Finally: Elian Goes Home

As you may know, Elian Gonzalez has permanently returned to Cuba with his father. The saga has come to and end. Here are several news reports on the event and the Supreme Court decision: CNN, ABCnews, Reuters, and Associated Press. Rather than write my own comments on this story, I've received permission to re-print Ed Bartlett's e-mail, The Mirror of Elian Gonzalez, which I feel sums up this ordeal very well.

The Mirror Of Elian Gonzalez

As I write this message, Elian Gonzalez and his family are
approaching the territorial limits of Cuba.



My initial reaction to the news of their return to Cuba was relief
and elation. Then I was overcome with a wave of uncontrollable
sadness.



A father learns a lot about his humanity and his masculinity when he
has a son. I was blessed with 3 sons, with whom I have strong, ever-
evolving relationships. And I know the feelings that Juan Gonzalez
felt
towards his son.



I know that if the father had snatched Elian from his homeland, and
drowned en route, little Elian would have been bundled up and put on
the first plane back
to Cuba. All the stories in the media would have glorified the
reunion
of a child, victim of an international kidnapping, with his tearful
mother.



Instead, we were informed that his "surrogate" mother-cousin, who had
a history of multiple admissions to psychiatric hospitals, was
claiming
to exercise parental rights. Persons began to question the devotion
of
Juan Gonzalez. There was speculation about potential abuse. And all
of
a sudden, Juan Gonzalez was no longer a loving father, he was
a defendant who had to "prove" his parental fitness.



Eventually, the US government was forced to spend an enormous sum of
money to return Elian and his family to Cuba.



Many American fathers identify closely with the saga of Elian and
Juan. Fathers look at this story, and wonder why the US government
doesn't devote nearly a fraction of this effort to helping American
fathers who have been forcibly separated from their children.
Apparently, a Cuban father has more rights in the US than an American
father.



Thank you, Elian Gonzalez, for holding up a mirror to America, and
revealing, for all to see, the double standard.



Ed Bartlett



Note: Ed Bartlett is the senior policy advisor for Men's Health America, which does research, education, and advocacy on behalf of men's health.

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