For over six months our people have been enduring with indignation the pain caused by the infamous outrage committed against a Cuban child and his family.

Elián spent close to five months kidnapped by a criminal Mafia that put in serious jeopardy his physical and mental health. According to international law and the laws of both countries the shipwrecked child, whose mother had tragically perished, should have immediately been returned to his father in Cuba who was claiming for him. No one in the United States had absolutely any right over the child. However, he was placed in the hands of a cynical and immoral man who seized him under the pretext of a distant relationship. The U.S. courts had absolutely no right to decide on a matter that was the exclusive competence of the Cuban courts. Still, the opposite was forcibly done.

It was our people’s tenacious and resolute struggle in support of a dedicated and exemplary father and a humble Cuban family, assisted by both reason and rights, that moved the world public opinion, particularly the American people which overwhelmingly took sides with the boy, the father and the family claiming for reunification and for the boy’s return to his homeland.

But, the authorities’ hesitation, opportunism and political cowardice prevented the child’s repatriation while an endless, arbitrary and murky process unfolded. It was not only the child who suffered but also his father and wife and the new son; the maternal and paternal grandparents; and, millions of Cuban fathers, mothers, grandparents and children who have suffered and are still enduring the tragedy of waiting and the nightmare of such predicament. No one had any right to hurt them so.

Then, as most Americans and the world expected a swift and fair solution, a verdict was issued today that still gives rights and prerogatives to an impostor who has shown contempt for the laws and orders of the authorities in the country where he lives while opening for the six-year-old victim a new chapter of arbitrary actions and the possibility of a cruel and endless wait before he can rejoin his most immediate family. And this suffering will also be shared by his little brother, his father and wife who, in the absence of his mother, is caring for him with all the love she can give.

The images of this boy now with his true family, when compared to those we could all see as he was manipulated, overexposed and exploited, provide irrefutable evidence of the pain caused by the kidnapping and the very harsh conditions in which he was forced to live for months, at such an early stage of life, with people moved only by grossly commercial reasons and dirty politics.

In fact, it is not only Elián who is a captive now in the United States but also his father, his brother Hianny and his mother. Our people have the right to claim for their immediate release and return to Cuba. Their retention in America is not only due to the Mafia and its allies’ unjustifiable and cruel revenge but also to the mean purpose and ridiculous hope of the top political and government officials in that country to buy out a Cuban father whom they have so ruthlessly humiliated and offended but who has shown to them that he is a trustworthy, honorable and incorrupt man.

We shall not remain idle while injustice and crimes continue to prevail. We will intensify our struggle. And, in order to show the world our rejection and our protest and to claim for the return of Elián, his father Juan Miguel and his family, tomorrow, Friday, at 10:00 AM, half a million Cuban mothers, grandmothers and women will march on the U.S. Interests Section in Havana and then concentrate at "José Martí" Anti-imperialist Square. There, they shall express themselves not only with firm steps but also with deeply felt and incendiary words their repudiation and condemnation of the new and cynical mockery against those humble sons and daughters of this nation.

There will be difficulties with public transportation tomorrow due to the large mass mobilization, and possibly in the following days, too. We apologize to the experienced and militant fellow compatriots from the capital. This is a crucial time; there is no other alternative and no place for hesitation.

United in the noble and humanitarian objective which is the release and return of the child and his family to their Homeland, where they were born and wish to live, both the American and the Cuban peoples will win.


June 1, 2000

7:15 PM