Henry Gómez is in sackcloth and ashes tonight and it becomes him. His greatest nightmare has come true: the little Cuban girl whom he has spurned with callous disregard, stubbornly refusing to see her as anything more than a pawn and refusing to say even one word on her behalf, has no need of him as a champion; for the man fighting to save her life and upholding the honor of our country, who adopted her brother and now wishes to adopt her as well, is Joe Cubas, a man Castro hates even more than Posada Carriles, though he won't give him the satisfaction of acknowledging it.
Joe Cubas is one of those noble latter-day abolitionists who smuggle Castro's slaves to freedom. The slaves that he helps escape Castro's plantation are the ones most prized by the dictator, his own personal pets, groomed for his amusement and aggrandizement. Castro exploits all Cubans and robs all Cubans of the product of their labor and talents. But the talents of these slaves, in particular, have the greatest market value and their theft by Castro amounts to billions in the aggregate. Joe Cubas has restored to these Cubans the dignity of labor, and, in doing so, redeemed more Cuban lives than anyone since Mariel.
It is not a baseball player whose life Joe Cubas has saved this time, but two of the legions of children whom Castro has condemned from the moment of birth to lives of misery and want, stunted and circumscribed lives. There was nothing that Castro could do to reclaim his emancipated athletes: Castro's Fugitive Slave law is only enforced by the U.S. Coast Guard on the high seas, not in U.S. courts.
It is, of course, different with the little girl that Joe and his wife have taken into their home and into their hearts. Castro thinks that he can use the courts to kidnap her as he used Clinton and Reno to circumvent the courts. Possession of the little Cuban girl means more to Castro than even Elián's did. This thing with Joe Cubas is personal. Lázaro González and his family meant nothing to Castro; they were simply obstacles in his way that had to be disposed of so he could have his way. Joe Cubas, however, is the exile Castro hates most: the head that he most wants to see on a platter before he can see no more. What better way to take revenge on Joe Cubas than to steal the child he loves and who loves him?
Joe Cubas' money, influence and position do not sway Henry as the Estefans' once did Val Prieto. Even with Joe as her foster father, even acknowledging, as he does on Babalú, that this is a "vendetta" against Joe Cubas by the Castro regime, Henry is holding steadfast to his oft-stated position that she should be returned to her father-by-proxy Fidel, so that he can have a matched set for his puppet theatre. It is still all about his identity crisis not the little girl's fate: "We're going to be hearing a lot about this. The Herald got its wish, a huge international story complete with an opportunity to mock the exile community."
Who cares if they "mock" us," Henry? I mock you, don't I? A great many people mock you and deservedly so. THIS IS NOT ABOUT YOU. It is the life of an abused little girl that hangs in the balance. Let her story have as much publicity as it can get. Let Cuban exiles, safely in this country, be insulted and mocked a thousand times ten thousand. What does it matter? The only thing that matters is this little girl's life and future. We may not be able to rescue all the children of Cuba, but we should not drop this one down a well.