Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 5, 2000

Harold Keller / L’Observateur / April 5, 2000

The big question is: Should Elian Gonzalez stay in this country or be sent back to his father in Cuba? This battle has been going on for about two months. Elian survived when theboat that he and his mother were on capsized. His mother and othersdrowned, while Elian hung on to an inner tube and was rescued at sea. Sincethen, the battle has gone on. Should he stay, or should he be sent back to acountry his mother was attempting to get him to leave, and in the process, lost her life? His relatives in Miami, who left a few years ago, are fighting to keep him here. The government seems to be undecided on what to do. What’s best forthe little boy is the big question.

Evidently, his mother didn’t think Cuba was the place for her son. One reportstates that she confided in a friend before fleeing Cuba that the risk was worth it because her desire was that Elian be raised in a free country. Theboy’s survival depended on someone giving him the inner tube. Maybe it washis mother. What greater love than to give up your life for another. Theyoung boy’s survival, without a doubt in my mind, is a miracle.

The father was divorced from Elian’s mother. Why? Some reports accuse thefather of being an unfit parent. Some people, who support the father’sdemands, say that the boy should be with his father. I disagree. Just becausehe’s the father doesn’t mean that it would be in the child’s best interests to be with him. In this country, many boys would be better of not being withtheir father. Many fathers abuse their children, use drugs, are are bad adultrole models.

Rep. Steve Largent, a Republican from Oklahoma and a conservative, saidthat the boy should be returned to Cuba. “If my little boy was lost,” he said,”I would want to have him back.” That sounds good but Steve Largent is arespectable father, according to people that know him, and lives in a free country. If Steve Largent was the father, there would be no decision. Caseclosed. He gets his son.The problem is that the character of the father is unknown. The poverty inCuba and the dictatorial rule of Fidel Castro is known. People risk their livesto leave Cuba. Nobody ever wants to go back under the present conditions.Should Elian be allowed to stay in America, or be sent back to Cuba? That’s the question. My opinion, without reservation, is that he should be allowed tostay.

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