MESSAGE TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE
Ive just arrived in Washington where I hope Ill soon be able to embrace my son Elián González Brotons for the first time in over four months. Im here with my wife and six-month-old son. This is Eliáns true family.
For 137 days I have endured an unfair and ruthless separation from my son. Never before the anguishing days since November 22, did he have more need of his father and family, his friends and his school.
As if his mothers disappearance before his eyes and the miracle of his survival had not inflicted enough damage on a 5 years old boy, he has had to spend time under the temporary custody of some distant relatives who had never seen him before.
I immediately appealed to the U.S. authorities to have my son returned to me. But, it was not until January 5 that, in compliance with international law, the INS recognized the unquestionable principle of parental rights and declared that, as it is common practice in such cases, the child should be returned to the father. However, that decision has not been enforced but rather subjected to endless and confusing legal procedures. Finally, last March 21, a Florida Federal Court ruled in favor of what should have never been questioned.
It has been an agonizing experience to see my son submitted to cruel psychological pressures aimed at influencing his personality already weakened by the terrible trauma. Worse still, Elián has been paraded and exhibited in public rallies and by the media with the clear intent to obtain political advantages from his tragedy.
Politicians, journalists, lawyers, publicity agents and others unrelated to the family have been harassing my son. An eight hours television interview done without my consent has shown the cruelty to him and the damage caused.
My daily phone calls to my son from Cuba are often jeopardized and when we do communicate I clearly hear the adults disturbing the child.
I dont know who are the doctors and psychologists caring for my son, or the treatment and medications he has been taking. Although on four different occasions I have submitted written requests for information, I have not received a response.
In the last few days, my family and I have been alarmed to see the passions exacerbated in Miami and dangerous displays on television that make us fear for the safety of my son. Im truly impatient to have him returned to me as soon as possible and go back to Cuba together, immediately.
However, I have been told that I should still wait two other months before I can take Elián back to his small home town, Cárdenas, where he was growing up well loved and cared for.
In the face of this new and unfair delay, I have asked the U.S. government to allow me to come here with a small group of Eliáns classmates and teachers, as well as psychologists, pediatricians and nurses who would help me care for him and assist those other children who have been following every step of the situation; also a leader from my country whos been like a brother giving me advise and support throughout long days of pain and uncertainty.
Anyone understands that in the process while my son Elián recovers from his trauma I cant be guided only by my fatherly love; I will also need the counseling of specialists and a propitious environment with his classmates and teachers to help him back to his old routine of family life, schooling and playing with his friends.
Despite everything Ive been through since last November 22, Im confident that the U.S. authorities will not allow that my son and family continue to be hurt and I beg them to understand the reason why Im asking to be accompanied by those children and professionals.
I cant forget that while my familys anguish and suffering reached unimaginable limits, all of the Cuban people and authorities were there for us.
At this moment, I also want to express my deepest gratitude to the American people who have overwhelmingly and increasingly favored that my son be returned to me.
Juan Miguel González, father of Elián González Brotons
April 6, 2000