April 23-24, 2000
volume 11, no. 80
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CATHOLIC PewPOINT editorial for Easter Sunday-Monday, April 23-24, 2000

Reno was right! The Cuban-Americans did have weapons! More power to them!

        First of all, we want to take this opportunity to extend our Easter greetings to all our readers and pray you have had a grace-filled Lent and Holy Week so that you may truly merit the blessings of Eastertide in sharing the joy of Jesus in His glorious Resurrection as we begin the Easter Season during this joyous first week of Eastertide which coincides with the Novena of Divine Mercy leading up to Divine Mercy Sunday next week.

        Unfortunately, there was little mercy in Miami early Saturday morning. This weekend should be one of great joy, hope and new beginnings. For some it is, but for those embroiled in the Elian Gonzalez situation it was a downright nightmare. We're not going to get into the politics of it for both sides have excellent points: Should we support a communist dictator by giving in to his demands and sending an innocent boy back to repressed Cuba? Should anyone stand in the way of a boy being reunited with his birth father? Both are sticky questions, but in the aftermath of what went down in the early dark dawn in "Little Havana" in a section of Miami, Florida, it not only raises more questions but draws an uncanny parallel to an event nearly 2000 years ago.

        While Our Lord's body lay in the sepulchre and Roman guards stood sentinel lest His followers would come and steal the body away and, as the Sanhedrin accused that they would lie that He had risen (cf. Matthew 27: 63-64), half a world away and close to two millenniums later the situation was eerily similar. As some stood watch and many more slept in the still of the night the plot was made to steal away the sleeping body of the central character in this modern passion playing out today in the United States of America. The difference is that the roles were reversed. First, it was not Pilate who ordered the watch but the Cuban-American people who rallied behind the cause of the family in Miami. And it was Caiphas in the person of Attorney General Janet Reno who, like the negotiations and "legal procedure" the Sanhedrin put Christ through, dickered long into the night, then ordered the raid, sending in the "Pharisees" dressed as INS and Border Patrol agents in full battle gear toting heavy artillery to steal away little Elian from his relatives and the fisherman Donato Darymple who saved him on Thanksgiving Day from the clutches of death. This time he couldn't clutch him as the six year-old Cuban child was snatched away and rushed into a waiting van as supporters stood by in shock and surprise, some unaware of the eerie, almost surrealistic events that took place in a matter of minutes. During the early morning melee the leading anti-Castro leader in Miami Raul Sanchez was struck by one of the INS agents, ear bleeding. Does this sound strangely like the Roman centurion whose ear was cut off when the soldiers came for Christ at Gethsemane? But, like Christ, Sanchez prevented others from retaliating in violence by holding back angry protesters as the photos show. While it is understandable they would be incensed and moved to protest vehemently because of the semblance of a "police state" in America, "the land of the free," considering the circumstances and the volatile temperature of the political timebomb ticking in Miami and Washington D.C. the Cuban-American people of Miami armed themselves further with the most powerful weapon they had.

        Reno was asked in a Washington D.C. press conference at the Justice Department a few hours after the "successful raid" why it had to be done in such a manner, why they had to storm the modest, little home in "Little Havana." She responded emotionlessly that they had heard the Cubans had weapons, that there were weapons in the house and they wanted to take the proper precautions. Reno was right! There were weapons in the house. The majority of Cuban people had armed themselves with weapons - men, women, even children - and each carried with them the most powerful weapon on earth...more powerful than any automatic rifle or tear gas cannister the INS agents toted. Reno had reason to be scared for she represents an administration that fears this weapon more than any other.

        The weapon we are referring to is of course Our Lady's Holy Rosary. For weeks, days and hours the devoted Cuban people and others gathered around the home of Lazaro Gonzalez, the boy's uncle, and prayed peacefully. Statues of Our Lord and His Blessed Mother adorned the interior of the home, Rosaries were everywhere. A large crucifix was hung outside the home and it became, basically a "living sepulchered shrine" to pray for a peaceful solution that God's Will be done and that no one be injured. During this past Holy Week the area became a kind of Passion play being played out and, to look at the results today one might think prayers went unanswered. But that was what Mary Magdalen first thought when she arrived at the tomb and found it vacant (cf. Matthew 28: 1-6, Mark 16: 1-6, Luke 24: 1-7, and John 20: 1-2), but through the assuaging reaffirmation of the angel, she was filled with renewed hope and conveyed that same enthusiasm to the Apostles and the other women.

        So also a few modern believers, who were upset at the way this "passion play" played out, are expressing hope. One of those is a man we have known for nearly ten years. He is Agustine Costa, a devoted follower of Our Blessed Mother and her Divine Son and an outstanding Catholic citizen who is also a popular radio announcer for a Cuban station in Miami. He has urged his fellow Cuban-Americans to exercise caution and peaceful prayer despite the fact the boy has been taken. The Clinton administration may have won the battle but not the war according to Agustine. He has said he is confident the people will not resort to violence but at the same time will not sit still. Just as the Justice Department's actions were questionable but within the law, so also he believes the 800,000 strong Cuban-Americans of Miami and many others will stay within the legal confines but do everything in their power to have the boy returned. That may not happen until the Federal Court of Appeals makes a final decision and then only if the ruling is favorable to the family that has protected Elian since his rescue in the Atlantic in November. He hinted that plans are underfoot to legally shut down Miami through work stoppage at crucial locations such as the airport and other hubs of communication, transportation and commerce. Regardless of what develops from this unfortunate set of circumstances, we can only hope and pray all sides will remain calm and sensible.

        But that may not happen for the Cuban-American Catholics feel betrayed just as Jesus was by Judas for Elian was taken during a time that many Cuban-American Catholics trusted that an Easter truce would be observed in the spirit of the season. It was not and they blame Reno, who fears the religious zeal of these people who she has long despised as a native Miamian herself. This is documented in her rise to power. Like satan, she laughs exteriorly at the Rosary-carrying Cubans and Catholics, while interiorily she cringes. Truly the end does not always justify the means and for both she and Bill Clinton it is not about the welfare of a little boy; it is not about what's best for children and that mantra is sickenly hypocritical. If they were sincere, they would take a serious look at abortion and the horrors of this modern-day holocaust. No, it is politics at anyone's expense, including this little boy who has become a political football to be kicked around. We all need to pray for healing on all sides and for Clinton, Reno and those in the Clinton administration, many of whom are badly in need of grace, as Our Lord said in Matthew 23: 27, ": "Woe to you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because you are like whited sepulchres, which outwardly appear to men beautiful, but within are full of dead men's bones and of all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear just to men, but within you are full of hyprocisy and iniquity."

        The way to combat Reno and Clinton's pomposity, the way to offset the kind of legal system that makes it "legal" to kill millions of lives annually through the holocaust of abortion, the way to call down Divine Mercy upon a sinful world, the way to assure that Mary's Immaculate Heart will triumph is to take up the very same weapon the Cuban-Americans have been using - the Rosary - and use it at every opportunity we can. Yes, Reno was right! The Cuban-Americans did have weapons! More power to them!

Michael Cain, editor

For previous editorials this year, go to PAST CATHOLIC PewPOINTS

April 23-24, 2000
volume 11, no. 80

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