Family Reunification?

Last month, a boy was rescued during an attempt to cross from Cuba to Florida. In the same attempt, his mother died. Now in the hands of American relatives, the boy's fate is undetermined; should he be held in the US or returned to his father in Cuba.
Hundreds of thousands of Cubans have participated in demonstrations demanding that the boy be allowed to return to Cuba. American media has tried to devalue these protests as 'artificial' 'rhetoric.'
Mean while, the boy has celebrated his sixth birthday in the US. his relatives are demanding he be granted political asylum and placed permanently in their custody. Supporters argue that it would be immoral to return the boy to the country his mother died while escaping. How, they ask, could we possibly send the child to live in a communist nation.

It's interesting to contrast the media coverage of this incident with coverage of kidnappings by fathers. The father was the custodial parent. This boy, only five years old, was taken out of the country. Imagine if a boy this age were taken out of the United States by a father; it would spawn 'made-for-TV' movies, book deals, protests...endless support.
It's great that the boy has family in the US. He's fortunate that he can be with them instead of foster care while his future is being decided. But his father remains in Cuba. The claim by the American relatives to custody is absurd.
The bond between the boy and his father is strong now; if the boy remains in the US for twelve years, what memories will he have of his father? He will only know what his American relatives tell him. The American relatives know that when he reaches his mid-teens a court would recognise his right to decide if he wanted to remain in the US or return to Cuba. They will do absolutely anything to turn him away from his home, his father, and his heritage.

I think that there are many good people in the US who want the boy to stay because they honestly believe his life will be better here. He'll be free, they say, and will have a higher standard of living. They may be right, but that doesn't justify severing his relations with his father.
That logic would mean that an American couple looking to adopt a child could go to any third world country, see a child, and tear him away from his mother and father. Why shouldn't an American couple just kidnap children from Africa or Asia? The child will have a higher quality of life, won't he?
There's a whole lot more to parenting than the ability to provide. Why shouldn't that same American couple just go to an unemployment office and take a child from an American family that is struggling?
The thing that really bothers me is this fatherhood issue. Our society values motherhood over fatherhood. Years of divorce court decisions show that the bias against fathers as primary care givers is incredibly strong.
The last fifty years, while we've been achieving liberation from gender roles and sexual morals, the case for fatherhood has grown weaker. Fifty years ago, the father was an integral part of the family. Now women can wear the pants in the family. It is socially acceptable for a mother to work. The stigma of being a single mom is nowhere near as negative as it was then. Women are now the majority of college freshmen. They serve in the military, they teach, they participate in the political process. They've managed to break out of the gender role mold. This progress is great.
At the same time, men haven't been so lucky. They are not welcome in traditionally female roles. They are not teaching grade school children. A 'stay at home' dad is viewed as a bum. The worst part isn't the lack of progress-the worst part is men are losing ground.
Society seems to have concluded that men have no desire to parent. Fathers fight uphill battles to get even partial custody of their children. A mother, it's believed, fights for custody because she loves her children. A father, it's believed, fights for custody to inflict anguish and pain on the mother.
Society simultaneously tells men that they have an obligation to support children they father but no right to raise them. Men have absolutely no say in issues like abortion. The message drilled into the minds of young men is that their rights end after they pull out.
The rise in divorces and subsequent increas in the number single parent families is further assuring the death of fatherhood. Young men of the next generation are being raised with the sense that they are no more than sperm donors. Young men who grow up in families with out a positive male role model will have no experiences to counter the sperm donor philosophy.
It's a snowballing problem. Each generation raised with this mentality is more likely to fail to provide good male role models to their children.
This Cuban issue is a tragedy. It's also a test to measure the value of fatherhood. The boy must be returned to his father. Should we reward parents who kidnap and punish law-abiding ones?

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