The
Fatherhood Coalition

For Immediate Release

Elián's Miami relatives: Kidnappers

Attorney General must end the debacle and immediately reunite Elián and father


BOSTON, April 15 – CPF/The Fatherhood Coalition again voices it criticism of this government's handling of the Elian Gonzalez situation. Now, we direct our criticism to the boy's relatives in Miami who have essentially kidnapped him, and at the hypocrisy of those public figures who support their efforts to keep Elian from his father.


"Parental rights are recognized across international borders. To justify keeping Elian here on such grounds promotes international lawlessness and invites anarchy. Using such reasoning, any nation that considers itself morally superior to another could justify the forcible kidnapping of children."

-Coalition Spokesman
Mark Charalambous


As we have consistently asserted: There is no legitimate "custody battle." There is no gray area. Elian belongs with his father.

US politicians pander, but the public recognizes father's rights

According to all public opinion polls, including those taken in Florida, most Americans agree that Elian should be reunited with his father and returned to Cuba. However, besides the relatives in Miami and their supporters, several politicians including the Miami Mayor claim that because of the relative merits of the United States versus Cuba, we are justified in keeping Elian here.

According to Coalition Spokesman Mark Charalambous:

"Parental rights are recognized across international borders. To justify keeping Elian here on such grounds promotes international lawlessness and invites anarchy. Using such reasoning, any nation that considers itself morally superior to another could justify the forcible kidnapping of children."

Charalambous continues: "Vice-President Gore and each of the former six Republican presidential hopefuls opposed immediate reunification and the primacy of Elian's father's parental rights. Apparently, American politicians perceive no political capital in supporting a father's inalienable rights to his children. This is a testament to how far we have come along the road to marginalizing fatherhood in this country."

Miami relatives are guilty of kidnapping and child abuse

In keeping Elian from his father in defiance of the U.S. Justice Department, Attorney General Janet Reno and the INS, the Miami relatives are not only breaking the law, they are engaging in a very real form of child abuse. Parading Elian in front of television camera's and throngs of Cuban-American supporters, and videotaping him expressing his desire to stay are all actions that would not be tolerated in any custody battle.

According to Coalition co-chairman Ray Saulnier:

"If this was a case involving an American couple over custody, the child would have long since been removed from the Florida home by the Department of Social Services based on the 'abuse' of parading this six-year old in front of those who rally in front of his house at midnight."

In his own custody case, Saulnier experienced false allegations of abuse, the brainwashing of minor children, and the zealousness of Massachusetts Department of Social Services (DSS).

While acknowledging the extreme trauma Elian has experienced since he was pulled from an inner tube in the Florida Straits in November, Saulnier objects to the hypocrisy in arguing that forcibly removing Elian from his Miami relatives will cause irreparable harm:

"To suggest that the removal of this child, by forced intervention, would result in permanent harm to the child flies in the face of the actions of social services pulling children out of homes on a daily basis. If this argument has any merit, we can look forward to the elimination of the police state under which DSS pulls children from the arms of loving parent due to some unsupported claims. They do this regularly, especially in Florida where Human Services may be even worse than our DSS system."

Why Miami relatives want to get case into state family court

The goal of Elian's Miami relatives is to get the case into Florida's family courts. Once there, professional court child "experts" can be called on to denigrate the quality of Juan Miguel Gonzalez's parenting, and make a case that the "best interest of the child" mandate keeping Elian in the U.S.

The Fatherhood Coalition is intimately familiar with the ease by which family courts forcibly separate children from loving parents¾ overwhelmingly fathers. By the time such a custody battle is finally played out, Elian would be psychologically disenfranchised from his father. This is known as "Parental Alienation Syndrome". Young children must identify with their adult authority figures for their own psychological survival. After enduring the ultimate trauma of losing his mother in such catastrophic circumstances, Elian is being further traumatized by being alienated from his father.

Even if a family court were to decide that Elian belongs with his father, it could determine that reunification with the father would be additionally traumatic for Elian, and order a plan of slow reintegration. This would bring into play the plethora of family services, social workers, supervised visitation programs, miscellaneous lawyers and other machinery that profit from broken families.

Coalition spokesman Charalambous concludes: "The Miami relatives know very well that once in family court it will be easy to discredit Juan Miguel Gonzalez's fitness as a parent and override his parental rights. After all, that's what family courts do every day of the week."

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For further information, contact:

Mark Charalambous

CPF Spokesman

brontis@ziplink.net

John Flaherty

CPF Co-Chairman

jmflaherty@aol.com

(978) 840-0268

(508) 478-7529

CPF - The Fatherhood Coalition
617-723-DADS

A non-profit, all volunteer organization of men and women advocating for fatherhood since 1994


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