April 14, 2000


Lo Siento Elian

By Sylvia Sullivan

So much has been written about the unfolding Elian drama, yet so little truth about life in communist Cuba has been revealed. Education in this area is almost non-existent. As an American whose parents came from Cuba, the current hideous Cuban state is an ugly memory not usually brought up in casual conversation. Yet Elian's case has demonstrated what happens when people forget or worse, never knew.

I find it astounding that most Americans have little concept of life totally without freedom. Liberty is that God given gift that is every human being's desire and right. Although it is ours here as natural as breathing, freedom has been lost in Cuba. The basic human freedoms that we take for granted including freedom of speech, religion, of the press, choice in jobs, education and travel, right to own property, right to bear arms, and to assemble or protest; the Cuban people have none of these. The bad situation is worsened by extreme poverty brought about when the human spirit is shackled, existing without opportunity or hope.

Dictator Castro, aided by Clinton, Reno and leftist media accomplices have distorted the real issues involved here. It is not about family values or parental rights. In Cuba, the people have none. In fact, just earlier this week Cuban government spokesperson, Luis Fernandez, bluntly announced, "He (Elian) is a possession of the Cuban government. No other entity can remove this." The Cuban Constitution, of course, gives the government total powers to dictate how children will be raised.

This case is about a little boy, whose mother gave her life so that he could be free in the U.S. Would we send back a little black boy to the slave master if his mom had died taking him on the Underground Railroad? Would we send back a little Jewish boy whose mom had died to save him from the Nazis? Would we send back to East Germany a boy whose mom gave her life to get him across the wall to a free West Germany? No decent person would.

Elian's anguish is now compounded since this innocent child has tasted the rich fruit and known the joys of freedom. To send him back now, constitutes cruel and unusual punishment. In the island prison of Cuba, Elian would lose his milk ration next year as happens to seven-year-olds in Cuba. At age twelve, he would be required to go away to school in the country. Half the day is spent in classes and the other half working in the fields. His weekend family visits are a reward not a right. He could lose it if he is caught sneaking bread from the kitchen or questions Communist theory. Eating beef is a rarity and chicken or eggs are available a handful of times a year. The smells of kerosene, sewage and stench of garbage are common in Cuba. Many have no toys, washing machines, proper eyeglasses, toilets or sinks. (For more details on life in Cuba beyond the tourist routes, Emily J. Minor's, March 2000 "Seven Days in Cuba" account in The Palm Beach Post paints a vivid picture.)

If they had any, Clinton and Reno would die of shame for their betrayal of the principles of freedom. Still it should come as no surprise since they are the authors of Waco and the guardians of the gruesome procedure, partial birth abortion. Ironic for an administration that does everything "for the children" Lady Liberty will weep if we allow Clinton and Reno to deport Elian back to the island prison that is Cuba. Lo Siento Elian. Your mother's ultimate sacrifice deserved so much more!

*Lo Siento is I'm sorry in Spanish

(Sylvia Sullivan is a resident of La Mesa, CA)

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