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CUBA IS UNIQUE | 2000-04-08

On the issue of returning Elian Gonzalez to his father in Cuba, both liberals and conservatives have been making comparisons that are not applicable. Leftists point to examples where the United States has returned children to Syria, for example. They say Cuba is the same thing.

But mostly, of course, liberals are playing the race card. They are saying returning immigrants to Jamaica or Haiti is the same as this case in Cuba.

Conservatives who are against returning him to Cuba talk about children in dictatorships and oppressive regimes in general.

To my surprise, one conservative actually had the guts to ask a black congresswoman who was demanding the boy be returned whether she would ask the same thing if the child had been a black refugee from South Africa in the days of apartheid. She looked him straight in the eye and lied that she would.

But even that is not fair to oppressive regimes in general. There was no blockade to keep the general population inside Franco's Spain or South Africa. No rightist regime ever built a wall with machine gun towers to keep its people in, as ALL Communist regimes must.

Certainly no black mother ever died getting her child out of South Africa under apartheid. Blacks were free to leave. Their only major problem with black population movement was the massive flow of blacks INTO South Africa.

Castro announced that if all of the twenty-something people he wanted to come to the United States were not allowed in, he wouldn't allow any of them to come. He withdrew that comment, but it was a good reminder that you only get out of Cuba with special permission.

So after that, on CNN's Crossfire, a black congresswoman said Elian should go back to Cuba and decide to leave at thirteen or so if he wanted to. The pet conservative on the show just sat there silent. This proved once again that she has the room temperature IQ that is required to be a respectable conservative.