[freedomtowernight_edited.jpg] 26th Parallel: No Elian Found Here

Sunday, March 25, 2007

No Elian Found Here

The Miami Herald story involving the 4-year-old Cuban girl taken under custody by the state of Florida has garnered a lot of reaction from the local blogosphere.

See the following posts here, here, here and here for more.

While similarities to the Elian saga exist, they are primarily superficial and once you start looking into the guts of the issue, it becomes immediately evident that this is a different case altogether.

I refer you to the initial Herald story as well as this one published today for the details, but I do have some thoughts of my own about this.

We have a mentally ill, abusive mother who's clearly unfit to take care of her children. We have a father in Cuba who wants her daughter back, but at the same time allegedly didn't take much action when the mother abused the girl back in Cuba, therefore raising legitimate concerns about his fitness as a parent.

The courts should obviously decide who's fit and unfit to take care of the child. More importantly, we need to hear from the father without interference from Cuba.

Is this possible? I have my doubts.

If we get to hear the father's story, and if his intentions are truly his own, then should we deny him his daughter? I don't think so. I know this won't sit well with many of my fellow Cuban-American bloggers whom I greatly admire, but hear me out for a second.

Believe me, the thought of anyone living under oppression turns my stomach. Personally speaking, I have seen how cousins of mine in Cuba suffer under the injustices of a society that only rewards those who walk the straight castro line. This is something that those who were adamant against Elian staying, regardless of the legitimate doubts that were raised, should pause and take note of.

But I do know something else: my cousins love their children and only want the best for them. They know that the best for them isn't in Cuba, but there's not much they can do about that. In the meantime, at least the kids have a place to sleep and a loving mother and father to take care of them.

Just as we shouldn't draw too many parallels to Elian, we shouldn't compare this to the Pedro Pan children of the 60s. Those parents voluntarily sent their children here in the early days of the revolution. They displayed great courage and strength. However, not everyone is the same.

Conceding one quick analogy to Elian: my big beef with that case was that we never got to hear Elian's father's true intentions. He was a puppet of the castro regime. Instead of insisting that we hear from the father and that he meet with his Miami relatives who only wanted the best for the boy, what we got was the United States (read: Clinton administration) caving in to Cuba without the slightest bit of concern for the facts to be played out.

This is why I sincerely hope that politics DO NOT get involved in this case, and that the Cuban-American community not get sucked in to the castroite trap of joining in the political circus.

How will the Cuban-American community react? We've learned (hopefully) our lessons from Elian seven years ago. I hope that we can focus on the facts of the case and not get drawn into a tit-for-tat with the Cuban regime. Let's let this be decided in the courts via due process, through OUR laws, not Cuba's.

So far, so good. I hope it stays that way.

Labels:

52 Comments:

Blogger Rick said...

Very well said, Robert. Unfortunately, I don't think the community is going to be as reasonable. This is going to be seen by many as "a child going back to Fidel" issue, and we all know how those turn out.

We'll see, I guess.

3:13 PM, March 25, 2007  
Blogger Robert said...

No doubt there will be some controversy. The Herald has already gotten the ball rolling on that.

The "ifs" I mentioned regarding the father are in bold for one principal reason: both have to be undoubtedly in place for me to agree to send her back. If the Cuban government does end up getting involved in any way, they won't allow for the man to speak his mind and properly represent himself.

In the event that happens, I can't support returning the girl to Cuba.

8:19 PM, March 25, 2007  
Blogger Robert said...

We also don't know the father's past relationship with the girl. Did he give a crap about her when she was in Cuba? Because if he didn't really care much for her, then she would essentially be going from one foster family in Miami to another foster family in Cuba.

Let's see.

9:07 PM, March 25, 2007  
Blogger Manuel A. Tellechea said...

Robert:

You have it wrong; it's the other way around: There are no differences except superficial ones. The core of the case is identical:

1A) Elián's mother was dead
1B) The Cuban girl's mother is non compos mentis," and it is her insanity (like Elian's mother's death) that triggered this case

2A) Elián's father wanted his son to remain in Miami with his uncle's family until the Castro regime told him what he should want
2B) The girl's father gave his permission for the mother to take the child to the U.S. and only changed his mind when the Castro regime told him what he should want

3A) The Castro regime bankrolled the legal effort to return Elián to Cuba
3B) The Castro regime is bankrolling the legal effort to return this girl to Cuba

4A) In the Elián case the life and future of a helpless child was at stake
4B) In this case, the life and future of a helpless child is also at stake

Can you cite even one difference more important than these similarities?

7:42 AM, March 26, 2007  
Blogger Robert said...

Manuel,

In number 1, yes those events triggered the custody battle, but the events themselves are very different.

In numbers 2 and 3, you may be right.

Number 4, I won't argue that her life would ideally be better here than in Cuba.

Which leads to the biggest difference which you didn't mention: the girl has no close family as far as we know in the United States. Elian did. Logically, if the girl has no family, then who's going to contest the father?

8:51 AM, March 26, 2007  
Blogger Manuel A. Tellechea said...

Robert:

In #1, the events are different but the effects are the same. The mother in this case is no more capable of taking care of her child than is Elián's dead mother. She has also been accused of abusing the child (no doubt a result of her illness) and her boyfriend has also been accused as being complicit in that abuse (without the excuse of mental illness). In Elián's case, it was the father who had been accused of physical abuse of his wife and child. It was Juan González also who threatened on U.S. television to kill those who were caring for his son and to whom his son owed his life.

Since you concede that I "may be right" on points #2 and #3, that only leaves #4. We are none of us guaranteed ideal lives, Robert. It is the pursuit of happiness which is important. Here, at least, she would have that opportunity. In Castro's Cuba, never.

The fact that the child has no family in this country is not significant. The court can appoint a legal guardian or the foster parents can act as such. Remember, what is at stake here is the best interests of the child, not the father. Yes, this baby girl could be her father's meal ticket in Cuba, just as Elián became Juan González's. That's another reason to be wary of the father's intentions.

The truth, Robert, is that you don't want to relive the Elián case because of the pain it caused you then. However, it is the child's pain that you should consider, not your own.

9:30 AM, March 26, 2007  
Blogger Val Prieto said...

I dont want to weigh on this recent case in one way or the other, but i do want to clarify something regarding the Elian case.

Elian's father, prior to castro's usurption of his wishes, had expressed his wish that the boy remain in the states. This was well known both at US Customs and Immigration as well as the Miami Herald. The US administration in charge at the time pressured both the fedral agency and the media mentioned above to not report this "for fear of exacerbating an already volatile international diplomatic issue."

Elian's case, no matter how much foul was cried and no matter what the family members wishes involved were, was decided at the highest levels of both governments with little, if any, regard for the boy himself.

The self censorship on the part of the Miami herald was the reason a slew of Miami Herald staff writers and journalists of Cuban descent resigned.

Unfortunatley, every person that I have talked to regarding this and whom have acknowledged the abovementioned to be true, have declined or been unable, contractually, togo on record with same.

One of these days, one of those people involved with have the balls to go on the record, and, once again, we'll see how Elian got screwed by politics.

9:46 AM, March 26, 2007  
Blogger None E. Moose said...

Robert,

Excellent post. Would that the conditions you set out were allowed to take place. Only then can anyone begin to trust a result.

Manuel is correct in pointing out that the proper determination is the best interests of the child, which is why I have disagreed with Alex over his implications that parents don't have to do a thing to prove their worth in cases like this. While family reunification is a presumptive goal, there can be mitigating circumstances, which the Elian court pointed out, even as it ruled against the Miami relatives.

The key here is to do everything to preserve the judicial process untainted. If that's possible.

10:08 AM, March 26, 2007  
Blogger Robert said...

Manuel,

You don't think the lack of family here is not important? Think about it, Manuel. Think about it when it comes time to hear this case in court. You may be absolutely correct about the father, but I think I'm being a bit more realistic and less naive in assuming that a close relative tends to get the benefit of the doubt in these cases. I sincerely hope the foster family's prosecutors have their I's dotted and their T's crossed, otherwise the girl's going back. That's my gut feeling.

I would be careful with emphasizing that none of us are guaranteed ideal lives. That's an argument the defense could easily use to justify the girl living with her biological father. You're not wrong, but this can easily be turned against you.

No Manuel, I don't think any rational Cuban-American wants a repeat of the Elian fiasco. It caused EVERYONE a lot of pain, including you I hope.

10:08 AM, March 26, 2007  
Blogger Robert said...

None,

Yes, the child's interests are paramount. And yes, the parents do have to prove their worth, especially in custody cases, and especially in this particular case.

But as I just wrote to Manuel, family members tend to get the benefit of the doubt in these cases, and the local family's lawyers need to build a solid case for the girl and father to remain separated.

10:13 AM, March 26, 2007  
Blogger Manuel A. Tellechea said...

"I don't want to weigh on this recent case in one way or the other..." — Val Prieto

You may not want to, but you'll have to anyway whether you want to or not. This story is not going to stay small (in fact, it's already a big story and will get bigger). I know that neither you nor Robert want a re-play of the Elián case. Neither do I. Too much pain, too many betrayals, and a myriad of disillusionments (about this country, mostly). But guess what? What we want doesn't matter. It is this child's life that is paramount. And even if foul means are used to defeat us again, and even if every newspaper in this nation libels us again, we will at least be able to say that we did our duty by this child and were not complicit even in our silence in the terrible crime which is about to be perpetrated on her young life, not the first, by the way, for this very abused 4-year old.

10:14 AM, March 26, 2007  
Blogger Robert said...

The girl's well-being is what it's all about. Believe me, if the father is proven to be incapable of taking proper care of the girl, then it's a no-brainer for me. Blood lines are irrelevant in that case. There are already a few red flags regarding his fitness as a parent, but as of right now we don't know anything outside of what's been published in the Herald.

10:22 AM, March 26, 2007  
Blogger Manuel A. Tellechea said...

Robert:

No argument can be turned against me that I wouldn't put right again. Anyway that's not what I said: "We are none of us guaranteed ideal lives, Robert. It is the pursuit of happiness which is important. Here [in the U.S.], at least, she would have that opportunity. In Castro's Cuba, never."

10:26 AM, March 26, 2007  
Blogger Manuel A. Tellechea said...

Robert & Val:

Emotional and political capital are renewable; human lives are not.

We are that little girl's family by nature of our common nationality and common suffering, but especially because of the latter.

11:04 AM, March 26, 2007  
Blogger None E. Moose said...

Robert, agreed that the father walks in with a perceived edge, and well it should be. And I also believe that, barring some circumstance brought out at hearing that would militate against it, the child will more than likely be returned(?) to the father. Still, there are already questions as to his fitness that he should have to answer.

Manuel, she's not your family. Your heart is in the right place. But the realities are such that in order to preserve good policies, bad results will sometimes happen. I'm not suggesting anyone give up, by any means. But in order for my rights as a father to be respected by due process of law, I have to be prepared to respect even this father's rights, as they may be determined. Moreover, the best interests of the child, as they may be determined, have to be respected as well.

11:12 AM, March 26, 2007  
Blogger Manuel A. Tellechea said...

Nonee:

So you favor the establishment of a 2-tier process of law: one for regular people and another for the Juan González's of the world? Regular people would have to abide by U.S. laws but Cubans like González himself and this girl's father would get a free pass because there is no such thing as "father's rights" in Cuba and it is our duty to introduce those rights even at the sacrifice of a child's life? Can you say sacrificial lamb.

12:01 PM, March 26, 2007  
Blogger None E. Moose said...

Which 2-tiers would that be, Manuel? I'm not clear as to what alternative process you think I'm referring to.

I think the father has to come in here and prove up that his custody is in the best interest of the child. Arguably, it is the state that should have to prove that his custody is not in the child's best interest. It is precisely what would happen if it were you or me, or Etienne in Haiti.

Yes, in here we have to recognize that all father's have rights. Even those that don't in their country. The second you stop doing that, then you have a two-tiered process of laws. Then it's you who is determining what rights people have.

And then it's you who is wearing the cheap track suit with the funny beard.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions, my friend. I wish it wasn't so.

12:47 PM, March 26, 2007  
Blogger Manuel A. Tellechea said...

Nonee:

By making the rights of Cuban fathers co-equal with the rights of American fathers, you are asking us to recognize the parental rights of a Cuban father who can exercise no parental rights in Cuba. And there is your double-tier.

All fathers have rights in the United States but not in Cuba. And this child will live in Cuba not the United States if his father has "his" way.

1:53 PM, March 26, 2007  
Blogger Mambi_Watch said...

Wow. I'm astonished at the reaction that this issue is getting from some of you. But, given that Cuba-related issues are so tightly wound up by antagonistic political ideologies, its no surprise to hear that the greatest factor for some is the hated Cuban government.

First, Val Prieto once again shows great ignorance in his commentary. By stating the fact (not disputed) that "Elian's father, prior to castro's usurption of his wishes, had expressed his wish that the boy remain in the states," Mr. Prieto reveals that he missed the entire point: whether Elian alone (or with "next friend") had legal right to apply for political asylum before the US. He did not. Thus the INS had to return him to his father by law. The father CANNOT overrule US immigration laws and himself decide if his son should apply alone in country A, B, or C.

Tellechea speaks of "a myriad of disillusionments" that lead to the "foul means" used to return Elian. But, this reveals that Tellechea is also ignorant of the issue. The arguments by Dershowitz and Tribe, which Tellechea supports, have been refuted by the documentation alone of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals decision (June 2000).

As with Elian and this new case, there aren't any "disillusionments". Just law. It's unfortunate that some cannot accept it. But, since Elian I haven't seen anyone dispute or present unconstitutional charges against the very statutes that supported the case for the 11th Circuit decision.

Also, I haven't seen or read any "red flags" concerning the Cuban father of this 4-year
old girl. According to the Herald (Mar.24) a home study was done of the father's residence and it was "generally positive." Home studies are very thorough assessments of a person's living conditions, they examine many factors of residence, marital status, criminal history, finances, health, and number of dependents.

If the home study came out positive, then it is very likely that the father will gain custody. In my opinion, the charges against the home study will be the most revealing about how political this case is. But, if you remove the extreme politics and drama involved with Cuba-related issues, this case is closed.

2:37 PM, March 26, 2007  
Blogger None E. Moose said...

Manuel, you forget that we are appying principles as they occur here. I understand, and sometimes share, your concerns. But, as I said before, to ascribe different rules to similar people is not something that can be supported by our democratic principles. At least not with the expectation that the target won't move when they apply it to you.

Laws are not written in verse, but in prose. And their interpretation has to sound the same for everyone.

2:48 PM, March 26, 2007  
Blogger Robert said...

MW,

Here are the red flags pulled from the initial MH article Saturday 3/24:

DCF attorneys are arguing in court that the father in Cuba is unfit to have custody because he took no action to safeguard the daughter from her mother's abusive behavior while she lived on the island, a source said.

Though the home study was generally positive, sources say DCF administrators remain skeptical because they fear representatives of the Cuban government were present during the evaluation and may have influenced its outcome.

''This was not a valid home study,'' a source said.


We really don't know the relationship the father had with the daughter in Cuba and here BEFORE DCF took over custody of the child. That's something that would have to be determined in court, with the father present.

If Cuba allows it, of course.

3:25 PM, March 26, 2007  
Blogger Manuel A. Tellechea said...

Watcher:

I thought you had gone away and been replaced by some innovative site called Mambi Waaatch. Perhaps it was too much to hope for.

I must refer readers to babalú blog where you will find the comments on the Elián case which you allude to. This country's two leading liberal constitutional scholars both agree that the Elián raid was unconstitutional. I doubt very much whether the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals "refuted" Professors Tribe and Dershowitz's spontaneous remarks. What a ridiculous statement to make.

3:26 PM, March 26, 2007  
Blogger Alberto said...

So much for this case being "different." Between None E. and Mambi_Watch, it is deja vu all over again.

PilotAl

3:46 PM, March 26, 2007  
Blogger Mambi_Watch said...

Tellechea,

Your last post is the funniest thing I've read.

Mambi Waaatch, "innovative"? lol

Derschowitz and Tribe, "leading liberal constitutional scholars"? LOL

Derschowitz' argument is refuted by the affirmations from the 11th Circuit court, as pointed out from the very exchange you posted on Babalublog. Tribe's argument is refuted by the same basis and of which the federal used to justify their raid. Notice both have said little since.

Thanks for the laughs.

5:53 PM, March 26, 2007  
Blogger Mambi_Watch said...

Robert,

The home study has been dismissed by political reasons, not for its actual findings. It would serve well to review the specific guidelines used in the study, instead of focusing on the political nature of the argument. Otherwise, the study is most likely accurate.

The DCF allegations can be true, or not. What are they based on? Heresay, secondary sources? It doesn't carry as well as the home study.

And, as you have read, not only is the Cuban government not allowing the father to travel here, but the US government also is denying a visas for the father. So I don't see why you focus on the Cuban government alone. Furthermore, as has been written, the custody case does not require the presence of the father. So I don't the legitimacy of your argument.

If you research how home studies are conducted you'll notice that they are very thorough reviews, and in this case I'm sure, must have met very stringent US requirements as dictated by the appropriate US government department.

6:05 PM, March 26, 2007  
Blogger Manuel A. Tellechea said...

Mambo Watch:

I do not doubt that you take joy in championing the forces of darkness. I'm glad that you so blithely dismiss your leading constitutional lights. Perhaps you would like to hang an "A" from their necks — Anathematized Because of Their Views on Elián. That, however, is your opinion. The 11th Circuit does not "refute" them, and Tribe and Derschowitz have never altered their opinion on the Elián case.

6:22 PM, March 26, 2007  
Blogger Mambi_Watch said...

"Anathematized Because of Their Views on Elián"? Funny.

Dershowitz, if you are actually informed on his various positions, in no fashion supports arguments that are carried by so-called "liberals."

His work on the case of Israel/Palestine are the most revealing.

6:47 PM, March 26, 2007  
Blogger None E. Moose said...

PilotAl,

I'm a big fan of the inane comment, but I didn't get yours. Would you mind trying again? This time use bigger words. Throw in a couple more french ones if you can.

Would also love to hear your 2-cents on the matter. But I'm pretty sure I'm gonna hear something I've heard before. Talk about deja vu...

7:28 PM, March 26, 2007  
Blogger Manuel A. Tellechea said...

Nonee:

PilotAl is a brilliant writer. If you want to know his opinion on this case, go to:

http://www.babalublog.com/archives/004889.html

8:15 PM, March 26, 2007  
Blogger None E. Moose said...

"[W]e just might find ourselves being branded once again as the intransigent Miami mafia trying to trample the rights of yet another poor father and his young child.

Thanks for the link Manuel, I had read PilotAl's post before.

"I wish there were something we could do to ensure this little girl is given the opportunity to stay here instead of being used as a political football the way Elian was.

My response? I agree. The child should not be made a political football. I also wish there was some way to afford her the opportunity to stay here. It is a legitimate result that is still possible. How do you keep that result vialble? Stay out of the way of the process. Do not politicize it beyond its natural limits. Participate to inform and educate, not to criticize. Fund a "friend of court" to participate, as he suggests. What you have to avoid is being the first to turn the child into a political football, because if that is the case, then the first of PilotAl's statements will undoubtedly, and unfortunately, come to pass.

But while speaking from the heart is healthy for the heart, always remember that the laws are tricky things. And that reasonable people can disagree. And that what we may all wish may not lie down well with what the law might ultimately require.

8:54 PM, March 26, 2007  
Blogger Alberto said...

None E.:

Perhaps I should have written in prose, as opposed to verse. Then you might have been able to understand my comment which I found to be direct, to the point, and with a glint of humor (It was a Yogi Berra quote: You may have heard of him. He was the catcher and then the manager of a baseball team whose name you also may find familiar--The New York Yankees).

As far as using some French words in my post, it appears that I may as well have written everything on this topic in a foreign language. Except for Manuel, no one seems to understand the point I am trying to get across. I appreciate the fact that you took the time to read my prior posts, but you appear to miss my point completely.

The last thing I want to do is turn this child into a political football. I hope, I pray, that the child's identity will never be revealed. However, there are two sides to every case and who is to say that Kurtzban, faced with losing this case, will not resort to unethical tactics? It is typical for him, and his kind, to do whatever is necessary to win. Sure, the judge has a gag order on all the parties, but do you really think she'll do more than give him a slap on the wrist and a petty fine he'll just pass on to his client? If he finds himself about to lose in court, he will resort to exposing the identity of the child in hopes of creating a carnival atmosphere, a la Elian, and use the precedent of that case to help his case. If you do not put that past him, then you are sadly unaware of the depths he is willing to lower himself in an effort to ensure a win for his paying client: the communist Cuban government.

Now, if you can understand that possibility, then you can naturally progress to my next point. If and when the child's name, address, biography, photographs, etc, are released by Kurtzban, the MSM will be ready to take off with it it. They will use Kurtzban's talking points, Kurtzban's arguments, Kurtzban's points of view, and anything else he tells them to do. We, on the other hand, who decided to sit idly by, placing our trust and hope in the blind eye of "justice" will then find ourselves with our proverbial thumbs up our you-know-whats. At that point, we'll then be busy worrying about damage control and cleaning up the sullied image the media will have already portrayed of us, over and over again, with the countless archival video clips of the hoards of Cuban exiles protesting after Elian's kidnapping. We will not be in any position to defend this little girl.

I am not calling for us to flood the streets now en masse to protest. I am simply suggesting that we prepare and have our information, our press releases, our spokespersons, in place and ready if the moment requires it. It is a stupid cliche, but it holds true in this situation: Those who fail to plan, plan to fail.

I hope this clears up my point for you.

PilotAl

10:27 PM, March 26, 2007  
Blogger Val Prieto said...

Mambi Waaaaaaatch,

Quite honestly, I am loathe to respond to your "assertions" simply because you shroud yourself in anonimity, the purpose of which makes your commentary suspect, to say the least.

The return of elian back to Cuba was not sold as a legal precedent or the following thereof, but as a moral obligation to do what was ethically correct and in the best interest of the child. The child's father believed the child's best interests were better served in the US, a fact that the then administration not only chose to ignore, but clandestinely worked to obfuscate.

If I am not mistaken, child custudy laws are based strictly and solely on the best interests of the child in question. Thus, the US government not only ignored the basis of custody laws, but willingly and blatantly undermined that basis, and is subsequent law, while caving in to political pressure.

You can try to baffle us with pedantic bullshit all you want, but the mere fact that you lack the integrity and dignity, while regaling us with your bookish discourse, by cowarding behind a pseudonym makes your points moot. In the real world outside of academia, where real people live real lives and foster real opinions and offer real discourse, a man behind a mask is irrelevent.

You want to be taken seriously? let's hear who you are. Let's have your background so we can judge for ourselves whether or not you are indeed qualified to sit at the same debate table with those that have nothing to hide.

Else, do us all a favor and STFU.

9:25 AM, March 27, 2007  
Blogger None E. Moose said...

PilotAl:

Ah, yes humor. I got it now. Glint, indeed. But if you're going for direct, clear and to the point, you could do better than hitch you wagon to Yogi Berra. His friend Boo Boo , maybe.

[W]ho is to say that Kurtzban (sic), faced with losing this case, will not resort to unethical tactics? It is typical for him, and his kind, to do whatever is necessary to win.

One of the first things you should remember when assassinating one's character, is to be ready with facts to support your statements. Actually, Grasshopper, that's good advice generally. Now, I don't agree with Kurzban's politics, any of it. But, he is a fairly decent guy who makes his living as a member of the Florida Bar. And, as a sworn officer of the court, as are all the attorneys involved on either side of this case, I doubt he would jeopardize his ticket for this or any other case. He is expected to advance any and all viable arguments within the law on behalf of his client. If you are not familiar with the attorney's oath, or cannot understand it, then you will have trouble understanding Kurzban's involvement. Mind you, I DO NOT AGREE WITH HIS POLITICS.

So, I'll ask you, what do you know about Mr. Kurzban, besides his poor taste in politics, that would lead you to assume such things about him? Tell us more, Mr. Inside, of these depths which we are sadly unaware that he will lower himself to. Remember, be clear and to the point. No frothing at the mouth. This, I fear, is the kind of unfettered and baseless rambling that starts the ball of ridicule a-rolling. If you got facts, then knock yourself out, with my humble apologies. If you don't, then please temper your arguments to a more constructive level. Otherwise, it'll be over before it's over. (Didn't Berra bat fifth, between Mickey and Moose Skowron?)

Except for Manuel, no one seems to understand the point I am trying to get across.

Well, that's what you get for soaring with eagles. Oops! Now there I go again, throwing out pithy little bon mots again. Must plan to stop, lest I fail.

Dude, I got your point completely. And I agree with you, completely. Well, except for unnecessarily libeling Kurzban. The Cuban-American Bar Association is more than likely already involved, with its best and brightest (and some of the less-bright, as well. ). And I further think that your message, both of preparation and information, and most importantly, of doing nothing affirmatively that will place us on "damage control", should be foremost in our minds, and guiding our every action.

I don't know how this case ends up. But no matter the result, the one thing this community cannot afford to lose is its dignity.

I think you're coming in five-by-five now.

9:28 AM, March 27, 2007  
Blogger Mambi_Watch said...

Mr. Prieto,

You know as well as I that beyond the public polling at the time showing 2-to-1 support for Elian to be reunited with his father, the case was far more complex. It was about, and has set a legal precedent in, immigration law.

You obviously have not read the ruling and documentation of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals of June 2000. The plaintiff, Elian and "next friend," DID NOT argue for "best interest of the child," but rather disputed a statute that would allow him to apply for asylum. The court denied it. And this was never a custody case. Read the ruling. Also, you don't seem to be aware of the failed negotiation attempts by the US and Elian's "lawyers" that provoked the raid.

About my "secret identity," I seriously doubt it matters, especially to you. On your blog you have several commentators and postings from anonymous sources. The latest one I read was a "hat tip" to FANTOMAS.

Mr. Prieto, you are obviously not being serious. Even if I revealed who I really am, which I will in due time (so be patient), you will "judge" me as you have others who disagree with you: as lacking "integrity and dignity" and unqualified.

So, I see no point to this discuss further your request to reveal my identity at this time. In the meantime: "I am Spartacus!"

11:18 AM, March 27, 2007  
Blogger Alberto said...

None:

I am glad you were able to finally enjoy my humor, though apparently it is not on par with what you are used to. Nevertheless, I will try to use bigger words in the future to better appeal to your advanced sense of humor.

In terms of my so-called “character assassination” of Mr. Kurzban (thank you for the correct spelling, by the way), I have to disagree with you that I intended to assassinate his character. (I could throw in a joke here that attorneys could never have their character assassinated since they do not have one, but I will withhold the temptation to do so. Besides, it probably would not register on your humor meter.) You use my following quote: “Who is to say that Kurtzban (sic), faced with losing this case, will not resort to unethical tactics?” How is that character assassination? Do you know for a fact that Kurzban would never do such a thing? If he did, would he be the first attorney (God forbid) that acted unethically to win a case? Does the oath safeguard the world from bad attorneys? My point, which you apparently comprehended towards the end of your post, is that we must be prepared for ANY possibility. You cannot sit there and honestly ask that we, as Cuban-Americans, should remain calm and worry-free because attorneys and judges that took an “oath” are handling this case, regardless of the possibility of it becoming a powder keg. We did that once, Mr. None, and the outcome was not what one would call just and fair. We awaited the outcome of a case being handled by two people who took this "sacred oath" you place so much credence in--Ms. Reno and Mr. Clinton--how much did that “oath” protect Elian?

Then again, perhaps I am being a little paranoid and I am unfairly painting Mr. Kurzban out as a louse. And if that is the case, you have my humblest and most sincere apologies. There is something, however, that my father taught me when I was young boy and it has proven itself true time and time again. “Dime con quien andas, y te dire quien eres.” I will translate for those who do not know Spanish: “Tell me who your friends are, and I will tell you who you are.” We all know who Mr. Kurzban has chosen to associate with, he has never made it a secret, and the truth is he has every right to do so. In fact, I will fight to the bitter end to ensure that he has that right. But I will repeat once again, what my father taught me has yet to fail me.

So, Mr. None, there is the basis for my concern in the most articulate manner I can communicate it. Perhaps you have the ability to trust the legal profession blindly, but based on what I have read, seen, and personally experienced, I reserve my right to be extremely skeptical of this group and especially the members of it that support the brutal dictatorship in Cuba.

I hope I was able to put forth my point with a minimal amount of froth. I obviously do not have your level of wit and humor, but if it is necessary, I will pull out my trusty thesaurus and re-write this post with bigger, and more complicated words to suit your tastes and your obviously high level of education.

PilotAl

12:20 PM, March 27, 2007  
Blogger Henry Gomez said...

Val,

Understand that Mambo Watch hides his identity because he is very self aware. He understands that his comments provoke a desire in everyone around him to punch him in the face and kick him in his tiny balls.

And his discourse is easily detectable no matter how many user names he signs up for at Babalu.

Best thing is to ignore the miserable little puke.

12:46 PM, March 27, 2007  
Blogger Mambi_Watch said...

Mr. Gomez,

Yes, you've mentioned before already that I am a "provocateur." Notice that your allegations are without merit. I just state the facts. Something you obviously are in denial over.

You tell Mr. Prieto to ignore me, but its a lot harder for you to do so huh? I'm referring to our recent exchange on your blog on the hpv bill (March 13) that got stalled in the Florida House. But, of course, after our debate was done, you erased the entire exchange. Otherwise I've been virtually banned from your blog and also from Babalublog (after a debate with you). My heart is broken.

Yet, you continue to refer to me. And, now you are telling Mr. Prieto how to act towards me. Maybe you should also tell Robert to ban me from this blog too.

Or, maybe, you can concentrate on making sound arguments that are based on facts, instead of relying on pejoratives (sorry to hear that its part of your nature) and telling friends to ignore me.

Also, I'm curious to know why my comments have been banned from BabaluBlog. I'm sure the explanation would give me a laugh, of which I'm entitled to. If not, maybe Robert (who posts on BabaluBlog too) can tell me why he thinks I was banned from BabaluBlog.

1:29 PM, March 27, 2007  
Blogger None E. Moose said...

PilotAl:

No need to pull a muscle on my account. I've read enough Dick and Jane books.

Lawyers = Bad. They have no character. They ate Little Red Riding Hood. The fork ran away with the spoon. The emperor has no clothes. Got it.

At the risk of being lumped with Mamby Pamby Watch, to which I will strenuously object, the Elian case was not a custody case. It was an asylum case. It didn't end as I would have liked, but the court decided in a predictable fashion. The vile raid on the relatives home? That's another kettle of fish. And no court has ever heard that case, much as some may want to twist the CCA case into some de facto approval of the INS's behavior in taking the boy. That case was never brought, for reasons of practicality, I would think. But who knows.

I have also heard that Elian's dad had originally expressed his desire for the boy to stay in Miami. However, in the context of an asylum case, that fact would likely have been irrelevant, unfortunately. In contrast, the father's desire, feigned or not, is very much at the heart of this case.

So, Capt. PilotAl, according to your logic, Roy Black is a criminal because he defends people charged with crimes (judging from your attitude, the answer is a proud YES). You may never have been represented by an attorney, but if you have, we can assume they also had a sense of humor "not on a par with what I am used to." Yes?

It's not a blind trust that I have, just not a blind indictment of an entire profession. I say we shoot Kurzban before he gets out of the locker room. Pero, mejor el mal conocido...

The oath you so contemptibly refer to is an oath to uphold the law. It was never an oath to protect any one person. Again, if the difference is not clear to you, then your difficulty with thesauri and jokes is the least of your worries. If you feel that Dancing Bear and Mr. Rodham didn't uphold the law, great. That's an opinion we can all entertain and discuss. And we might even agree. But please, know what you are referring to, even if it is with contempt.

Spellcheck was for free. And so is this:

Q: Why do lawyers wear neckties?
A: To keep the foreskin from covering their face.

Good luck to you, sir.

1:46 PM, March 27, 2007  
Blogger Mambi_Watch said...

"Mamby Pamby Watch"? What's your beef None E. Moose? Did I "provoke" you too?

2:48 PM, March 27, 2007  
Blogger Alberto said...

Mr. None:

My, my, my… it appears that even the suggestion that an attorney might be ethically challenged strikes a nerve with you. The problem here, however, is that this discussion has turned from the true cause (the little girl), to the ethical efficacies of the second oldest profession known to man (someone had to get the prostitutes out of the cave-jail). I have no desire to argue with you the merits of the legal profession. I happen to use the services of attorneys on a daily basis, due to my line of work, and some of my best friends happen to be attorneys. My point was not to indict an entire profession, but to point out that it does not exactly have a sterling reputation. I was simply trying to put forth the presupposition, in the largest and most obscure terminology my small, non-attorney brain could muster, that an “oath” does not guarantee a behavior. But alas, my attempt fell short once again and my words were misconstrued as demeaning to an entire profession that is so thoroughly, and deservedly loved by all mankind. Please accept my apologies for this unfortunate faux pas (a little French to add some flair to my 2nd grade vocabulary).

The most amusing thing about this whole interchange is that we most likely agree on many points and I would go so far as to say that you might even agree with my premise that as a community, we should be prepared for the worse. My problem with Mr. Kurzban is the fact that he does business with and defends known dictators. You immediately extrapolated that to mean that I must also hate Roy Black because he defends criminals. On the contrary, I admire Roy Black and I think he is a brilliant attorney. I believe in the American legal philosophy, put forth through our constitution that ALL of its citizens, whether they deserve it or not, are entitled to be represented in a court of law. If we were to eliminate this provision, it would open the door to gross injustices.

“So,” you may be asking yourself right now, “how does Capt. PilotAl reconcile his dislike of Kurzban with his admiration of Roy Black?” I am glad you asked that question! Kurzban shares the ideology of his clients, wherein Roy Black (unless I am mistaken, but I seriously doubt it), does not share the ideology of the murderer, or rapist, or kidnapper that he is defending. There is a big difference between defending a murderer because you believe there is nothing wrong with killing someone and defending a murderer because the US Constitution guarantees him/her the right to be represented in a court of law.

We continue to go off subject though; we need to address the issue at hand. If you agree with me that the worst CAN happen, and that we should be prepared, then there is no need to argue how much you like, or how much I supposedly dislike attorneys. It is really a moot point since neither you, nor I will convince the other that one of us is right. The issue here is this little girl and that we be prepared to handle an Elian-like fiasco if one comes to pass (I am not implying in any way, shape, or form that Counselor Kurzban would be capable of violating his oath and causing this—See? Even I can capitulate in the interest of solidarity).

In conclusion, Mr. None, we obviously are standing in the same spot ideologically, although we arrived here from different roads. We can agree to disagree the ancillary portions of this situation, but hopefully we both agree that it is in the best interest of this little girl to stay in America where she will be free to do what you and I have just done: put forth our thoughts and ideas.

A Good Day to You Also

Col. PilotAl (I promoted myself)

ps
Mambi_watch, lay off of None E. If you mess with him, you're messing with me also.

3:12 PM, March 27, 2007  
Blogger None E. Moose said...

Mamby:
No provocation here. It's that you like to throw poo in the cage. C'mon, now, if you treated castro any kinder on your blog, somebody might think you had a crush on the old pederast. Different strokes, I say.

But you see why, even while I may agree with some technical point you make, I cannot brook being seen as "on the same side" as you. Nope. That's how this whole comedy lesson with Eddie Rickenbacker here started. (BTW Col., thanks for watching my back.)

Col. PilotAl:
See? You're funnier already, and I've only rassled with you one day. But cut the dum-dum bit. I ain't buying.

Just to keep the conversation going... When you refer to the "Elian fiasco", what are you talking about exactly? I mean, I agree that the boy having to return was a tragedy, a terrible one at that. The forcible removal of the child was the low-point of the Clinton WH (the impeachment, btw was the low-point of the Congress, IMO). Are you referring to the community's efforts to keep the child here?

The reason I ask is that, while in my heart I would like for the little girl to stay here, I am not sure that is the highest ends for which this latest challenge has been placed before this community.

4:12 PM, March 27, 2007  
Blogger Mambi_Watch said...

None E. Moose,

It may be to your astonishment that it is more than likely that we agree on several issues. I even agree that the forcible removal of Elian was a low-point, but perhaps we may disagree on who's at fault for that.

Anyway, your perception of my support or embrace for Fidel Castro is without evidence. I challenge you to find anywhere on my blog, or anywhere else, writing that supports that allegation. If you wish to take my word for it, I don't support Fidel Castro, nor his government, because of my personal political beliefs. I reject "Castroism". Yet, I save most of my critical efforts towards the US, the country in which I live, and to whom I pay taxes to.

Save your accusations for when you have evidence, and then I will be more than happy to address them.

5:47 PM, March 27, 2007  
Blogger None E. Moose said...

Mamby:

So you don't like castroism. Yet, you want to lend them money? Because, as you seem to say, "Everybodys doing it." I would expect you to have jumped off a bridge long ago. Your slant reminds me of a political whore... U-sam! Is that you??? You old so-and-so, how are you? Spartacus my ass...

8:36 PM, March 27, 2007  
Blogger Alberto said...

Mr. Moose:

What is humor if you don’t throw in a little self deprecation? Nevertheless, I will cut out the “dum-dum” (sic) shtick, if only to amuse you. You see, I told you we share similar stances on the issue, even though we may disagree on the minutia. The bottom line here is that no child, especially one that has already escaped the grasp of a brutal dictatorship, should be forcibly returned to that dictatorship.

In regards to my definition of the Elian fiasco, it is quite simple, although not what you may have expected. I believe that it was made up of heavy doses of anti-Cuban exile sentiment among the media along with some leaders in this government, some very idiotic mistakes made by Elian’s family and local Cuban-American leaders here in Miami, and some over-zealous protestors. The cards began stacked against the boy and the exile community; we did not need to exacerbate the situation. Nevertheless, this does not excuse the media and those that goaded it on (the politicians and “editorialists” that spent every waking hour defaming the exile community) and brought upon the exile community a feeling of desperation. That feeling caused many to do and say things that only aggravated the situation. They were wrong for doing them, but so was the opposition for antagonizing them in that manner. That, in my humble opinion, is what I believe created and constituted the fiasco. Of course, it is just a brief synopsis, but I am sure you understand my premise.

What I have been saying, from the moment I learned of this case, is that if this case blows up, we must prepare ourselves to deal with the same deck of stacked cards we faced during Elian. I am not advocating that we pour out into the streets tonight and bang our pots and pans. On the contrary, we need the best, and smartest, and the most innovative minds in our community to join together and craft a sophisticated public relations strategy. With one in hand, we will be better prepared to defuse the attacks that will immediately be hurled at us and it will allow us to put forth our ideas and our points of view, without the look of desperation we all felt during Elian.

Col. PilotAl

9:01 PM, March 27, 2007  
Blogger Alberto said...

Mambi:

I took it upon myself to view your blog, but not before I closed my eyes and repeated three times: Mambi Watch is an anti-castro blog--Mambi Watch is an anti-castro blog--Mambi Watch is an anti-castro blog. I opened my eyes, perused the titles of your posts, and even read a paragraph or two. As the words I read struggled with the mantra I had repeated only moments earlier, I was finally able to reconcile your “anti-castro” beliefs with your pro-castro posts.

You have inspired me by your incredible ability to detach yourself from the reality of your pro-castro posts, with the fantasy of your anti-castro proclamation. You have found a way to take a political figure you do not like or agree with, and have created and maintained a blog that not only denounces anything derogatory about this person and his dictatorship (who you so vehemently dislike), but is completely devoid of even one iota of criticism of that person and his dictatorship (who you so vehemently dislike). Sheer brilliance, my good man; you are the master of misdirection and sleight of hand. Any other person who may have stumbled onto your blog, without repeating the aforementioned mantra, would have fallen prey to your clever ruse.

You have impressed me so profoundly, that I have decided to create a blog of my own. I am thinking about Hitler and Nazis; now there’s a person and group I find extraordinarily repulsive. What do you think of a blog talking about the raw deal Hitler received, how he was just a misunderstood visionary, and that the Nazis that demonstrate here today are not espousing hate, but the brotherly love they are striving for amongst their white sisters and brethren? Of course, I do not agree with anything they, or their thankfully dead leader stood for, but they do deserve a voice, don’t they? I am tired of how this imperialistic country is so quick to quash dissenting voices and impose their ideology on others. Don’t get me wrong, I do not agree with the Nazis, but I cannot sit by and allow the Bush regime to silence the voice of the “little guys.”

As ridiculous as my last paragraph sounded, that is what you sound like when you claim to be anti-castro, and yet maintain a pro-castro blog. The sad thing about this whole thing is that your argument is so weak, so impossible to defend, that you must resort to disguising yourself in order to elicit a response from able-minded individuals. Naturally, you can only maintain the subterfuge in these posts for about three or four words before eventually… la cagas.

Do yourself and us a favor; stay on your blog and type away your pro-castro proclamations to your hearts delight. As a matter of fact, I have a scoop for you that you may want to investigate. This may be your big break and the hits on your blog will sky rocket, so listen up. Come closer, I can’t say this too loud… closer, I have to whisper this, it is very sensitive information… okay, yesterday, I was on Calle Ocho and I was walking by some park where some old men were playing dominoes. I can’t say who it was for sure, but I heard one of them say that castro was an “hijo de p*ta.” Can you believe that? The audacity of that septuagenarian! How dare he insult the mother of fidel when we all know she was forced to turn tricks because of the US embargo on Cuba!

Gen’l PilotAl (I think I deserve yet another promotion)

10:04 PM, March 27, 2007  
Blogger Robert said...

Very interesting thread to say the least.

Gen. PilotAl, How many stars would like?

You can say a lot of things about this blog, but don't say we don't aim to please!

10:28 PM, March 27, 2007  
Blogger Robert said...

I should have said: How many stars would YOU like?

10:31 PM, March 27, 2007  
Blogger Robert said...

In all seriousness, Gen. Al makes a good point about "preparing" for the possibility for another Elian-like circus, although right now I don't see it reaching that level.

I think the Cuban-American community has learned from that experience. It's no fun getting burned twice. We can stand our ground without getting sucked into the trap the anti-exiles will surely set.

10:36 PM, March 27, 2007  
Blogger Alberto said...

Robert:

In regards to the stars, I'll take all you are willing to give. I'll save the extra ones to mitigate the occasional gaff I am prone to make.

In regards to preparation, even though many believe that now may be too early to prepare, I can assure you that if things do go awry, we will be fighting an avalanche of negative publicity beginning on the first minute this story goes national. Every major news outlet, including Fox News, will pull out the old tapes of the thousands of people in the streets screaming from the protests after the kidnapping. They'll also show the tapes of Elian playing in his front yard while hundreds of spectators watched and dozens of cameras filmed it. The immediate reaction America will have is, "oh God, not this again. The Cubans are getting restless." Poof... just like that, we'll be marginalized as knee-jerk reactionaries who respond violently if we don't get our way.

It would not hurt to prepare, it would not hurt to be ready, it would not hurt to plan ahead. You are right, it is no fun getting burned once, let alone twice. But the one getting the third degree burns here will be the little girl because her detractors will seize upon the tarnished image being portrayed on millions of TV sets, and use that to sway public opinion.

I don't want to sound like a broken record, but I really do feel we need to prepare.

Gen'l Pilotal

10:55 PM, March 27, 2007  
Blogger Mambi_Watch said...

As seen quite clearly, no one found any comments on my blog, or anywhere else, that show that I support Fidel Castro, or his government. Actually, I find the man quite irrelevant. I try to focus on arguments and the facts that they are based on. I don't obsess over ONE man, as other do.

None E. Moose tries to imply that I argue about something like "Everybody's doing it" referring to trade with Cuba. Unfortunately, this is a false assumption, as it is not my argument, and it never has been. I challenge anyone to find such evidence. Thanks for not trying None E. Moose.

Pilot Al, thank you for taking the time to read my posts from my blog, you flatter me. I find it astonishing that you would compare the anti-semitic hatred and hysteria of Nazi Germany equally with the repressive and abusive tactics of the Cuban government. But, of course, this is possible once someone neglects the social and historical origins of both movements, of which are entirely different on many levels. Yet, THIS is the aim of my blog. To properly provide the facts and give sound and fair interpretations of them. Not false accounts like anti-castro bloggers, or local media anti-castro commentators. I support the facts.

I obviously cannot compete with the comedic qualities of the last posts. I'll add that the quality of absurdity is also quite high. Yet, the facts speak for themselves, I certainly hope it is something that those mentioned above resort to every once in a while.

12:29 AM, March 28, 2007  
Blogger Alberto said...

Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah...

Mambi: your 15 minutes of fame are up. You have gotten more attention from Moose and myself than would normally be afforded. If it weren't so damn easy and entertaining to taunt you, we would have just ignored you from the get go.

It is time now for you to pick up your toys, grab your lunch box,get back on your tricylcle, and pedal back on home. Your mother is calling and she's getting worried.

No, no... don't say anything. Your behaviour has ceased being outrageous and has become just plain boring. Have a great life, and may your days be sunny and your nights filled with the beauty of dancing che heads.

Ta Ta

The Gen'l

12:14 PM, March 28, 2007  
Blogger None E. Moose said...

Mamby:

All I said is that you were too kind. You are. Why are you too kind? Perhaps being too kind is not a sign of favor where you come from.

Like the smell of bullshit is not a sign of bullshit.

2:53 PM, March 28, 2007  

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