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Friday, April 7, 2000
Houston, Texas
Volume 65, Issue 128

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Returning Elián would be blow for liberty

Adam D. Elrod

Imagine this scenario: the year is 1850 and a mother and her child are slaves on a Virginia plantation. The child's father is a slave on a nearby plantation, but does not get the opportunity to see his son because of his status as a slave.

In an incredible feat, the mother and her child escape the plantation unmolested and swiftly proceed north, toward freedom. Within feet of the Pennsylvania border, where slavery is outlawed, the mother is assassinated by a bounty hunter, while the child amazingly makes it across the border to freedom, where his extended family will care for him.

Back in Virginia, the boy's father and his owner get word that his wife has died en route to freedom, but his son has survived the risky escape. The plantation owner demands the immediate return of the child on the grounds that his father loves him very much, and would very much like him returned. The boy's father swiftly concurs with his owner. Would you return the child to his father in Virginia?

I doubt that anyone in their right mind would advocate the return of the hypothetical child above. However, millions of people across this nation, including Janet Reno and the Clinton Justice Department, are pushing for 6-year-old Elián González to be returned to his father in Cuba. They advocate his return under the guise of "family values," and that his father deserves custody of his child.

What these people do not understand is that Elián González has never been and will never be in the custody of his father. This custody battle is not between Elián's father and his Cuban-American family, it is between Fidel Castro and the Floridian Cubans. This is not about parental rights, because parental rights cannot exist in a regime where the citizens have no rights. This case is not about father vs. relatives, this is a case of freedom vs. tyranny.

If Elián González is returned to Cuba, he will remain in the custody of the state, just as all other Cuban children do. He will be swept from his father's arms at an early age and be carried off to a government-run school where he will be indoctrinated with communist rhetoric and brainwashed to the communist way of life. He will see his father a maximum of one weekend per month, and will otherwise remain in government-controlled institutions.

I thought that, after the fall of communism in the Soviet Union, we had convinced Americans of the inherent inferiority of a Communist regime and the necessary superiority of liberty. Unfortunately, in this case, Mr. González' love for his child is entirely irrelevant because he lives in a nation where he will not be given the opportunity to express that love.

This situation is precisely the same as the aforementioned slave example. The plantation owner, Castro, demands the return of his slave, Elián, with the concurrence of another slave, Elián's father. There is no question in my mind that no person deserves to be returned to a nation where his rights are disregarded, and he is, for all practical purposes, a slave of the state.

The only way the American government should send Elián back is with a squadron of Marines. Otherwise, the child needs to remain here so that he can be ensured access to all of the opportunities that American freedom can offer.

Elrod, who would love to hear responses regarding his most recent excursion into brilliance, can be reached at WhKnght007@aol.com.

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