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The Seizure of Elian González

     A photograph has a lot of propaganda punch, and it may be misleading. The picture showing the DEA trooper pointing his gun at Elian has been shown around the world and makes excellent anti-American propaganda. It reminds us of the picture from the Vietnamese War of a South Vietnam general shooting a young man. That notorious picture circulated around the world without the explanation that the young man was a terrorist. WAISers feel differently about the picture of the trooper and Elian. General Robert Gard says:
     "Given that the Great-uncle caretaker of Elian continued to stick his finger in the eye of legitimate US authority and law, I believe there was no choice but to remove the boy from his home. It's easy in retrospect to criticize the arming of the authorities involved in the operation; but when there is a suspicion that residents of the home and members of the assembled protestors are armed, there's no other prudent choice. Close examination of the photo shows that the weapon was pointed away from the boy, and the "storm trooper" did not have his finger on the trigger. Had I been in charge of the raid, I would have dressed the agents in attire more civilian in appearance, and would have armed them with less menacing firearms."
     Daryl Debell says: "I think that a closer examination of the photo will reveal, as Janet Reno said, that the gun was not pointed at Elian's head, but to the side, and that the agent did not have his finger on the trigger. Perhaps a more cogent question: Under what conceivable circumstance and for what imaginable reason would the agent point the gun at Elian?"
     Linda Nyquist has more sympathy for Havana than for Little Havana. She says angrily: "I am so sick of a 21-year-old, hysterical, 2nd cousin of Elian's holding the entire United States hostage. The family in Miami had given some very clear signals that Elian would not go quietly and were obviously well-prepared for his being taken from the house against their will (that is, unless all the rest of us normally have an AP photographer with us).
     Marisleysis has bonded with the boy and he cannot be away from her. Of course she has. He is an adorable little boy, and Marisleysis appears to have had no other activity that to care for him (does she work? go to school?). The family was very good to receive this boy from the hospital after the terrible tragedy of his mother's death. What followed, however, is a disgrace. The boy had apparently no time whatsoever to come to terms with the loss of his mother, and was immediately in the middle of a 3-ring circus outside the Gonzalez home in Miami. This was seemingly encouraged by the family, who paraded Elian around like a trophy. And the video they released of Elian's "message" to his father should be considered an abomination by anyone interested in child welfare. Janet Reno is a very fine woman who tries to do the best. The agents had no idea what they would confront in that home, and they removed the child without anyone being injured. It should never have gotten to this. The Miami family had adequate time to turn over the boy, and they refused to do so. Their idea of "democracy" is the US government doing what they want. Period. Marisleysis is seriously misguided. Is there any other country in the WORLD where this boy would not have been immediately returned to his father? "

     My comment: Castro called off his anti-US campaign for a day. Now the Miami Cubans sound anti-American. Marisleysis reminds me of a Cuban woman of Irish extraction who ran a Latin American office at Stanford in the early forties. She would call me up hysterically at all hours and denounce the US as being responsible for all of Cuba's woes. It was impossible to shut her up, so the university shut her office down.

Ronald Hilton - 4/23/00