Responding to our April 17 cover story, "Elian's Ordeal," many readers vigorously opposed sending the little boy home. In Cuba, wrote one, "children belong to the state and the state is Fidel Castro." But most asserted that Elian should be with his father (even if that means a return to Cuba) and that he has been ill served by his Miami relatives. "Since when does politics take precedence over family," asked one, "especially where children are concerned?" Another letter writer declared, "A decision on Elian's welfare should have been made months ago. Anyone could see that the longer no decision was made, the more problems would arise."
Little Boy, Big Issues Your cover story "Elian's Ordeal" (NATIONAL AFFAIRS, April 17) was superb. You provided much-needed information about life in Cuba and how the political system is failing to provide a decent living standard for the Cuban people, including the children.
Mohamad A. Khalil
Oh, come on: Elian is "Castro's propaganda trophy"? Take a good look at the video of the little boy sitting on a bed, announcing that he doesn't want to go back to Cuba. The Miami family of this child has taken propaganda to a new level, and the American media have bent over backward to accommodate them. It's time for everyone, from the media and government to the so-called family in Miami, to back off and let the boy spend time with his dad. That is where he belongs. The Miami Cubans have proved to me that their hate for Fidel Castro is far more important to them than any "love" they may claim to have for Elian. Elian's father met all the demands of the Miami family when he came to this country. But they kept setting new conditions. Face it: these people never had any intention of giving this child back. As long as he's here, they will get more than their 15 minutes of fame. Do I smell book deals and endless talk shows ahead?