A Letter of Apology to Elian Gonzales
Source Michael Moore
Date 00/04/03/13:53

March 31, 2000

Dear Elian,

Please forgive me for writing to you in English.
Three semesters of Spanish, and I can't
remember a thing!

Also, please forgive us Americans for standing
back and allowing the child abuse you are now
experiencing. Normally, in this country, we arrest
adults who put children through trauma and
exploitation. Normally, we arrest adults like the
Mayor of Miami who call for violence and incite a
riot. Normally, in this country, we arrest terrorists
and either jail or deport them.

Unfortunately for you, we are doing none of this.
I apologize. I can only imagine what you are
going through. You do not deserve this

You are being told that your mother died trying
to bring you to freedom. I am so sorry to have
to tell you, that's not true. The Cuban court
granted your father custody of you, and your
mother decided to kidnap you. She placed your
life in horrible jeopardy by putting you in a
leaky, overcrowded raft that eventually sank,
killing everyone but you. History is filled with
many people who risked their lives escaping to
another country because, had they stayed, they
would have been imprisoned or killed.

That's not what happened in the case of your
mother. Her life was not in jeopardy. Her son --
you -- was in no danger. The worst that could be
said is that, in Cuba, you were in jeopardy of
receiving free health care whenever you needed
it, an excellent education in one of the few
countries that has 100% literacy, and a better
chance of your baby sister being born and
making it to her first birthday than if she had
been born in Washington, DC.

The truth is your mother and her boyfriend
snatched you and put you on that death boat
because they simply wanted to make more
money. I can understand why they wanted a
better life. Cuba is a poor country. America,
from 90 miles away, looks like a rich country.
The majority of people who have sailed to this
country in the past have come for the same
reason. Often, they have come because they
did not like living in a country, such as Cuba,
where you cannot freely elect your president and
your basic rights are limited. I can understand

But your mother placed you in a situation where
you were certain to die on the open seas (as the
rest did) and that is unconscionable. It was the
ultimate form of child abuse, and I see now why
the Cuban judge did not give your mother

Now you are with "relatives" in Miami. Normally,
in this country, when we say, "I'm going to stay
with the relatives," we mean brothers, sisters,
aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents.

You are with a "great-uncle" and a "second
cousin." It's not that they aren't blood-related,
but, let's face it, in our country they and the
third cousins-once removed are usually not
sitting at the Thanksgiving table and are only
rarely heard from usually when they need bail
money or part of the inheritance. But in our
country, no "relative" replaces the parent. A
brother, cousin or "great-uncle" who holds a
child against the will of the parent is committing
a major crime.

You must really miss your daddy! I hear he's
coming soon. Those "relatives" are trying to
prevent him from being with you. I know, that
doesn't feel like love, does it? Please don't take
it personally. They do love you. They love
having you to toss around in front of the TV
cameras so they can further their own political

You are only six, so I know you can't
understand what all of the politics are about.
That's okay. Some day, you will. In time, you'll
read how these former Cubans, who are abusing
you, instead of staying in Cuba and fighting for
freedom like our ancestors did for this country in
1776, they turned tail and ran to Miami. Once
here, they began demanding that we Americans
fight their fight for them.

What did we do?

Something stupid! We fought their fight for
them! We based our entire foreign policy in this
hemisphere on one thing -- eliminating Castro.
We tried to assassinate him. We sent "troops"
to invade at the Bay of Pigs. We prevented
medicine and food from being shipped to Cuba.
When I was nearly your age, we almost blew up
the world over Cuba and Castro. Can you
believe that? We had become as insane as
those ex-Cubans in Miami!

And we've stayed that way for forty years. We're
still wacked-out over Cuba. Last year, we fined
an American citizen $10,000 because he went
down to Cuba to tune pianos! It's illegal in this
"free" country to travel there. Loopy, huh?
We've been driven crazy 'cause that we still can't
get rid of Fidel Castro. He's out-lived nine of our

We have allowed these ex-Cubans with the
yellow stripe down their backs to operate
numerous terrorist missions from South Florida.
These same ex-Cubans were the ones who
broke into a place called Watergate (that
eventually brought down a president), ran drugs
for arms operations (that brought down a
popularly-elected government in Nicaragua),
and, according to some Americans, were behind
the assassination of our president, John
Kennedy (that puts us on a slippery slope we're
still sliding down).

Now, these very ex-Cubans who were afraid to
stand and fight Castro have suddenly found the
courage to! That's right, they have
made it clear that they will fight, with violence,
any federal officers or troops who are sent in to
enforce our laws (those outrageous ones which
say a son should be with his father).

And you are caught in the middle of all this. I
am so sorry. I wish there was something I could
personally do. I will write to our Attorney General
( and tell her to stop this child
abuse. I will encourage others to do the same. I
wish I could convince our vice-president (who's
running for president) to help, but he too has
decided to abuse you by using you for his own
political gain. The governor of the state you're
in, Jeb Bush, is the brother of a man running for
president. He wants to use/abuse you, too. I
just want you to know that 80% of the country
doesn't like either of these men.

I guess that's the silver lining in your little
cloud. The majority of Americans are sickened
by the way you are being treated. Please
understand that bad things are often done in
our name and with our money. Often, there is
little we can do as the choices on our ballots are
nearly as slim as the choices your father has on

It's not easy being six -- anywhere in the world.
I know this all too well. My country, the one your
mother thought you should be living in, allows
its six-year olds access to guns, and a little
six-year old girl in my hometown was killed last
month by another six-year old. This is the world
we adults have created for you. This is the world
I promise to do my best, in my own small way,
to change.

I pray you'll be playing catch soon with your
wonderful, loving daddy on a Cuban baseball
diamond. By the time you're 18, long after
Castro and the Bushes and all this nonsense is
gone, maybe you can come back to America on
your own free will.

The Tigers, I can assure you, will still be in
desperate need of some good pitching.

Michael Moore

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