book.  He stated he was repeatedly contacted about the Elian Gonzalez matter by mainstream media, including NYT, for his opinion.  When those contacting him found out his opinion was Elian should remain in the U.S., the invitations were withdrawn.

    No segue:  Elian's father is now a member of Cuba's legislature.  

    I don't understand. Why should (none / 0) (#10)
    by observed on Tue Apr 06, 2010 at 07:16:13 PM EST
    the father's politics have anything to do with whether Elian was returned to him?
    If that's what you're saying, it would make a terrible precedent.
    Also, I don't understand the point about mentioning the other family member. Surely there are plenty of family members in Miami who are willling to say Elian should have stayed in Florida.

    I gathered the Castro regime rewarded (none / 0) (#11)
    by oculus on Tue Apr 06, 2010 at 07:41:23 PM EST
    the father with political position.  He was previously in the service industry/tourism.  His position as a legislator happened after he and Elian returned to Cuba.

    What do you mean by "other family member"?


    A nice looking young ma --looks thoughtful, to me. (none / 0) (#9)
    by jawbone on Tue Apr 06, 2010 at 07:09:03 PM EST