Staff Editorial — A father’s right

This weekend saw the beginning of the end of the Elian Gonzalez saga, as Immigration and Naturalization Service agents took the child early Saturday morning from the Miami home of his relatives and reunited him with his father.

For five months, the world has been obsessed with a six-year-old boy and the implications of turning him over to his father and communist Cuba. Although the photos of semi-automatic weapons seemingly pointed at a child disturbed many people on either side of this issue, the time to stop fruitless negotiations and make the reunion possible had arrived.

During her tenure, Attorney General Janet Reno has faced many tough decisions. This weekend, she made the right choice. Yes, the armed agents may have initially scared the child, but the photos of him smiling with his father just a few hours later accentuated the need to bring them together.

Lost in the battle between Miami, Washington and Cuba were the rights of a natural father. Juan Miguel Gonzalez waited for months to see his child; his parental rights outweigh those of the Miami relatives. He came to this country to see his son, and the Miami family keeping them apart was not only illegal but immoral as well.

Since early Saturday morning, the news channels have saturated the airwaves with Elian coverage. Overall, the media has learned from past mistakes and has shown the public both sides of the story. In this hectic, braking-news environment, reporters worked to place information into the proper context.

But now Americans must leave the Gonzalez family alone. Father and son are reunited. While the concerns of the relatives, the fishermen who saved the boy and much of the Cuban-American community are valid, Elian’s father has the sole power to determine where his family – and we as a nation – go from here.

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