Jun 1 2000

The Elian Saga

An Oral History

Elian Gonzalez with cameraThe Perfect Solution

Time: Where Does He Belong?Cokie Roberts: I have finally decided exactly what I want to have happen with Elián González. I would like him and his cousin, Marisleysis, to come live with me and get away from all of these crazy politicians on both sides. She is clearly the person who cares about him….

Sam Donaldson: What about that little thing called “the law”?

Cokie Roberts: The immigration laws are bent every single day of the week in this country.

(ABC‘s This Week, 4/2/00)

Castro: A Personal View

“Well, I don’t care if the guy ends up like Mussolini, hanging by a meat hook. I don’t care–or his girlfriends, or everything else going on over there. I don’t care.”

–Chris Matthews (CNBC‘s Hardball, 1/11/00)

“I just want to say a personal view of Fidel Castro, not because I’m in this community, but because I’ve said this so many times on the show, that the firing squads that that man carried out in 1959 against his own people that disagreed with him, hundreds and hundreds of people shot down in firing squads, would be nothing compared to what would have happened if he had won the Cold War, if he had gotten here. OK?”

–Chris Matthews (Hardball, 4/3/00)

Opiate of the People

“If and when Elián returns, he will become a four-foot-tall deity in a country that officially does not believe in God.”

–Jim Avila (NBC Nightly News, 4/4/00)

How Rumors Get Started

“I know you met with the father and were impressed, but do you feel that he’s really free? His parents have apparently been put in some compound where they’re being watched by the government.”

–Cokie Roberts, interviewing Janet Reno (This Week, 4/9/00)

“Further, in an interview with Attorney General Janet Reno Sunday, ABC‘s Cokie Roberts reported that Mr. González’s own parents were now “apparently” being held in a government compound themselves. Miss Reno did not bother to dispute this remarkable piece of news.”

Washington Times editorial (4/10/00)

“He is here with his new baby and his new wife, but his mother back in Havana has been moved to a secure government building…. How can you explain to me how he can freely be making decisions when his mother is in a secure government building, when his father is back in Havana?”

–Mary Matalin, interviewing Rep. Barney Frank (CNN’s Crossfire, 4/13/00)

“And finally, the Factor has been told by high-level sources that Fidel Castro is taking no chances about Juan Miguel González defecting with Elián. Castro has now removed González’s elderly mother from her home in Cuba and has her in custody.”

–Bill O’Reilly (Fox News’ O’Reilly Factor, 4/25/00)

(Juan Miguel González’s parents were interviewed on NBC News on April 24–in their home, not in a secure government compound.)

The Peaceful Household

Newsweek: Seizing Elian“Listen, you’ve got a situation here, and this is the beauty of all this. This is where the community, by rising in such large numbers, have put fear in the heart of Al Gore. You see Al Gore’s scared to death about the potential showdown that may take place here. I mean, if the INS comes in and tries to rip this boy out of that home, they’re not getting out of there alive. And that’s the power that these people have. And there’s gonna be a showdown.”

–Sean Hannity (WABC‘s Sean Hannity Show, 3/31/00)

“We will not turn this child over…. They will have to take this child from me by force.”

–Lazaro González (Boston Globe, 4/14/00)

“You think we just have cameras in the house? If people try to come in, they could be hurt.”

–Marisleysis González (Miami Herald, 4/24/00)

“The INS was always free to come to this peaceful American household and ask for him back.”

–George Will (This Week, 4/24/00)

Responsible Journalism

“Well, you hear reports–we don’t know if they’re true– that this is a very tough, angry guy. And he may be an abusive father. Maybe, we don’t know.”

–Presidential candidate Pat Buchanan on Juan Miguel González (O’Reilly Factor, 4/4/00)

“By that time, he will have been brainwashed. I think the process has already begun. I saw a little band-aid. I think the drugging has already begun.”

–Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart on Elián González (CNN‘s Evans, Novak, Hunt & Shields, 4/22/00)

“Why did he do this thing?… Was it fear of Fidel Castro?… Was it another threat from Havana?… Was Mr. Clinton being blackmailed?… Is it irresponsible to speculate? It would be irresponsible not to.”

–Peggy Noonan on Bill Clinton (Wall Street Journal, 4/24/00)

Missing The Truman Show

“The best evidence that Marisleysis and Lazaro and Donato were loving is–every day we got to see the boy.”

–Sean Hannity (Fox NewsHannity and Colmes, 4/24/00)