Greetings from Gloria.......

4/11/00 - In Miami, and in all the United States of America, and the world, Elian Gonzalez has become a household name because of all the media publicity involved in the petition filed on his behalf by his Miami relatives for him to be allowed to stay in this country. He, of course, for anyone who still does not know, is the little Cuban castaway found floating in an inner tube last Thanksgiving Day by two fishermen, who brought him ashore. He has since then been under INS parole with relatives in Miami.

There is something that I really cannot understand about how much legal help is available to the Miami relatives of Elian in their quest to keep him in the USA. I imagine that this help is being given to them free of charge. I know that I would not be able to afford such a slew of lawyers for such a long period of time. Why are these lawyers, 1) giving them misleading advice and false hopes about winning their case, and 2) is it correct for lawyers practicing in the United States to defy the INS' mandate with regard to this child and encourage the Miami relatives to continue with, and to start new legal proceedings, even as they should be preparing the boy to be re-united with his father? Are these lawyers American citizens bound to uphold the law, or are they from the beginning in contempt of it?

Is justice difficult to obtain, even in this great land of freedom and democracy? Last year, I was receiving Unemployment Benefits for four months when they were abruptly stopped. I was advised that these benefits were now considered an "over-payment" and in spite of attending a hearing, at which time I laid my well-founded case against such a ruling, it was upheld both at the hearing and after a later written appeal. Through no fault of my own, I now have to re-pay a large sum of money to which I was financially entitled but the employer objected to my receiving it. In the face of this injustice, I could not afford a lawyer to fight for me, even using any effective argument they could pull up. In any case, lawyers usually do not work for free and they do not eagerly take such cases as mine. Even the EEOC prefers to make class-action suits! So, I am undeed in awe of how much legal help is being generously given day after day to Elian's Miami relatives. At the very least, it is very consoling to have so much available defense!

And Fidel? He is busy hosting this week's South Summit in Havana. The fact that a relevant and important forum like the Summit is being held in Cuba, a small nation in the Caribbean, one that for more than three decades has been subjected to an unprecedented trade, economic and financial embargo by the world's sole superpower, USA, must have a special appeal also for more than the Cuban people in Cuba.

At least 50 heads of state and government have confirmed their personal participation among the delegations of ministers, diplomats and officials of numerous agencies and organisations from about 173 countries. This historic occasion will be attended by most of the leaders of the Caribbean Community, including Prime Minister Basdeo Panday of Trinidad and Tobago. I am proud as a Trinidadian of Prime Minister, Mr.Basdeo Panday. Caribbean heads of government feel that the South Summit will be an important occasion for them to provide the political underpinning for co-operative action among developing states

In Miami, the whole "Elian" episode has displayed how much political "pull" the Cuban lobby has in Miami, in Florida and indeed, in the U.S. Congress. We have seen on different occasions how demonstrative and ugly the Miami Cuban crowds can be when they are denied their desired outcome of any issue affecting them. Should we all behave like this, or should they just tone down a bit? Because if they don't, they are creating behavior in my city and its environs which dictates to the rest of us how we, as a city, are perceived. Did I say, dictate? If Fidel is the dictator that they so oppose, why are they behaving in the same beligerent, unyielding manner, defying the rules of the country where they have been so well received and where they continue to prosper? It seems that if Cuba is in the business of producing dictators - then they are all now in Miami! After seeing on TV how quickly anyone who dissents with their opinion that Elian should not be returned to his father is whisked away in city police cars "in order to avoid trouble". Is this, then, at the bottom of Lazaro Gonzalez' decision to continue to make demands of the INS instead of respectfully complying with their order, which is the law.. Is he also afraid of displeasing his community? I can only shudder to think of what might be the reprisal to him and his family, should be disagree with the open public opinion voiced every night in front of his home?

Whether Elian goes back or not, I am now a little less in love with Miami! I must admit I am also more than a bit disconcerted by the blatant misuse of our freedoms and much more aware that the hatred of the Cubans in Miami for Fidel also extends to any other citizen of Miami who would dare to disagree with them In contrast, the seeming tolerance of the USA during these recent events should serve to alert the US government to the need for less tolerance in implementing present laws and the need for the evolvement in the USA of new approaches regarding Cuba.

4/22/00 - Elian is reunited with his Dad!



June 28th, 2000 - ELIAN GONZALEZ returned to Cuba with his Dad!!!



Friday, February 8, 2002
Freedom Forum presents Elian Gonzalez with Free Spirit Award


Friday, April 22, 2005 - Elian saga altered lives