United States personnel.rnThe father has remained and has siredrnanother Httle bov. If EHan is returned tornhis father, it will be to lie under the controlrnof a stepmother and in compehtionrnwith her son, which is traditionalK’ arnheinous situation.rnI cannot agree with your conclusion,rnand I am vcr’ displeased with the authoritativerntone of your article.rnI will not renew inv subscription tornChronicles.rn—Ab’in D. LaicUcyrnCannichaels, PArnI’homas Fleming’s piece on the ElianrnGonzalez affair is thoughtful and well-intentionedrnbut seriously flawed. He callsrndie case “a simple child-custod’ battle.”rnHowever, the matter was elevated into anrninternahonal confrontahon by Fidel Castro,rnnot by the bo”s Miami relatives. Beforernthat, it was merelv an unusual immigrationrncase.rnWhat Dr. Fleming refers to as thern”mischief in this case has not beenrnmade b allegedly conserxahve Republicansrn(vvlio haven’t done a damn thing)rnand so-called family-values Christiansrn(who haven’t even been heard from).rnNo, the real mischief-makers arc FidelrnCastro and his ideological supporters andrnsympathizers in America: The NationalrnCouncil of Churches; liberal membersrnof the news media, especially GeraldornRivera; and Representatives CharlesrnRangel, Alcee Hastings, Maxine Waters,rnJose Serrano, et al. Add to diat Bill Clinton,rnJanet Reno, and Doris Meissner, andrnou hae the making of plent’ of mischiefrn— Chrifitopher IkariarnBrooklyn, N’TrnDr. Fleming Replies:rnThe arguments against returning ElianrnGonzalez to his father fall into ho (admittedlyrnoverlapping) categories. Thernfirst set of arguments is on the principlernthat the U.S. government should exerciserna “right” to deprive a foreign national ofrnhis child if a) the child happens to be onrnU.S. soil, and b) the countn, to which hernwould be returned is ruled by a repressiverndictatorship. The second set consists ofrnspecial pleadings that Juan Gonzalez is arnbad father or not free to speak his mind orrnthat the mother “died for freedom,” etc.rnThere is, it goes without saving, no legalrnjustification for the interenhon ofrnan- government agencv in America —local,rnstate, or national —and apart fromrnthe Republicans’ equalh’ obscene inter-rnention to steal Walter Polaxchak fromrnhis father, no one to the right of KarlrnMarx and Hillan Clinton has c”er hintedrndiat an- government had such authorihrnThat shoidd be the end of a rational argument,rnbut apparenri it is not. Cuba isrna communist dictatorsliip that sends studentsrnout to cut sugar cane and forcesrnthem into indoctriuahon camps. SendingrnElian back to Cuba would be likernsending a Jewish kid back to Nazi GermansrnHider was bound to turn up in the argument,rnbut what is the parallel? NazisrnselecHeh’ persecuted ]ews; to what persecutedrngroup is Elian supposed to belong?rnYes, conununist states indoctrinaternchildren; the ruling elite runs flic schoolsrnand controls the media. If someonernwants to sa- diat there is a difference inrnkind between flicir state-controlled cducahonrnand media and ours, he will lunernto make that case. Thei’e is simpK’ no e-rnidence to siiggest tiiat people liing inderrncommunism ha e had a harder timernrearing decent children than those of usrnwho lie in so-called W estcrn so-calledrndemocracies. M’ recent experiences inrnthe United States and in postcommunistrncountries suggest the opposite.rnxMuch is made of the fact that, in communistrnCuba, children are said to belongrnto the .state. None of these defenders ofrnparental rights has apparentU- heard ofrnthe good old American doctrine ofrnparens patriae, b- which state gocrnmentsrnclaim the right to determine thernproper education and upbringing of children.rnHere in Illinois, the Republicanrnand Democratic legislators passed arnchild-protection bill in w hich the- uniformk’rnsubstituted the phrase “the best interestsrnof the child” for cery preiousrnprotection of parental rights. The cryrnfact that any American would want to usernthe government to determine custody ofrnan alien is a sign of how tar we hae gonernin eleating the state oer the famil.rnThe other set of arguments hae largeh’rnto do w ith the circumstances of therncase. It is said, for example, that our go’-rnernment(s) hae jurisdiction because, asrna Cuban landing on .American shores,rnElian is automaticalK’ a refugee. If thatrnwere the case, then his status would berndecided by the INS, not by an famiKrncomt in Florida, and the INS says wernshould send him back. In fact, man- ofrnthe Cubans who reach the United Statesrnare denied refugee status, particidarly (bvrnan agreement with Cuba) when thernaliens are intercepted before reachingrnAmerican soil.rnThen there arc a set of argumentsrnabout the Gonzalez family, which boilrndown to something like this: “Mothersrnhave a superior claim to their children;rnriiis modier chose to risk death in order torngive her son the chance to grow up inrnfreedom; Juan Ciouzalez originalh’ wantedrnthe bo to go to America and, in askingrnfor his return, he is acting ruidcrrnduress.” None of this is true.rnB Christian tradition and ancient law,rndie father is head of the household, andrnin a divorce he has automatic custodyrnAnglo-American feminist liberals in thernI9di ccnturv did, it is true, tamper withrndiis fundamental provision of the commonrnlaw, natural law, and divine law, butrntodav in the United States, the presumptionrnin favor of the mother is disappearing.rnIn die Gonzalez case, the ftither remarried;rnthe mother was shacking uprnwith a bo’friend. The father had custocK’rnfic das out of secn; the mother kidnappedrnthe kid and recklessly exposedrnhim to mortal danger.rnFor w hat? We shall never know, and itrnhardh’ matters. The simplest and mostrnhonorable motixe would be the desire tornlie with her relaties in Miami. Thernmere fact diat Juan Gonzalez a,sked hisrnformer in-laws to take care of his son inrnMiami savs nodiing about the state of hisrnfeelings vhen told of his ex-wife’s criminalrnbehavior. Upon entering the countr,rnMr. CTOUZUICZ vas closeted withrnDoris Meissner and Janet Reno, whornwere clearh urging him to solve BillrnClintons political problem bv defectingrnto the United States. He has so far refusedrnto give in to their blandishments.rnHe cannot be acting under duress.rnThe only thing else to say is that I agreernwith the critic who said that this case is arn”litmus test.” It is. On the one side arcrndiosc who take their stand on law-, tradition,rnthe integrit’ of families, and therntruflis of revealed religion. On the otherrnside are the cliild-saers who have spentrnthe centun, looking for pretexts to snatchrnour sons and daughters, joined b’ Christianrnconscraties who can make no betterrnargument flian “Yanquisi, Cuba no.”rnWe have alwavs seen our role atrnChronicles as primarily educational, andrntire good news for us is diat there is sornmuch work left to do even among ourrngood friends and loyal readers.rn6/CHRONICLESrnrnrn