U.S. should return Elian to Cuba — for his sake

Recently, a federal court took up the case of deciding whether to send Eli n Gonzalez back to Cuba or allow him to remain in the United States. The issue has become increasingly contentious for both Cubans and residents of the United States. Although many people would prefer that he remain in the United States because of his mother’s efforts, his return to Cuba would be in accordance with American policy, as well as in his own best interests.
The 6-year-old Cuban boy was discovered floating on an inner tube off the coast of Fort Lauderdale on Thanksgiving Day. He was traveling from Cuba with his mother and 10 other people, all of whom drowned after the boat capsized. Currently, there is a broad base of support for Eli n’s return to Cuba, including the federal government, the law of the United States and a significant number of activists. Hopefully, the federal court will have the compassion to grasp the trauma of the politics on Eli n and have the insight to send him home.
Unfortunately, this case has devolved into addressing issues that are only vaguely related. Now it is not only about the well-being of Eli n, but a discussion about which political, economic and social environment is superior, not simply for the child, but for humankind in general. The result is that the boy has become caught up as the key piece in the game. No one involved in the debate should allow Eli n to become a pawn, where his position on the political chessboard somehow signifies a triumph of one political system over another.
Eli n is at a tender age of his life, where the stress of the politics surrounding his fate has no doubt compounded the trauma of his journey to the United States. The fact that custody battles can cause tremendous stress on children is widely known. But entire nations battle over Eli n’s future, and the stress of the political event could very well have lasting effects. “While kids can be remarkably resilient, all in all, I’d say there’s a significant toll on him,” said Alan Delamater, a child psychologist at the University of Miami.
While the debate should focus on what will be best for Eli n’s future, the event itself is anything but beneficial to him. Sending the boy back to Cuba, where he started his life, would be the most sensible, after having subjected him to the disorientating political process. It’s unfortunate for Eli n that his life has become the focus of a political debate, especially between Cuba and the United States, countries that are passionate about their differences.
As the case goes to court, there is much support for Eli n’s return. The Immigration and Naturalization Service believes Eli n must be sent back to Cuba. The U.S. government stands behind the law that, many legal experts claim, is clearly in its favor. Additionally, there is the social support, which has roused so many protests in both countries, shouting out that Eli n should be returned to his father. Hopefully, the federal court will come to the same conclusion.