For Five Months Elian Was Free (Part 1 of 2)

by | Jun 7, 2000 | POLITICS

The case of Elian Gonzalez is the morality of freedom versus immorality of dictatorship. It is the individual versus the all-powerful state.

Early on a November morning, some five months ago, Elizabet Broton took her son Elian on a rickety 17 foot boat to escape the slave pen of Castro’s Cuba. A short way into their journey, the engine died, the boat flooded with seawater – and capsized.

Elian and his mother floated on rubber inner tubes, clinging to a dream: freedom in America. After hours of punishment by the rough seas, Elian’s mother was dehydrated and exhausted. Her last action on earth was to save her son. She wrapped him in her coat, fed him her final drops of water – and slipped away soundlessly to drown in the ocean.

Elizabet didn’t live to see her dream fulfilled. But what she saw in her dying breaths was her son still alive – clinging precariously to that rubber inner tube. On that tube was her dream: liberty for Elian.

The communists in Cuba could not kill her dream – nor could the tumultuous, shark- infested waters. But her dream, and along with it Elian’s liberty, is being killed – murdered by an evil idea in the hands of President Clinton and the INS storm troopers who abducted Elian. The idea is that Elian’s life belongs to the State.

Do not be fooled by the stunted intellects in Washington or at the New York Times who tell you that this is merely a case of Cuban expatriates versus “family values” or that this is only an issue of relatives squabbling over the custody of a child.

This is the most important issue in the world today: does an individual’s mind and body – his very life – belong to the state? Or does Elian, and every man, have an inalienable right to pursue his own dreams, happiness, life?

The issue here is Cuba’s dictatorial “Code of the Child” and the Communist Manifesto versus the Declaration of Independence. It is: “Elian is a possession of the State” versus Elian’s individual right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The issue is: “render unto Caesar (or Castro or Clinton) that which is Caesar’s” versus “give me liberty or give me death”

People have this misguided notion that Elian’s mother traveled from a place like Kansas to visit relatives in Florida, and then died during her trip. Now the father wants to return with his son to Kansas – so what’s the big deal? But let’s get some facts straight. Communist Cuba is not like Kansas. It’s an oppressive hellhole.

Cubans have suffered 40 years of communism. During that time, there have been some 20,000 executions for so-called “political crimes.” Over 100,000 Cubans – including many children – have been sent to Castro’s Gulags – where they are beaten, starved, raped, tortured. Thousands each year try to escape Communist Cuba, many dying in the process. And notice, there is no exodus from Florida to Cuba. Why is that? Because under Cuba’s dictatorship, young teens and entire families are forced to work on Castro’s farms. Many Cubans are conscripted into Castro’s military until their late 20’s. There are forced abortions, chronic shortages of food, shelter, clothing, medicine. Jobs in Cuba are controlled by Castro and his henchmen, with the best jobs given to those who support communism.

The government smothers Cubans with communist propaganda, from cradle to grave. There is no free speech, no freedom of religion, of association, of immigration. There is no private property or independent judiciary. There are no individual right in Cuba – let alone, as the DOJ keeps calling for, parental rights. Every book, lectern, airwave – every school, job, piece of property – every dream, goal, relationship – every life belongs to Castro.

Now I ask you, if Communism was bad for East Germans or for Russians, why isn’t it bad for a six-year-old boy, and for all Cubans? If it was evil to enslave Jews or blacks, why isn’t it evil to enslave an entire country?

Click here for part 2

Gary Hull, PhD in philosophy, was a senior writer for the Ayn Rand Institute from 1997 to 2002. The Institute promotes the philosophy of Ayn Rand, author of Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead.

The views expressed above represent those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the editors and publishers of Capitalism Magazine. Capitalism Magazine sometimes publishes articles we disagree with because we think the article provides information, or a contrasting point of view, that may be of value to our readers.

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