News Accounts about these
Freakin' Losers from "Cooba"
(unabridged text follows)
Fame Ho'in' Fishaman Rides the
Gravy Train and Nuckas Up!
Haitian Girl (Prolly Black)
Dun Get Elian Gravy Express, Yo
Cubanos Sack Pig
A Fucked Up Family
from a Fucked People
in a Fucked Up City
Salon.com, April 28th, 2000
El Pescador speaks
The supporting players in the drama talk of love, licking and Kato Kaelin.
By Daryl Lindsey
Thursday's best Elián sound bites come from a damning profile of supporting cast member Donato Dalrymple in the Washington Post. It's hard to dismiss it as a hit piece, since El Pescador, as the fisherman turned housecleaner is now known, did a fine job of pointing out his own shortcomings himself.
"Did you know Elián liked to lick my face?" Dalrymple asked reporter Michael Leahy in his Georgetown hotel room, while showing off the clothes he had just bought at Banana Republic for an appearance on "Rivera Live." Apparently Elián was given to imitating the big cats in "The Lion King," who like to lick the faces of the people they admire. "You know, I've never felt important in my life. But I felt like the most important man in the world that night," the cleaner told Leahy.
With his commentary flowing freer than booze in a Vegas casino, Dalrymple also revealed that cousin Marisleysis admitted (privately, at least) that the reunion photo between Elián and his father was probably the real McCoy. Catching his slip, Dalrymple backpedaled: "God, I really hope the family doesn't flag me for talking about this and get annoyed."
One person annoyed at Dalrymple is his cousin, Sam Ciancio, who helped him rescue the boy Thanksgiving Day. Ciancio claims Dalrymple believed Elián should be returned to his father until the Miami relatives and their handlers got to him, and he dismisses his cousin as "a phony, a liar, a Kato Kaelin type -- a desperate man looking for publicity." Ouch.
A close runner-up for Elián quote of the day is this snippet from the psychiatrist's report on the boy filed in court by the federal government. "His feelings for Marisleysis are similar to the romantic feelings of a schoolboy for his teacher or a wished-for girlfriend," Dr. Paulina Kernberg wrote. So much for the government's commitment to protect the boy's privacy now that he's holed up at the Wye plantation with his father.
* * *
San Jose Mercury News, April 27, 2000
Tale of 2 refugees: 1 Cuban, 1 Haitian
Sophonie is just like Elián, so why isn't she a cause célèbre?
BY CHRISTINE EVANS
Cox News Service
LAKE PARK, Fla. -- She is so small, just 6, like Elián. When she smiles, perhaps at a bowl of strawberry ice cream, you see she is missing two front teeth. In kindergarten, at Lake Park Elementary, she is just beginning to read. Her teachers are especially proud because when the school year began she couldn't speak a word in English. She loves pink. On Sundays, she puts on a frilly dress and goes to church.
Just like Elián, she came from a tiny island country, a place so riven by politics and poverty that people risk everything to flee. Just like Elián, she had a determined mother who packed her up and sneaked her through America's back door. And then her mother slipped away and died, just like Elián's.
No legal standing
Now, like Elián, she is here but not here. She has no legal standing in the United States. No residency papers. No health insurance. No plain and proper place.
She got her picture in the paper once, after Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., filed a bill on her behalf, but the story did not make the front page. That place, especially now, is reserved for Elián González, the little boy from Cuba, not for Sophonie Telcy, who came from Haiti.
Ti gason, the boy -- that is what the people in Sophonie's world call Elián, who was rescued at sea on Thanksgiving and turned instantly into a cause célèbre, from the moment he touched land until Saturday morning, when federal agents whisked him away to be reunited with his Cuban father. The people in Sophonie's world hear about Elián on TV. They hear about Sophonie, too, but only when the radio broadcasts in Creole. Then, yes, people talk in quick Creole gossip: What about Sophonie? What will happen to her? The little girl from Haiti?
"Ohhh, I do not know," Henry Smith said last week as he settled into the plump white sofa in his new Lake Park home, a place big enough for his three children, wife Jeanine and now Sophonie
He is not Sophonie's dad. Nobody is sure where her father is. Smith is her caretaker, the man who said yes when her mother, Sana Romelus, came to his door one Sunday morning a year ago holding Sophonie's hand.
"Will you take Sophonie for me?" she said. She was ill and had to return to Haiti, where she would last just a short time, he later learned, before dying. And so, Smith said yes. He would take Sophonie.
Smith tells this story patiently, in the careful English he has acquired since his arrival here from Haiti in 1994, and he will tell it again and again to anybody who will listen.
"Why do the Cuban people have more favor than the Haiti people?" the man who cares for her says. "Because people are people. If Cuban people are allowed to stay, then Haitian people should be, too. Every day you see Elián on the TV. I think it is good for the little boy because everybody likes him and wants to help him. But I say: Here is Sophonie, a little girl from Haiti. She is here now. And she does not have a mother, just as Elián does not have his. I think surely somebody is going to help her now. Don't you think?"
But he seems more worried than convinced.
Sophonie Telcy -- motherless, adrift, in the eyes of the law an illegal immigrant -- is not Elián González, and everybody knows it.
She is just Sophonie. She sings in the children's choir at church. She has a blue Cookie Monster. She wants to be a doctor someday.
It is hard to find a speck of resentment about Elián in the Haitian neighborhoods that dot South Florida. Ti gason, the boy -- God help him, everybody says.
But what, they ask, about Sophonie?
Why all this attention for a Cuban boy and not a Haitian girl? Why is it easier for Cubans to settle here? Is it fair that the Cuban Adjustment Act of 1966 grants them special status? If you are Cuban and here in the United States for a year and a day, and if you have seen the people at the immigration office, you are virtually guaranteed permanent residency. Not so for Haitians. If you are Haitian, you are virtually guaranteed to be sent home.
On April 4, Hastings put the feelings down on paper when he filed a House bill "for the relief of Sophonie Telcy."
He modeled it, precisely and purposefully, after one of the bills filed on Elián's behalf. It is only a few paragraphs long. It asks that Sophonie Telcy be granted permanent residency in the United States.
In the accompanying news release, Hastings spoke plainly about the "patently disparate treatment of refugees from different countries."
And then he zipped about, talking up Sophonie's case on every talk show that would have him.
So here is Hastings, who represents about 40,000 Haitians in his district. And here is Sophonie, who last week in school drew a picture of a robot with pink and orange hair, oblivious to her symbolic role in U.S. immigration affairs. Everybody knows how Elián got to be famous.
But how did Sophonie get to be almost-famous?
As is so often the case in Haitian immigrant matters, the Creole airwaves were involved. Somebody from Hastings' office spoke with Daniella Henry, executive director of the Haitian American Community Council in Delray Beach, Fla. She went on a Creole radio station, WHSR-AM, to inquire for the congressman whether anybody knew of a young Haitian child orphaned or abandoned in the United States without the proper residency documents.
About 60 seconds went by. "Then my office filled with calls," Henry says. So did the congressman's. One call came from Smith, who just happened to be listening to the radio when Henry came on with her plea to find a Haitian Elián.
Smith and his wife have not been in this country so long themselves. The taste of struggle is still in their mouths. Six years ago, they were aboard a refugee boat from Haiti that was intercepted by the Coast Guard. They were rerouted to the U.S. naval base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, where they told their story of political persecution -- Smith had supported ousted President Jean-Bertrand Aristide and was now in danger -- and won asylum. They moved to south Florida, built a life, had children, found jobs.
This was the Smith family history, so when Henry Smith heard the radio, he remembered Haiti and he remembered his voyage and he remembered his promise to Sophonie's mother.
He called Hastings' office.
"I have Sophonie.
"Can you help her?"
The congressman sent an aide to Lake Park. He took down the story: How Sophonie's mom brought her young daughter illegally to the United States in the late 1990s. How her mother had a terrible pain in her stomach but no medical insurance. How she decided to return to Haiti last spring to see a doctor, but first asked Smith, an old friend from church in Port-au-Prince, to take care of Sophonie. How she died in Haiti, and when Smith heard, he sent for her death certificate.
House bill introduced
Soon after Hastings heard this story, he introduced the name Sophonie Telcy to the U.S. public via House Resolution 4179, which was referred to the Committee on Judiciary in the 106th Congress.
And Sophonie got her picture in the paper. She looked beautiful with two little braids that stuck straight up.
But the bill to grant her residency doesn't stand much of a chance. Few private bills do. And up in Washington, Sophonie is not exactly a name on everybody's lips.
* * *
New York Times, April 29th, 2000
Police Chief in Miami Quits in Fallout Over Raid
by Rick Bragg
MIAMI, April 28 -- Saying he could no longer work for a divisive mayor in a city that needed to heal, the police chief, William O'Brien, tearfully resigned today, and became the latest casualty of Cuban-American anger over the federal government's raid to seize 6-year-old Elián González.
The chief's resignation came a day after the city manager, Donald H. Warshaw, had refused to fire him and was himself fired by Mayor Joe Carollo.
The Cuban-born Mr. Carollo has been furious at Chief O'Brien, who learned of the raid to remove the boy from the home of his great-uncle Lázaro González an hour beforehand but did not alert the mayor.
Mr. Carollo had publicly sided with Elián's Miami relatives against the federal government's decision to reunite the boy with his father, so federal agents, afraid of alerting the family, had ordered Mr. O'Brien not to tell anyone.
"I was bound by law, but even if there wasn't a law, there was no way I would have let him know about it," said Chief O'Brien, as he announced what many residents saw as a troubling development in an already divided city.
"If word had gotten out," he said, "there would have been a confrontation astronomically greater than there was, putting not only the law enforcement personnel at risk but the people in the house at risk, the child himself, the demonstrators, and even the media who were out at the scene."
As Cuban-Americans here planned a demonstration on Saturday, continuing to protest the government's decision to remove the boy, many Miami residents accused Mr. Carollo of ignoring the broader interests of this ethnically diverse city to prove his allegiance to Cuban exiles.
Some radio stations in Miami began to talk about counterdemonstrations to protest weeks of anti-American sentiment.
Mr. Carollo answered his critics today by saying he had been forced to make hard decisions for the good of the city.
"Never has any Miami mayor shown the leadership this mayor has shown" in a time of crisis, he said.
On Thursday, Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida urged Mr. Carollo to be cautious. "I asked the mayor to be reflective rather than reactive," Mr. Bush said.
Today, the governor, who has strong support among Cuban-Americans, had no comment on the chief's resignation. But, a spokeswoman said the governor continued to hope the city could begin healing.
But healing may be difficult in a city that, experts on Miami government said, seemed to be spiraling deeper into turmoil.
"This is chaotic," said Jim Corey, a political science professor at the University of Miami, who saw the city manager's firing and police chief's resignation as part of an ever widening gap in Miami's social fabric, and proof that Mr. Carollo is ignoring all interests beyond those of Cuban-Americans.
"It makes Miami truly look like a banana republic," Mr. Corey said. "People are disgusted by what's going on in Miami."
Cuban exiles applauded the mayor and said good riddance to both Chief O'Brien, a 25-year veteran of Miami law enforcement, and Mr. Warshaw, who had been credited with the city's gradual financial turnaround after years of corruption and mismanagement.
Mr. Carollo had been angered not only by the snub by federal officials and his own police chief, but by the fact that Maj. John Brooks of the Miami police had accompanied federal agents on the raid -- though taking no active role -- after the mayor repeatedly said the police would not assist.
In announcing the firing of Mr. Warshaw on Thursday, Mr. Carollo said the decision had nothing to do with Elián and had been prompted by what he called financial and administrative mismanagement.
The mayor also said Mr. Warshaw had been trying to turn city department supervisors against him.
"They picked the wrong mayor to take on," said Mr. Carollo, who added that he had placed Mr. Warshaw on probation on March 17.
Chief O'Brien, he said, was the police chief in name only, deferring police decisions to Mr. Warshaw, a former Miami chief of police who was appointed city manager by Mr. Carollo.
The two men gave police officers a "green light" to attack demonstrators, Mr. Carollo said.
The city manager was fired shortly after more than 100 people had gathered at Miami's City Hall to denounce the way the police had responded to protesters after Elián was taken.
More than 300 protesters, who clashed with the police and burned trash bins and tires in the streets, had been arrested. Both demonstrators and police had been injured.
"People were beaten on sidewalks," said Alfred Sklar, one of the many people who spoke out on Thursday against the police response to protesters, and signed a petition that called for the removal of Chief O'Brien and Mr. Warshaw.
"This is not an easy thing for me to do," Mr. Carollo said after firing Mr. Warshaw at a city commission meeting. "I have always put the city first."
The comments made many residents wince at what they regarded as a transparent attempt to cover up the real reasons for the action.
"I refuse to be the chief of police in a city that has someone as divisive and destructive as Joe Carollo as mayor," Chief O'Brien said.
Mr. Warshaw said Chief O'Brien did not resign to try to placate Mr. Carollo. "He's not leaving to save my job," Mr. Warshaw said.
"It's a tragic loss for all of us, for the whole city," he said. "It sends a terrible message."
Miami's city commission has five members -- three of them are Cuban-Americans -- and could, in a meeting next week, vote to overrule the mayor, and reinstate Mr. Warshaw. But that was considered unlikely.
None of the Cuban-American commissioners answered requests for comment. Cuban-Americans make up about 60 percent of the voters in Miami.
City Commissioner Johnny Winton, who supported Chief O'Brien and Mr. Warshaw, said it was clear that Mr. Carollo fired the city manager in direct response to the raid.
"Sad," Mr. Winton said. "Our city is in a major crisis, and the political leadership in this community has not been willing to stand up and appropriately direct the understandable rage and pain that is being suffered by Cuban-Americans. We have actions being taken that stoke those fires. We're turning on ourselves."
Some Miami residents responded angrily to what they saw as a virtual coup of top city officials.
The Rev. Richard Bennett Jr., executive director of the African-American Council of Christian Clergy in Miami, called it "a disgrace."
"He doesn't observe anybody's rights except the Cuban-Americans," Mr. Bennett said of Mr. Carollo.
In Washington today, Senator Orrin G. Hatch, Republican of Utah and chairman of the Judiciary Committee, announced that he would postpone Wednesday's hearing into the raid.
Mr. Hatch decided to delay the hearing after Justice Department officials said they could not meet today's deadline for turning over documents, and requested more time.
"It is hoped that a hearing date can be scheduled in the coming weeks," Mr. Hatch said.
The hearings would focus on the use of force during the raid and whether it was necessary and legal. Mr. Hatch has requested all documents related to the Justice Department's surveillance of the home, the search and arrest warrants, the decision to enter the home and how it was entered, and the rules of engagement.
"We've got to have these documents before we have a meaningful hearing," said a spokeswoman for the committee, Jeanne Lopatto.
In Miami, the police made plans for what they hoped would be a peaceful demonstration on Saturday in Little Havana, where thousands are expected to gather.
Chief O'Brien, who planned to stay until a successor was named, said he would work to keep Saturday's demonstration safe.
"I know there's incredible anger and frustration in the exile community," Chief O'Brien said. "I want to tell you, if you're looking for a focal point for that frustration, here it is. I gave the orders," he said, of his officers' reaction to last week's demonstrations.
"The community has to heal, the community has to put this behind them."
* * *
Salon.com, April 8, 2000
All in Elián's family
The media is holding back on the shady past of the young Cuban refugee's Miami relatives.
by Myra MacPhereson
As Elián's odyssey is spun from one insane moment to another by the national media, a majority of angered Miamians, including moderate Cuban-Americans, wonder why pandering national politicians and the media duck the unsavory side of this saga.
Instead, they report reverentially the words of extremist self-appointed Cuban-American exile leaders, no matter how inflammatory and distorted. In the meantime, Elián's Cuban-American relatives are depicted as loving caretakers for stridently disobeying American law and, in effect, kidnapping the child.
When a family lawyer, for example, vowed that Elián's father and the United States government would "rip Elián from the loving arms of his cousin" most of the press did not question anything about the 22-year-old Marisleysis González, nicknamed his "surrogate mother." The vision of González being taken out on a stretcher, oxygen mask to her face, has become a staple of TV news. Six times since Elián's arrival four months ago, she has been hospitalized for a "nervous stomach" or "emotional anxiety," and just as quickly released. Even last summer, when Elián was an unknown child in Cuba, she collapsed and was admitted to a hospital -- which does not square with the reason her family has given for the episodes, her fear that Elián will be returned to Cuba.
One can certainly sympathize with any emotional problems she may have, and she is no doubt a loving relative, but one has to question what kind of emotional stability she can possibly provide for her 6-year-old charge. Friends have been quoted as saying that she leads the brainwashing brigade, never missing a chance to underscore what a bad life Elián would have in Cuba. And she apparently has scant sensitivity for the emotional well-being of a frightened little boy by letting him watch on TV the scary mess unfolding around him, including rabble-rousers who push through barricades, screaming their "pray for Elián," mantra in front of the family's tiny house in Little Havana.
"Every time he hears that they might pick him up," González recounts with a tear in her eye, "he looks at me with open eyes and asks, 'Why are they doing this, when my mom is the one who brought me here?'"
Because family members are ever so accessible and always on camera -- orchestrated by a public-relations man known in Miami for running dirty political campaigns -- the media takes the easy way out and avoids digging. Only after the national press reported their assertions that Elián's father was abusive, for example, did the family admit that they had no proof. The latest propaganda coup was the dramatic exhortation of the surrogate mother who spoke like a Barbara Walters pro when she demanded of a TV crew "I want to go live!" to attack the INS, just hours before she was hospitalized again. Marisleysis' background is important to report because she is a heavy player in the fight; family lawyers stopped negotiations during her latest hospital episode.
To their credit, however, the González family has turned down numerous monetary requests to get the "inside" story, but they have done little to protect him from the terrifying glare of publicity, including providing photo-ops of his bedroom.
In what passes for news these days on television, we can always count on Chris Matthews and his appetite for the inflammatory and selective. This time he interviewed the locals from a nice "neutral" place for his show "Hardball," a cafe in Little Havana. And Diane Sawyer's three-part series depicted the Miami relatives sympathetically, with little regard to their rough history. It has been so well buried, in fact, that many people in other parts of the country are astounded when they learn of it.
So what kind of Miami relatives surround Elián? Both of his two great uncles, including Lazaro who seeks custody of Elián, have two DUIs with inebriation levels that shot through the roof. (This fact has received only brief mention in the national press and appeared in only five stories out of scores on the Elián case in the Miami Herald. The Herald, more often a cheerleader than a fact finder when it comes to Cuban-Americans, was in the embarrassing position of having to attribute this story to the New York Times.)
The blood level of Elián's 49-year-old great uncle, Lazaro, was at more than twice the legal limit when he was arrested for drunken driving in 1993, after police spotted him swerving between lanes. Officers noted that he "had extreme poor balance, red, glossy bloodshot eyes [and] slurred speech [and he] was in a total daze" when next arrested in 1997. (A previous conviction came in 1991, but court records for DUIs are no longer available dating back that far.)
His brother, Delfin, a frequent visitor to the house of Elián and a major player in the custody battle, was so drunk that he was arrested driving the wrong way in traffic on a main thoroughfare, resulting in one of his two convictions. Brenda Shapiro, who has served as a juvenile guardian in numerous family custody disputes, stressed that Lazaro's drunken-driving convictions should give one pause in a custody battle. If she were the attorneys for Elián's father, she said, "I would make it clear that I wouldn't want my child riding with him."
Twin cousins who used to visit Elián disappeared from the photo-ops after it was revealed by the Miami New Times that, at the age of 32, both men have multiple felony arrests. Cid, the son of Lazaro's sister, faded from sight when it became known that he was awaiting trial for allegedly assaulting a tourist last fall. Cid was arrested hiding under a car next to two gold necklaces he had allegedly ripped from the neck of a tourist after hitting him over the head while an accomplice held his arms. Throughout the '90s he was in trouble with the law. Cid was arrested on felony charges of carrying a concealed weapon and violently resisting arrest and later on felony firearms and prowling charges. In 1994, his ex-wife sought a permanent injunction against him alleging domestic violence and sued him for child support a year later. His brother, Jose, was arrested at least five times in four years on felony charges including burglary, grand theft and robbery and another time on charges of petty larceny.
The family's spokesman, Gutierrez, kissed off the cousins' extensive criminal records by saying "everybody has somebody in their family who was a troublemaker." So much for the man who is seen hovering over Elián, coaching him to raise his fingers in a V for victory sign when the cameras roll.
The pandering pilgrimage of local and national politicians (many of whom have accepted contributions from the Cuban American National Foundation, the lead organization of the Elián battle) has increased weekly. Now, Vice President Al Gore has sunk to a dismal low by waffling on what should be an absolute. Most Democratic leaders in Florida feel there are not enough votes from the extreme exile community, who dominate the Elián fiasco but by no means control all of the 800,000 Cuban-Americans in Dade County, to make the risk of evoking animus in Gore's hardcore base of white, non-Hispanics statewide worthwhile.
If he were from any other country, Elián would have been sent home to his only surviving parent on the fastest jet possible last November. Instead, Elián has been made the poster boy for religious fanatics who claim that he was a miracle brought to them from the waters -- a young Moses or Jesus borne to them from an evil land. Reports of the family seeing the Virgin Mary in their mirrors -- as well as the Virgin of Guadalupe -- have spread like brush fire.
As for the rest of Miami whose views seldom get reported, including the many Cuban-Americans who abhor the tactics of far-right Cubans, the buzz echoes the majority of Americans: "The boy should go back to his father." From cabdrivers, bus drivers and maids to doctors, lawyers and businessmen, they register disgust with the handling of this case. You hear it from struggling Honduran-American maids and you hear it from rich Cuban-American businessmen. Democrats are furious at Gore, as much for what they see as his political stupidity as for his pandering. Most Democratic leaders in Florida feel there are not enough votes or campaign contributions for even the most cynical Democratic hopeful to sacrifice principle.
This is a polyglot city and county made up of African-Americans, non-Hispanic whites, Haitians and people from all parts of Latin America. This is a state filled with anger at the way some elements of the Cuban-American community have flouted laws and disregarded the First Amendment from the moment they received the amazing perk of being able to pass citizenship tests in Spanish. They were certainly the major beneficiaries of U.S. Cold War policies.
The schism has never been deeper between right-wing Cuban-Americans and the rest of Miami (which includes moderate Cubans), and the repercussions may be lasting. A young Cuban-American businessman voiced a concern expressed by many that the image of Miami is now so bad that corporations won't locate here.
The actions of a fanatic few are nothing new for Miamians. Take, for example, a benighted and financially ruinous local statute that prohibits Cuba from profiting from any transactions here.
Last fall, 3,000 Miamians, including many Cuban-Americans, attending a concert with Cuban musicians had to run a gantlet of protestors, who spit at them and hurled rocks, bottles and obscenities. The first site for the concert pulled out after a bomb was thrown at a restaurant run by the concert promoter. Bowing to that kind of pressure, the city lost a chance to host the Latin American Grammy Awards.
And just this February, the city threatened to cancel a large grant to the Miami Film Festival because it included a film made in Cuba, which was, ironically, critical of Castro. In the '80s, a bomb was thrown through an art museum here because it included art by Cuban painters. In the '70s, it was worse: People had their houses bombed and legs blown off by car bombs for suggesting even a dialogue with Castro.
Now, with the most hysterical protestors vowing death before allowing Elián to return to Cuba, it's no wonder the boy's father is wary of traveling to Miami to pick up his son.
As the world sees a defiant Miami-Dade County Mayor Alex Panelas saying he would not help out the feds if they came to take Elián away and other Florida politicians in supplication to the protestors, this is not an unreasonable concern. (Indeed, as this story was edited Friday afternoon, I stood by with other fuming passengers who missed their flights because the police blocked lanes into the Miami airport in expectation of a protest that was, in the end, called off.)
While the fate of Elián is the volcanic sensation of the moment, there is déjà vu for Miamians. Cuban-American politicians have soothed the protestors and allowed them to snarl traffic with their
human barricades in the past as well.
And for the child at the center of this heartbreaking saga, there can be nothing but hope that it ends soon and with as little added turmoil as possible. The extent of damage to him may never be known.
(The Cavortin' Bastard and Crew, and No Apologies! Press, don't make no claim to this here material other than to cite its newsworthiness . As it was previously posted for public viewing, we's all feel it's all good to provide the text in an unedited form and all)