Elian Nation

Scenes from a splintered city

Across town in Coral Gables, Matheson Hammock Park is so full of Sunday picnickers that families laden with blankets and baskets of fried chicken are turned away. On Miami Beach, an island more than geographically removed from the struggle, the sun radiates on the bodies crossing Ocean Drive, headed for the seaside sand. Traffic is the usual gridlock, a slow-moving stream of cars devoid of Cuban flags and yesterday's soapy slogans ("Fuck peace, let's riot!"). Finally a coupe joins the beach parade, a blue-and-red Cuban flag taped to its moving windshield wiper. The driver honks periodically, but it is hard to tell whether he is trying to generate attention or simply attempting to speed up the traffic flow.

Twenty-four hours ago on Flagler Street in Miami, a protester raised a "Free Elian" sign over his head while chanting, "Miami is burning!" By midday Sunday the only burning was that being inflicted by the sun. Miami was merely tanning.

Edouard H. R. Gluck
Edouard H. R. Gluck
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Edouard H. R. Gluck
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Steve Satterwhite

And on Monday, three days after the Elian abduction, the Website of News Radio 610 is a little behind the times: "Attorney General Janet Reno is getting law-enforcement input on how and when to remove six-year-old Elian Gonzalez from his family in Miami. Justice Department spokeswoman Carole Florman says Reno is still open to any proposal for a negotiated transfer of Elian Gonzalez to his father."

Contributors in order of appearance: Robert Andrew Powell, Jacob Bernstein, Brett Sokol, Jose Luis Jiménez, Ted B. Kissell, Steve Satterwhite, Dean Sebring, Robert Andrew Powell.

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