Saturday, Dec 03, 2022
×
Outlook.com
×

A Six-Year-Young War

A Six-Year-Young War

The battle between old foes, the US and Cuba, continues. This time, it’s over the custody of a child.

IT isn’t just a battle for custody, it’s more a political drama, a resurrection of the simmering Cold War rivalry between the US and communist Cuba. And it’s being played over the body of a six-year-old child. On November 25, 1999, which, incidentally, was Thanksgiving Day in the US, Elian Gonzalez was found floating on an inner tube off the Florida coast after the 16-foot motor boat taking him from Cuba sank. Ten passengers, apart from Elian’s mother, died in this tragic attempt to sneak illegally into the US. Now, five months later, the boy is a figure of global attention as Cuban and US authorities wrangle over who should ‘possess’ him.

Soon after his rescue, Elian was handed over to his great-uncle Lazaro Gonzalez in Miami’s Little Havana under a temporary custody arrangement granted by the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (INS). This branch of Elian’s family is part of Florida’s politically crucial Cuban-exiles community. The family maintains that since Elian’s mother died trying to bring the boy into the US, he deserves a chance to grow up in the US. Other Cuban exiles in Miami endorsed this view, and pledged they would not allow the boy to be returned to Cuba.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement