Let us save Elián!



The open stage in the proximity of the United States Interest Section in Havana will resume its guiding and mobilizing activities at 5 p.m. this Monday.

Elián's fate is uncertain.

Practically all of the many politicians from both parties running for the presidential nomination have expressed themselves demagogically or in an extravagant and reckless language against the child's return to Cuba; they have discussed dilatory and even perfidious formulas.

In addition to the announced technicalities they intend to resort to as soon as the Administration makes a decision, the extremist and terrorist South Florida mob, backed by the U.S. extreme right, is threatening with violent actions to oppose the child's return to his legitimate family and homeland. They claim that a human belt of traitorous mercenaries will take position around the house of the distant relatives where the child is being held in captivity to prevent action by the federal officials in the event that the government of that country adopts a decision in favor of his return to Cuba that would be both humanely just and legally irrefutable.

As they are used to fascist methods, to blackmail and go unpunished due to the weakness and tolerance of the U.S. leaders for whom they were always instruments and accomplices, anything can be expected of them.

At the moment, no one can know for sure when and how the child will be returned. There is confusion and chaos in the United States concerning this issue.

The last diplomatic note from the Cuban government was presented to the U.S. State Department on December 12. It stated the need for a prompt reply because of the great suffering both the child and his family are enduring and the consequences this could have on Elián's mental health. Eight days have passed and we have not yet received a single word of reply.

On Monday, December 13, at 7:00 in the morning, two U.S. officials --one of them a representative of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service-- had a private meeting with Elian's father and closest relatives. This was considered an indispensable requirement, practically the last step towards a fair, quick and honorable solution of the problem.

At the family's home, in the city of Cárdenas, the father gave these U.S. officials 17 documents certified by the relevant authorities, which proved beyond all doubt the paternity and, therefore, the parental authority of Juan Miguel González Quintana, whose care for and behavior toward his son Elián were unquestionably exemplary. These same immigration authorities had handed over the boy to a distant relative who has lived in the United States for 15 years --having gone there nine years before the birth of Elián, whom he had seen perhaps only once in his life-- without any request for documents to confirm the distant kinship. This time seven days have passed and the father has not yet received the slightest sign that his rights will be recognized.

Along with all this, the touching and impressive Round Table held last Thursday with the participation of outstanding scientists and specialists in pedagogy, psychology and child psychiatry chosen from among the most prestigious and experienced in the country, offered scientifically sound arguments that showed to the whole country that, in less than 48 hours, the child had suffered deep successive traumas. Also, that he had been estranged from his natural environment, his school, his friends, his teacher, his father and his loved ones most needed for his recovery. Our scientists and specialists proved how desperately urgent is his return to Cuba.

The absolutely shameful and obnoxious images of those who took part in the child’s abduction in complicity with a gang of perverse, unscrupulous and vicious people were extremely annoying and revolting. The grotesque scene where a fierce she-wolf disguised as a woman wrapped around that innocent boy, almost by force, the striped and spangled banner --so different from the one he had respectfully saluted a few days before in his school every morning-- shall go down in history as one of the most infamous, loathsome and outrageous acts ever seen by our people.

One hundred books of political teachings could not be more instructive about the meanness and decadence of the "turbulent and brutal empire that scorns us". That image should be disseminated throughout the world. The hypocrisy, the blatant and incredible boasting of ostentatious presents with which they want to buy out the soul of a six-year-old boy at any cost, are a reflection of the alienated society and the world that they want to impose on this Cuban child arbitrarily and by force.

Now, it is not only necessary to preserve the child's identity and his father's parental authority, something that no one in the world puts in doubt; it is also urgent to save his psychic and mental health before the damage becomes irreversible.

Our people will not permit the gruesome and monstrous crime being coldly and shamefully committed against that child before the world's astonished eyes.

We are beginning today the second stage of the mass battle we have been waging since Sunday, December 5. It has been and still is a battle of ideas, of national and international public opinion, of legal, ethical and humane principles, between the empire and Cuba, backed by one of the largest and most combative mobilizations ever to take place in our history.

The Revolution has assigned the children of primary and secondary school, the students of middle and higher education and the young manual and intellectual workers of the country the mission to be in the frontline of this great battle waged with the unanimous support of the people.

This new stage of the struggle may be long. Thus, it is required, now more than ever, that a rigorous organization and strict discipline prevail together with intelligent and flexible planning, creativity and the ability to adapt to constantly changing situations. We need to act calmly, with equanimity and sang-froid.

We are confronting a powerful, tenacious and arrogant adversary. The most serious risk is that the naturally militant spirit, human solidarity and justified irritation of our people might overflow the principles of discipline and organization.

Under these circumstances, only those convened by the organizers should be involved in the marches, rallies or functions. It is not at all convenient that 20,000, 100,000, 200,000 people show up where 10,000, 50,000 or 100,000 were expected; in other words, two or three times more than those called upon in each area or sector. In the Fighting People March, 300,000 were supposed to participate, but in the end more than half a million people took part, and they flowed in from everywhere. Thus, our activities could become disorganized and our great strength and energy wasted. We must not exhaust ourselves but rather save that strength and energy, renew them constantly and use them in an orderly fashion when necessary and immediately replace them if need be.

While thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, even millions of us muster up, as on December 9 and 10 when from Thursday afternoon to Friday the same time almost three million people were mobilized –and this is still far from our true potential, since to preserve its forces the City of Havana mobilized barely 10% percent of its potential on the day of the major demonstrations in the provincial capitals-- we must preserve production and services at all costs, with more tenacity and responsibility than ever.

Our action must be qualitatively superior: persuasive and convincing for the international public opinion; surprising, disconcerting, timely and overwhelming for the small but powerful minority within U.S. society that opposes Elián's return.

Our people have a very high political culture; they are united, cohesive and organized. We all belong to one or several organizations, from the children’s (pioneers) organization to the veterans of forty years of revolutionary struggle. We are all trained in combat to a greater or lesser extent. We all share in the revolutionary strength, the patriotism and the noble objectives that bind us together as brothers and sisters. We all have the privilege of a united country. We can and we must act like a huge invincible army.

That is why, fellow countrymen and women, on resuming its arduous combat the Revolution, which has accumulated great experience in more than 40 years of successful confrontation with the strongest power ever to exist, does not simply appeal to us for discipline, but it demands it.

We are asking the Cuban students and youths, who have received the great honor of a place in the frontline and who have acted so brilliantly from the very first moments, to be an example of conscientious and revolutionary discipline in this crucial and heroic struggle that the Revolution demands from everyone to save Elián. He is a small child, a schoolboy, a grandson and a son of all of Cuba; to save him is like saving a symbol of the billions of children that should be educated, fed and given the opportunity of a healthy and dignified life in this world. The enemy, intent on committing a stupid, repugnant and loathsome injustice, will not be able to withstand our morale, our truth and our irrepressible forces in the struggle for this claim backed by justice and they will have no alternative but to return Elián as soon as possible.

Fidel Castro