The Great Divide

Correspondence from our readers

July 15, 2001: The New York Times today reported the results of a nationwide opinion survey about the Hector Sanchez case. The survey revealed that 34 percent of Americans agree that the boy should be returned to his father in Miami, 20 percent disagree, and 46 percent have no opinion.

July 19, 2001: Today President Bush took questions about Hector Sanchez in his first press conference since the situation developed. The president used strong words to criticize the Cuban government, referring to the failure to return the boy as a "cruel, deliberate, and uncivilized play." The president did not commit to any specific steps despite calls from the Cuban-American community for decisive action. When pressed for an answer as to what the United States would do if Hector Sanchez is not returned to his father, the president said, "We are prepared to wait for the Cuban government to come to its senses and do the right thing, but we are not going to wait indefinitely and we will keep all our options open, diplomatic and otherwise."

July 26, 2001: In a six-hour speech commemorating the 48th anniversary of a military barracks attack that marked the beginning of the Cuban revolution, President Fidel Castro blamed President Bush and the "Cuban-American Mafia" for trying to manufacture an excuse to take hostile actions against Cuba. Without mentioning Elian Gonzalez, Castro declared that the Hector Sanchez case would be handled in strict accordance with Cuban laws, and he added that if Hector's father wants to contest the uncle's custody petition, he will have to do so in a Cuban court. At one point Castro said, "We know that the boy's father is in Miami, but we have questions he will have to answer in Cuba if he wants to petition for Hector's custody."

Frank Rodriguez
Miami

If love for Elian meant exploiting and parading him day after day (and night) before the cameras and never-ending crowds, letting him be touched by complete strangers as if he were a religious object; if it meant being surrounded by a steadily growing number of lawyers, politicians, celebrities, spokespersons, and more relatives; if it meant living in an unreal world of shouting and prayer circles in the street on a daily basis, then I must admit that the Miami relatives gave him more love than needed to last a lifetime.

This boy never had a day of peace. Even Marisleysis had the luxury of rest, when conveniently collapsing to be brought to the hospital. I hope the Miami relatives come to their senses and let Elian be happy again with his father.

Oh, so the photos of Elian reunited with his father were fakes? But the Virgin Mary on windows and mirrors was for real?

Jeannie Baum
Miami

When the jack-booted thugs of war were unleashed on the little house of the Gonzalez family by Bill Clinton (not Janet Reno) to take by brute force a six-year-old named Elian, the U.S. Constitution so treasured and revered by some Americans was trampled and crushed right before the eyes of America.

The Constitution of the United States of America was created with incredible vision by our forefathers to protect Americans from the government, not to give the government rights over its people. This is what makes America unique from any country in the world.

Thank you, 40 percent of Americans, for understanding and recognizing this. You make the Constitution and America strong. For the 60 percent who don't realize what happened, please read the first and second paragraphs again. If you still don't get it and approve of government-led commando raids on private homes of law-abiding citizens, try living in Cuba, Iraq, Iran, or any other repressive regime where you witness these kinds of raids on a regular basis.

And to the "Americans" who think that all Cubans should be sent back, try this: If your name isn't Osceola, Cochise, or Sequoya, you have no basis to say this. Remember, we are a nation of immigrants and exiles, and that the original exiles seeking freedom were the Pilgrims.

Rafael Contreras, Jr.
Miami

To Clinton (you do not deserve to be called by any decent title, much less president, and you definitely are not to be addressed as dear):

As usual you have proven yourself to be the yellow-backed, spineless coward who has incessantly betrayed all the United States has stood for. You have trampled on the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. But then, what can be expected of a filthy mass of meat and bones who had the disgrace of burning his country's flag and who was (and still is, according to your medical records complaining of "sinus problems") a drug abuser? You who are responsible for the murders of your own acquaintances and staff. You who are responsible, together with that shaky piece of repulsive, vile, nauseating, abhorrent so-called organism from the female species who goes by the name of Janet Reno, who is also an embarrassment to our gender and who is just as much a degenerate traitor and murderer as you -- you together with all your staff have made this country a latrine, a brothel, and a nest of corrupt, perverted, and debased creatures with no morals, no integrity, no dignity, no respect -- not just for the country but individually.

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