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Finally: Elian Goes Home
posted by Scott on Thursday June 29, @08:06AM
from the fathers-reunited-with-sons dept.
Fatherhood 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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