What About Justice for All the Cuban Kids? – Brief Article
Sheila R. Cherry
While the mainstream press has been obsessed with the Elian Gonzalez tug-of-war story, the plight of another Cuban parent who survived the capsized boat along with Elian in that tragic journey has been all but ignored. Until now.
News alert! has learned that survivor Arianne Horta also is waiting to be reunited with her daughter, Estefani, just as Elian’s father waits to be reunited with his son. Only this parent is in Miami while her 6-year-old daughter remains in Cuba with a grandparent. Unfortunately, unlike Elian, the daughter does not have the support and power of public notoriety or political posturing from lawmakers demanding the daughter be reunited with her mother. The Immigration and Naturalization Service has had Horta’s petition for asylum nearly three months now. Until it is processed and residency established, her daughter cannot request a “release” from Cuba.
Horta, the sole female survivor of the fateful boat crossing with Elian, initially placed her daughter on the rickety boat but decided to return the child to shore after the engine failed. She since has been on a lonely mission to retrieve her child. All the paperwork and petitioning has been completed to get a visa for the daughter to join her, but the State Department says a visa can not be granted by the U.S. Interests Section in Havana until the child has been “released” by the Cuban government.
Unfortunately, according to Sylvia Iriondo at Mothers Against Repression in Miami, many families have waited years to be reunited with other family members who have not been allowed to leave Cuba.
Meanwhile, Cuban dictator Fidel Castro pushes little Elian’s classmates, neighbors and other protesters to argue that keeping Elian separated from his father is unjust. At the same time, Castro’s justice allows Horta to be separated from her child, who may be trapped in Cuba forever.
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