Suppose a father wanted to raise his child in a sewer; a literal sewer. Should he have the right to do so, and should the government uphold him in the exercise of that right? The waters of the sewer would be unhealthy and malodorous, conveying filth and rottenness of every imaginable kind; it would be inhabited by an army of vermin and an even more dangerous army of bacteria; nothing could thrive in such an environment but all fall prey and become part of the general decomposition. Imagine raising a child in such a place! That would be horrible. But much more horrible would be a magistrate who affirms a father's right to thus abuse his child because the father personally prefers to live in a gilded sewer than breathe the air of the free. Would it be "politics" to contend that a sewer may not be the best place to raise a child, especially one who already knows that there is a better world than a sewer? What kind of society would sanction her return to a "father" who would thus exercise his authority over the child? Three times like the cock this man had forfeited that authority, more interested in evading the responsibility of fatherhood than exercising its rights. What compels him to seek now what he had once spurned, avoided and finally renounced? Well, there is a king in this sewer and the father owes him tribute and hopes to be rewarded for his fealty.
Does the story sound familiar?
I am almost sure that it or some near-varient is a Grimm's fairy tale, but I don't have the stomach to verify it, believing, as I do, that this lore (or, better yet, gore) of the volk is more responsible for Hitler than Wagner's music.
The hapless child in this real tale of horror understands perfectly what is at stake (her life and future). When she first came face to face with her birth father, she had no reaction, so little had Rafael Izquierdo been a part of her life in Cuba. In fact, it was necessary to introduce the child to this stranger who claims the right to raise her. It was when she learned that this man wanted to remove her from the care of her foster family, where, for the first time in her tormented life, she had known love and security, and return her to Cuba, where she had been beaten by her crazed mother and abandoned by the newly-minted father, that she conceived a profound fear and loathing for this man.
Although the child has a nervous breakdown every time she is compelled to be in the same room with this human ogre, and her foster parents have to pick up the pieces of her shattered psyche and reassemble them as best they can every time she visits with him, it was nonetheless decreed by the compassionate judge adjudicating her custody case that she had to undergo this ordeal every week until she "got used" to her father, ogre or not. Compassionate, yes, and infinitely solicitous of the father's mental well-being, but as indifferent to the little girl's as if she had been made of rags was Judge Cohen.
The now 5-year old-girl copes as well with her circumstances as might be expected. One of her court-appointed therapists, Miguel Firpi, testified that "she is trying hard to coat herself with Teflon during the day." At night, however, the demons are impervious to her Teflon-coated mental defenses. Then, "she is besieged by nightmares, sleeping fitfully and gnashing her teeth so forcefully she will have to see a dentist." She has also commenced bedwetting since being introduced to her father.
In order to shield herself from him and make the torment of being in his presence more tolerable, Firpi reports that Elenita has created an elaborate fantasy about her birth father and his family. She believes that they visit Miami on week-ends to meet with her and then return to Cuba for the rest of the week. This fantasy at least allows her to feel save for 5 of the 7 days of the week.
The girl, imbued with the hope, as are all children, that good will conquer evil in the end, has convinced herself that "the lady in the black thing" has decided that she will not return to Cuba with her father but be allowed to remain with her brother and foster parents in Coral Gables. Of course, "the lady in the black thing" (the "black thing" is her heart) intends no such thing.
The judge, who has a vested interest in keeping the child quiet until she hands her over to her tormentor, approved of this fiction, without ever bothering to asked herself why the fiction makes the girl happy while the reality renders her miserable and unable to cope with her life without innoculating herself with the fiction.
As reported in The Miami Herald:
The judge acknowledged that the girl has already had to navigate difficult waters -- and wondered aloud if it would be better to allow her a piece of fiction to hold on to. ''Is this a bad thing that she has built this protective bubble?'' Cohen said. "Because it frees her to build relationships. And if the bubble has to be burst, that won't be a bad thing[?]"
Well, the bubble has to burst at some time and the one who will do the bursting is Judge Cohen. The girl who is now "navigating difficult waters" will soon be drowning in a stagnant pool if the judge's verdict is upheld on appeal. The judge is gratified because this self-induced and now court-sanctioned lie allows the girl not to see her father as a clear and present danger anymore. She hopes that this "frees her to build relationships" with her birth father and his family. This artificial "relationship" will no doubt not survive the moment when the birth father snatches her away from her brother and her foster parents and takes her to Cuba to follow the Via Crucis of Elian's life.
Many of the court-mandated visitations with Rafael Izquierdo, his common-law wife and his other daughter in the Bricknell Avenue condo where they are residing while pursuing this case have been filmed. So horrible and terrifying are the scenes of such reunions that Izquierdo's legal team did not attempt to enter them into evidence at the trial as proof of Izquierdo's "continuing" interest in the child.
Elenita may not be taken out of the Cubas home at the point of a submachine gun but the effect on her psyche will not be the less for it.