Let's begin with the big lie -- that Elian Gonzalez was separated from his father by his Cuban-American relatives living in Miami, and that father and son were reunited by Janet Reno's INS storm troopers. (What else can you call them, given their pre-dawn assault on a private home to snatch a child who was not a hostage, at gunpoint?)
The entire premise of the Elian drama -- that the Miami relatives have kept the boy from his father -- is false. Elian was separated from his father not by Lazaro Gonzalez and company, but by Fidel Castro: the world's longest surviving and most sadistic dictator, a man who has murdered and tortured personal friends and close political allies, reduced his people to a state of abject poverty in which all children just a year older than Elian are denied milk by government decree, and made the entire nation an island prison.
There has not been a single day in the four months and two weeks of separation that Juan Miguel Gonzalez could not have been reunited with his son in Miami. For anyone privileged to live in a democracy, where individuals enjoy the basic human right to pursue their personal happiness, it boggles the mind that Juan Miguel Gonzalez would not have rushed to the side of his son five months ago, when he was rescued from the sea that took his mother's life.
It boggles the mind that Juan Miguel Gonzalez would arrive in the United States only to sit tight in the Maryland home of a Cuban diplomat, rather than travel the short trip to Miami to visit his son.
But Juan Miguel is not a free man. He is a prisoner of Castro. It is the sadistic Castro who kept the father from seeing his son. It is the Castro dictatorship that separated them, first because it drove a mother desperate to rescue herself and her child from Cuba's nightmare to seek refuge in a free country; and second, because, to protect its prison state, the Castro dictatorship had to keep the father and the son separated until a reunion could be accomplished on its terms.
It is the everlasting disgrace of the Clinton administration that it has chosen to betray America's heritage as a beacon of freedom, and instead to act as the ally and agent of a police state in retrieving one of its prisoners. To accomplish this, the Clinton administration and its willing servants have behaved like the very police state whose interests they are defending.
They have resorted to Orwellian doublespeak (Clinton the perjurer: "The rule of law has got to be upheld. If we don't do it here, where do we stop?" Reno the storm trooper: "Elian is precious ... he needs quiet time.") They have used deception and brute force, and secrecy to protect their deceptions. When Elian was in free Miami, the press had total access; now that he is in the clutches of the U.S. government, he is incommunicado. Cuban intelligence agents can see him; his cousin, Marisleysis, who cared for him for the last five months after his mother's death, cannot.
They have demonized a decent, law-abiding immigrant family, whose members had suffered in Castro's jails, and who came to America to seek refuge from his grotesque tyranny and the horrific poverty he has imposed on his nation. It is a grievous day for America when the refugees from oppression are painted as oppressors and treated as enemies by the government they believed would protect them, and when the tyrant who had oppressed them praises these actions as noble deeds.
A whole cast of Americans have also covered themselves in shame by actively (or in some cases, merely unwittingly) abetting the purposes of Cuba's Stalin. There are first of all the active supporters of the communist police state, among them the reprehensible Rev. Joan Brown Campbell, who has made a career of spreading the dictator's lies and covering up for his crimes.
Then there is Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder, who told NBC's Tim Russert that if we gave Elian asylum we'd have to give it to every 6-year-old "who comes to see Disneyland and decides to stay." There is the slimy counsel for criminal chiefs of state, Greg Craig, pretending to be Juan Miguel's lawyer when he is actually Fidel Castro's, manipulating a decent, law-abiding and loving American family into a corner, in order to set them up for Reno's thugs.
There is the Waco criminal herself, who is only in office because she has turned the U.S. Department of Justice into a coverup operation for Clinton's lawlessness. There is Clinton's leftist doctor with his crackpot theories about Elian's mental health based on extensive video analysis. There are the pseudo-civil rights activists and Castro sympathizers like Jesse Jackson and Maxine Waters, volunteering to serve as Castro's American mouthpieces and accomplices while tossing overboard their phony commitments to victimized minorities and the cause of the oppressed.
And there is the American media, the biggest surprise of all in this mix, who have miserably failed to report the facts, which would expose the Clinton-Castro charade, and instead have turned themselves into a transmission belt of the perpetrators' propaganda machines. For Newsweek's Eleanor Clift, Castro's prison is a "lifestyle" that Juan Miguel and Elian are choosing: "To be a poor child in Cuba may in many instances be better than being a poor child in Miami and I'm not going to condemn their lifestyle so gratuitously."
If Eleanor Clift had an ounce of decency when it came to her views of left-wing police states, she would name a single way in which it is better to be poor in Havana than in Miami, and put her morally bankrupt thesis to the test. (Example, the average Cuban income is between $10 and $20 a month. Cubans are allowed to eat meat only two days a month. There are three telephones per 1,000 Cubans. How many people in America are that poor? And Elian's Miami relatives are not poor to begin with).
The invasion of a private home and the snatching of Elian Gonzalez at gunpoint are the signature acts of a police state, and one of the most disgraceful episodes in the history of the American presidency. (And by the way, where was that champion of the underdog, Al Gore, when this outrage was taking place? Cat get his tongue?)
Equally vile and reminiscent of police-state practices are the lies that have been told by White House surrogates in the Justice Department and by the president's lawyer to discredit the Cuban family in Miami, recalling the way White House henchmen have set out to destroy every female victim of the president who attempted to speak up in her own behalf.
If Clinton had thought about Elian at all, he would have rejected the perverse option he chose -- an alliance with Castro -- and instead pressured the dictator to allow Juan Miguel to meet with his son Elian, in the home of his relatives, without his police-state keepers. Any custody dispute could have been decided that way as well. But that way Juan Miguel would have been given the choice of freedom. The dictator could not allow that, nor apparently could the leader of the free world either. As a result, Juan Miguel is still a prisoner. And now Elian is too.