Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 26, 2000

MONIQUE MICHEL / L’Observateur / April 26, 2000

I had just gotten home from my new job Saturday when I turned on the television.

On almost every station there were breaking developments of the Elian Gonzales story. I had never paid too much attention to any previous news about him, but thefacts being stated definitely grabbed my attention. On the screen were images ofyoung Elian clutching onto a friend as armed guards seized him. I was immediatelyconfused and questioned my daddy about it. He started explaining that earlier thatmorning numerous guards raided the home on orders from Janet Reno. In heropinion, Elian belonged with his father.

This father left his first wife while she was pregnant, thus showing his eternal love and commitment to his children.

Elian’s dad says that Elian will have a better life in Cuba.

A friend from the local Spanish community told me that when a Cuban child turns seven, he becomes a ward of the state and required to work in fields. How muchbetter than the American dream can you get? Now I am only 16 years old and admittedly do not know everything. But I do knowthat it is hard, perhaps even impossible, for certain politicians and political leaders to take into consideration anyone else’s best interests and needs. Often they aredriven by their own political agenda, in turn hurting other’s life quality. Eliandeserves a life here in America.

Reno, with no children of her own, does not realize the depth of her decision. Bysending in these guards, she not only stripped away this boy’s innocence and further divided the Miami community, but she in turn said that Elian is nothing more than a political statement to show that American leaders will do what they want when they want regardless of dignity.

Reno and President Clinton need to step back and realize that no one deserves the plight Elian may face in Cuba.

Hard manual labor is something neither one are familiar with, but obviously oppression and cruelty are right up their alley.

If you have any questions or comments, write to me at P.O. Box 1493, LaPlace, LA70069.

MONIQUE MICHEL, a local teen-ager, writes this column regularly for L’Observateur.

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