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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

WORLD VIEW: The Times




The extraordinary, sad affair of Eli?n Gonz?lez has never been straightforward. Both his father and his extended family in Miami have acted out of the most human, and noble, of motives. The same can hardly be said of the politicians who, deliberately or not, have taken centre-stage in this drama. Fidel Castro, the Cuban president, has made the return of little Eli?n a national imperative, while studiously ignoring the grim realities of his regime that obliged Elian's mother to flee in the first place. Bill Clinton, having wrung his hands for months, has now responded with excessive force. ...


This saga will not end now, and neither will the agony for father, family, son and [U.S.] Administration. ... By acting as it has this weekend, the Clinton White House has only revived old suspicions - easily tapped in the United States - of an arrogant and over-mighty central authority. These are dangerous emotions to stir.


The end result is that this tale is destined to become more, not less, political. ... Al Gore has distanced himself further from his own colleagues. The Republicans, appalled by this seizure, may be more inclined to side with the Florida family. Se?or Castro will exploit matters to his own advantage. ... The courts will be lobbied on all sides, and they may yet reprimand the president. It is hard to see any winner emerging from this fracas. Eli?n himself is the least likely winner of them all.


April 24