News Release

Elian: Some Context

These analysts are available for interviews on context in the Elian Gonzalez case:

ELENA FREYRE
Executive director of the Miami office of the Cuban Committee for Democracy, Freyre said today: “The Cuban American community is not monolithic. Returning Elian is part of broader reconciliation that needs to take place between Cubans. Part of the message that’s being sent is that if you live in Cuba, you can’t raise healthy, productive children — that’s not true.”

MICHAEL RATNER
Attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights and a fellow at Yale Law School, Ratner said today: “That this sad soap opera is still continuing after Elian’s father has arrived from Cuba is abominable. Clinton and Reno should have acted long ago to return Elian to his father. Their inaction continues to harm Elian, cause anguish to his father and damage the U.S. claim that we live in a country governed by law. Nor is there any merit to the suggestion that Elian be required to remain in the U.S. until court appeals are exhausted.”
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JANE FRANKLIN
Author of Cuba and the United States: A Chronological History, Franklin said today: “Some of the Cubans involved with Elian have been carrying out attacks against Cuba, including the Bay of Pigs, ever since that time. The organization that provides most of the financing for the Miami relatives, the Cuban American National Foundation, was founded in 1981 not by a grass-roots movement but by President Reagan and his first national security adviser, Richard Allen, as an arm of U.S. policy toward Cuba.”
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JULIA SWEIG
Deputy director of Latin American Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, Sweig is currently writing a book on Cuba. She said: “President Clinton should immediately adopt a comprehensive policy of family reunification for divided Cuban families. By lifting all restrictions on travel to Cuba by Cubans living here and increasing the level of remittances they can send to their family to $10,000 per year, the United States can make family reunification the center of U.S. policy toward Cuba.”

CHERYL LITTLE
Executive director for the Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center, Little said today: “Last year alone, over 5,600 unaccompanied minors were in INS custody; most didn’t even have lawyers and were in desperate need of help. A 1998 Human Rights Watch report condemned conditions for children detained by the INS, saying they were frequently and systematically denied human rights…. Haitians in particular have been routinely denied political asylum no matter how strong their case.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy: Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020