Gonzalez is a 6-year-old boy who set sail from Cuba
with his mother, stepfather, and 10 others
in hopes of making it to America.
Like others before them, their goal was to secure the rights and
freedoms guaranteed by the American Constitution. Two days into
the trip, the 12 foot boat they were traveling in broke apart
and sank. Left
clinging to inner tubes, only Elian and two others survived. Elian's
mother and stepfather were among those who drowned in the ocean.
was rescued and brought to America where he was reunited with
relatives who had come to this country and settled in Miami,
Florida. Elian seemed happy with his new home in America,
but one question still loomed - should Elian stay here or return
to Cuba and live with his father? Elian was not a citizen
of the United States and in order to stay he would need to become
one. The debate still rages as to whether Elian should stay in
this country or go back to Cuba to live with his father.
Your Opinion: Should Elian Stay or Go?
form a fuller opinion, look at some arguments made by people who
think Elian should stay in America, and arguments by those who
believe he should be sent back to Cuba.
more news articles on the Elian Gonzalez case click here.
assumptions do these articles make about what is best for Elian?
For America? For Cuba?
you think Elian should:
American Government says only Elian's biological father can make
legal decisions for him and is therefore sending Elian back to
Cuba to live with him. Many people want Elian to stay in America
with his relatives instead of going back to the communist-ruled
can his relatives in America do to protest
the decision? The
United States Government decided to go to Miami where Elian was
staying with his relatives to take Elian to Washington D.C.
There Elian was reunited with his father will wait until the courts
decide where he will live.
situation with young Elian Gonzalez is another example of how
public debate and foreign policy influence
one another. Because America allows for Freedom
of Speech where individuals and groups are free to criticize
the government, important policy questions -- such as those involving
Elian Gonzalez -- can become part of everyday discourse and public
debates, and even change American policy/law.
The documents below give historical
examples of how government policies and actions sparked public
debates, which in turn brought about additional changes in government
and society. You many want to keep in mind the following questions
when examining these documents: