Boycott Watch  
June 19, 2008
Opinion: Elian Gonzalez - The ultimate consumer rights denial story
Summary: Elian Gonzalez may become the man who will free Cuba.
    Freedom is a constant struggle. Nothing exemplifies this more than the story of Elian Gonzalez, the young boy whose mother gave her life to get her son from Cuba to freedom in the U.S.A., only to have President Clinton take him away from his family here at gunpoint and return him to Cuba to be with his father.

    While every child should be with his parents, U.S. courts have judged many parents to be unfit purely for economic reasons, not to mention that Elian's father did not have custody in Cuba prior to his Elian's mother's death. This week, we saw Elian pledging allegiance to Fidel Castro and his brother Raul. Regardless of the politics and social policies, we can examine this from both consumer and free market standpoints.

    In the U.S., Elian would have grown up where he would have had the choice of which youth group, if any, he would have joined. Elian could have also picked which political philosophy he wished to follow. In Cuba, just as it was in Nazi Germany, there is only one group he could have joined, the same group his friends were in because they too could have only been involved with that one youth group - communism and peer pressure working together.

    Elian Gonzalez is a great example of a consumer who has been denied product choice, which he briefly had in abundance. While in the U.S., Elian must have seen consumer choices first hand, although he was clearly too young to absorb how those choices came about. Nonetheless, Elian saw the differences between the U.S. and Cuba, something few Cubans ever see. Elian both gained and lost his freedom with traumatic acts at an impressionable age, thus he will surely retain those images for life.

    While the staunchest Republicans are complaining about President Clinton and his decision to send Elian to Cuba, they are forgetting one thing - Elian will never forget that his mother sacrificed her life for his freedom, nor will he forget the economic wonders he saw during his brief stay in the U.S.

    Elian Gonzalez is no dummy, and we should not think of him as a mere pawn. As Elian is growing up in Cuba, he constantly faces the choice of either continuing to partake in the communist revolution of Cuba, or becoming a dissident, thus creating serious problems for his family in Cuba. His pledge to the communist revolution, therefore, may have been a sham. Let's face it, kids often do things they don't want to do, especially when they have no choice, but later in life do things their own way. The communists may be playing Elian's game, not the other way around as the communists and most of our own political pundits think.

    The fact is that we should not discount Elian Gonzalez. He may very well be strategizing, and he may ultimately work toward freedom for all Cubans when the right time arrives. Elian is in a unique situation which will allow him to do just that. Historically, the dissidents who rose up to bring freedom to their people have had a traumatic experience at a young age, a single defining moment which both pains and drives them for life. We may have witnessed Elian's moment when the Clinton administration essentially kidnapped him at gun point.

    Ultimately, Elian may never be a friend of the U.S. considering how he was treated under the Clinton administration, and rightfully so, but he may end up being a major force for the liberation of Cuba someday.

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