My opinion
April 22, 2000 10:19 PM   Subscribe

My opinion about the hostage rescue in Miami. (Link to my page; sorry.)
posted by Steven Den Beste (7 comments total)
I agree with your comments 100%. These people were braking the law and I'm glad that Janet Reno had the guts to do something about it. Janet doesn't take any crap, which makes her more credible than the rest of the Federal government (Republican and Democrat) put together! Of course, everyone in Washington will try to manipulate this event for their own political agendas. It makes me want to puke.

For those who think little Elian should stay in the good 'ol USA, would you give a damn about him if he was from Haiti or Mexico? Of course not. You'd have him shipped home on the nearest bus or boat. Don't tell me it's not true: here in Redneckland I see anti-mexican bumper stickers and billboards all over the place!
posted by alienation at 11:09 AM on April 23, 2000

Absolutely excellent op-ed piece, Steven.

IMNSHO, you've hit the protestor right on the head.

[ Is it really necessary to apologize because the posting was on your own site? If you link to crappy stuff on your site, no doubt people will make sure you know they think that... ]
posted by baylink at 1:53 PM on April 23, 2000

Well, one of the standing rules here seemed to be that you shouldn't make posts for the sole purpose of trying to get hits on your own site. (Being a "hit-whore" or whatever the term is. "Hit-slut", that's right.)

That wasn't my motivation here; it's just that I wanted to say something and it took more space than I felt comfortable using on the main page at MetaFilter, so I wrote it up on my own page and linked from here. But just wanted to put in the disclaimer, just in case...

posted by Steven Den Beste at 3:21 PM on April 23, 2000

You cannot compare people coming from Haiti and Mexico to people coming from Cuba. People in the former are coming for financial reason, because of the economic desperation in their countries. People from Cuba are coming for political reasons -- there is no personal freedom in Cuba. I would hate to send *anybody* back since I believe everyone deserves the kind of freedoms we deserve here, but we can't keep everyone.

I think people are overlooking several important thing in the Elian abduction this weekend:

1. The family was not holding Elian hostage. They were negotiating with Reno so that he could meet with his father. His father had several opportunities to go down to Miami but he did not. I guess he wasn't that eager to see his son.

2. Reno told the family that this would never occur in the middle of the night in the manner that it did. She lied.

3. The family was negotiating and waiting for an answer when they were put on hold and then the men with guns knocked on the door.

4. Guns were pointed not only at Elian but at other children present. Tear gas was sprayed in the house. For what?

It's clear that the government has gone completely wacko. I agree that a child should be with his father but should never be taken the way he was. The family did not bring this on themselves as many people have said. And even if they did, is that a reason to traumatize the boy needlessly? Why not send the father to Miami for Easter and have a peaceful reunion?

The truth is that Clinton knows he has to give the child back to Castro. If Elian stays in Miami he will continue being "Americanized" and will file his petition to stay in America. But now that they have him back with his father it will be easy to say the boy no longer wants to stay and the hearing will be cancelled.

Anybody who thinks this was not done to pacify Castro, a dictator who kills innocent people every day, had better think twice.

I may be very serious about this and I may turn many people off by continuing to talk about it, but it really pisses me off to hear people saying they are tired of it and they are glad it happened the way it did.

I too am glad Elian is with his father. But I am not glad that we have a government that thinks it can act in this manner. It is serious. It has made me think a little but harder about the nature of our freedom in this country.

Seeing those men with automatic weapons made me realize that if we got a few power-hungry men in power and they decided to take over the country, it would be fairly simple.

I'm not a right-wing lunatic in any way. I'm just very rabid about personal freedom and civil rights. What happened to Elian and the family in Cuba - whether you agree with them or not - should make you stop and think. Shouldn't it?

posted by tracy at 10:18 PM on April 23, 2000

1, 2, and 3. The family was holding him against the will of his father. The family said they wouldn't hand him over unless his father came to America. His father came to America. They didn't hand over the child. At every step they have stalled, rationalized, and defied, so they could hold onto a child that wasn't theirs'. Here's a quote that's been floating around the news agencies.

“If they wanted to pick up this boy, they could have sent a letter: ‘We will be by to pick up the boy at 3 o’clock.’ And they know that we would do that,” cousin Marisleysis Gonzalez said.

All well and good. Of course, when the justice department did this a few weeks ago, the family refused to hand him over and instead concentrated on getting as many sympathizers as possible around the house.

One of the Cuban Exile Leaders was quoted as saying "If what Janet Reno wants is another Waco, she could have it here […] we won't let her take the child. Not now, not ever". If that's not a threat, I don't know what is.

What is law enforcement supposed to do? They have an obligation to return a child to his father. The people holding that child refuse every request. They have no choice but to react with force, which brings us to

4. 'Pepper spray' (Or was it tear gas. Or was it mace? I wish the new agencies would stop interchanging these three substances) was used on the crowd outside the house. It's unclear weather this was after the crowd started throwing things at them, or if this if this is what prompted the crowd to attack the officers. I've seen no reports that it was used in the house itself.

Guns were pointed at everyone in the house. Mr. Den Beste has already gone over this one in great detail.

Am I disturbed that it came to this? Yes, but the Cuban Exile Community is to blame, not the government. It always bothers me when the authorities use force. It bothered me here, but all things considered it was justifiable. No one was seriously hurt, and Elian was subjected to minimal emotional trauma. (Since I don't know exactly what his extended family told him, I won't go into the subtle emotional damage that was being done to him by staying in the home).

The most sickening part for me is the way they republicans congress members, (so far I haven't seen one democrat, correct me if I'm wrong), are calling for investigations into excessive force and abuse of power. These are the same politicians who remained silent or sided with the Seattle police as they turned the WTO meetings (and to a lesser extent, the IMF) into a police state.

I have no doubts that Fidel is placing pressure on Juan Miguel, but the minute that Elian was found on that inner tube, he was slated to end up back in Cuba. Everyday extra day he spent in the US was just another day Fidel could paint the exile community and the United States as the bad guys, drawing attention away from his own actions (most recently, the shooting down of two humanitarian airplanes over the gulf of Mexico)

Cold war rhetoric isn't going to get us anywhere. It's time the US faced up to it's hypocritical foreign policy when dealing with Cuba. I don't know what Elian's life was like before he came to America. I'm pretty sure he'll lead an easy one when he returns, and Fidel will trot him out for years to come and show him off to the world. "Look, I beat the United States again".

I'm not trying to downplay what went on in the former communist nations (and probably still goes on in Cuba), but isolating Cuba hasn't worked, and the only ones being hurt by our embargo and 'wet feet, dry feet' immigration policy are the common people of Cuba.

Meanwhile, US corporations continue to do business with equally despicable (if not more so) folks, and the public doesn't care, so long as gas stays cheap.

posted by alan at 1:47 AM on April 24, 2000

That should be whether.

And I’m not sure what Everyday extra day means, other than it's 5 AM.

posted by alan at 2:00 AM on April 24, 2000

Tracy now understands the second amendment.


My take, Steve, on the tactical issue, is this: if I post a pointer to a rant I've posted on my own log, I identify it, so those people who think I'm Jon Katz in training can skip it, but as long as I felt like I had something useful to say, and like you, a good reason for not posting the whole thing on Meta, I personally wouldn't feel the need to sound apologetic.

AFAIC, not all links-back-to-your-own-log count as Hit-Slutting. If Matt disagrees with that outlook, no doubt he'll weigh in.
posted by baylink at 8:06 AM on April 25, 2000

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