February 3, 2000

H. E. Janet Reno, Attorney General

H. E. Doris Meissner, INS Commissioner

Distinguished ladies,

I am writing this letter to you because I am deeply concerned and anguished over the present condition of my six-year-old son, Elian Gonzalez, unfairly and cruelly separated from our family for over two months.

The two grandmothers were hurt and embittered to realize the grave damages caused to my son's health and emotional balance by his long and insufferable captivity. They could witness the nefarious consequences for this young and innocent child of the conditions surrounding his life as have been exposed by the media and denounced by prestigious pediatric psychologists and other experts in the United States.

For over two months, Elian has been under constant harassment and pressure from politicians, journalists, lawyers, publicity agents and others unrelated to his family. Some like Mrs.Ileana Ross-Lehtinen and Mr.Jose Basulto have repeatedly said in public that they have been meeting with my son on a daily basis throughout all this period. Others have announced that they have sustained interviews with him lasting several hours. The boy has been forced to pose for TV cameras day and night with people he does not know and who are unscrupulously manipulating him. That rude invasion of his privacy and disrespect for his childhood innocence should cease immediately and you should guarantee that such things do not happen again.

Notorious twin brothers are among those constantly appearing with my boy. These two people are so well known by now that they even receive attention from some of those who spend time in front of the house where the child is held in captivity despite the fact that both have long criminal records and have several times been convicted in the Florida courts of law. How many others with similar backgrounds are around my son? How much longer can the INS continue to put up with this situation?

The twin brothers' sister, a spokeswoman for those arbitrarily holding my son captive, announced last January 26 that psychologists are treating Elian. As a father whose full and exclusive parental rights you have recognized, I formally make the following request:

  1. That my son is returned to me in compliance with your decision announced last January 5.
  2. That while such decision awaits implementation, my son is transferred to the house of my uncle Manolo Gonzalez, who also lives in Miami city not far from the place where Elian remains in captivity.
  3. That an end is immediately put to harassment, manipulation, psychological pressures and the violation of my son Elian's privacy.
  4. That with absolute urgency and with as much accuracy as possible, the Immigration and Naturalization Service gives me information on the following:
  1. The full name of the psychologist or psychologists who are checking on my son. The institutions where they studied, their practice certificates and professional expertise, the treatment they have chosen for the boy and if medications have been prescribed which and why;
  2. The full name, present occupation and background of all those people visiting Mr.Lazaro Gonzalez house. Also, who are staying there and if they are in direct contact with he child as well as who are keeping him company while he sleeps.
I hope you can understand my feelings, which are shared by the four grandparents, the great-grandmother and the rest of Elian's family. We have lovingly cared for him in our Cardenas home and we are in deep suffering and anguish to know him the victim of mistreatment and abuse by his captors.

My son is the victim of such damage as will unfortunately leave him life sequels, and this worsens with every passing day. Those who can prevent it have a moral obligation to act with full urgency.

I look forward to your reaction.

Sincerely yours,

Juan Miguel Gonzalez