While Senator Obama worked a warm audience at the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Miami this week-end, protesting Bush and Mc Cain's “tax-cuts for the wealthy” and promising billions in federal hand-outs, a small group of Cuban-Americans stood outside the Intercontinental protesting Obama himself.
More specifically, they protested some of Obama's top advisors: Gregory Craig, who serves as Obama's chief advisor on Latin America, and Erich Holder, who heads Obama's vice-presidential selection team. Both of these gentlemen had key roles in “legally” perfuming the shanghaiing of Elian Gonzalez. At the time, Craig served as lawyer for Elain's father, (i.e Fidel Castro), and Holder served as Deputy Attorney General under Janet Reno.
"That was eight years ago,” Obama responded when plans for the Cuban-American protest were announced last week. “Obviously it was a wrenching situation for the families, but I'm running for president in 2008 and my focus is: how do we create a Cuba policy that will create political freedom on that island and allow the people who live there to prosper?"
Florida holds 27 of the 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency. New Jersey holds 15 electoral votes, and the largest Cuban-American community after Florida. So 16 percent of the 270 electoral votes could depend on a candidates' professed policy towards Stalinist Cuba. Obama knows this and plans to woo a few of these these overwhelmingly Republican voters. Well, he's got his work cut out for himself.
“My fear is that those who collaborated with the Cuba's communist government and made a great mistake with a defenseless child,” said Elian's Miami uncle, Delfin Gonzalez, “will make the same mistake again against this nation that is facing danger from terrorism.”
In fact, outside of Florida and New Jersey, the Elian Gonzalez issue should not discomfit the Obama campaign in the slightest. Polls from the time show that 70 percent of the American public fell for the Castro/Clinton/Craig media ruse, and favored the boys return to Stalinist Cuba.
Dan Rather had a major role in this ruse. On April 16, 2000 his 60 Minutes segment featured an interview with Elian's father, Juan Miguel. America saw an innocent, bewildered and heartsick father simply pleading to be allowed to have his motherless son accompany him back to Cuba, his cherished homeland. How could anyone oppose this? How could simple decency and common sense possibly allow for anything else?
Humberto Fontova holds an M.A. in Latin American Studies from Tulane University and is the author of four books including his latest, The Longest Romance; The Mainstream Media and Fidel Castro. For more information and for video clips of his Television and college speaking appearances please visit www.hfontova.com.