Cuba vs. America

Essay by TullyUniversity, Bachelor's April 2002

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Despite being under blockade since 1961 and losing 85 percent of its exports and 70 percent of its imports with the collapse of the Soviet Bloc in 1989, Cuba has managed to maintain its high levels of health care, literacy, education and housing. Since Fidel and his band of rebels ousted Batista in 1959 Cuba has been at war with America. Not only a war involving terrorist attacks and nuclear threats but also a war of politics and propaganda. Elián Gonzalez has become the latest pawn in this war.


On November 25, 1999 a small boat containing 13 illegal immigrants heading for the United States from Cuba sank and 10 of the people aboard drowned. These included the mother and stepfather of Elián Gonzalez. Five year old Elián held onto an inner tube for two days before being rescued by a fisherman and taken to Miami for medical treatment.

With his father's permission he was released into the care of his mother's uncle, Lazaro Gonzalez. When his father, Juan Miguel Gonzalez, requested his son's return Lazaro refused. The U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) ordered Lazaro to return Elián to his father and but he refused, sparking a wave of protests in Miami, Cuba and around the world.

The Federal Court ordered Elián's Miami relatives to transfer Elián into his fathers care but they refused to concede custody. US Attorney-General Janet Reno allowed two deadlines to pass without taking any action. Lazaro Gonzalez issued a statement saying, 'They will have to take this child by force.' (The Australian, p.9). On April 22, 2000 at dawn, armed federal agents raided the house in which Elián was being held and carried him off to Washington to be reunited with his father.

The kidnapping or rescue of...