Elian Gonzalez should have been safe in the arms of his father weeks ago. But thanks to election-year jockeying and foreign policy blundering, the young Cuban boy who survived a raft ride from Cuba to the United States is still in Miami. And each day he remains on U.S. soil the circumstances surrounding his case become more preposterous.
First it was a case for immigration. Then the he was subpoenaed to appear in front of a congressional committee. Now there is the possibility that actual federal legislation could be passed that would make Elian an American citizen thus allowing a legal challenge in family court, sidestepping a federal process.
Since when does a father not have a right to be custodian of his son? And considering that Elian's father is the sole living parent, his case for custody is all the more robust.
What has been done to Elian Gonzalez is simply kidnapping at the national level. Commandeered for his political value, this boy has been used and pumped full of propaganda to further distance him from his father. With a never-ending parade of gifts, outings and interviews, a process of not-so-subtle brainwashing has been used on this poor boy.
If the United States and its citizens, especially Cuban Americans, are so concerned about the welfare of children, then where is all the attention with regard to the 5000 Iraqi children that died last month of malnutrition and curable diseases? Where is the concern for Chechen children who at this very moment are huddled in freezing cellars and trenches? And where is the compassion for the thousands of poor children right here in the United States in places like Chicago's Cabrini Green, the South Bronx, Detroit, New Orleans' Fifth Ward and a host of other destitute region of the nation?
The fact of the matter is that these Cuban-American activists and the American politicians salivating over their votes only care about fulfilling their own desires. The question of what is just and right has taken a back seat to self-interest. A son belongs with his father. It's that simple. And the United States should put that boy back on plane with his grandmothers immediately.
Ali Asadullah is the Editor of iviews.com