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web posted January 10, 1999

INS rules Elian to return to Cuba

Calling the case of 6-year-old Elian Gonzalez a "difficult" one, U.S. immigration officials in Washington said on January 5 they had determined the boy should be reunited with his father in Cuba.

After interviewing the father, Juan Miguel Gonzalez, twice and Elian's relatives in Miami -- all of whom claimed to have the legal right to speak for the boy -- the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service had determined the boy's father had the "sole legal authority" to speak for him, INS Commissioner Doris Meissner told reporters in Washington.

"This decision has been based on the facts and the law," Meissner said. "This little boy, who has been through so much, belongs with his father."

The decision requires Elian to leave Miami and return to Cuba by January 14, she said.

Tensions in Miami mounted that morning as the Cuban-American community awaited official word from INS.

Elian's second cousin, Marisleysis Gonzalez, and his great uncle, Lazaro Gonzalez -- who have been fighting to keep him -- accompanied the family's lawyer, Spencer Eig, to the INS office in Miami to hear the agency's long-awaited decision.

Outside the relatives' home that morning, Jose Basulto, director of the anti-Castro "Brothers to the Rescue" organization, said his group and another, the Democracia Movement, will do "anything to stop this action."

Basulto urged Cuban Americans to form traffic slowdowns and stoppages as a way to protest the order. He also urged protesters to form a human ring around the boy to prevent him from being taken away. He did not say when or how this might be done.

Washington has asked Havana to let the boy's father travel to Miami to pick him up. While Cuba has not responded officially, a senior official said that Cuba would do whatever the father wishes.

Elian's father, Juan Miguel Gonzalez, has repeatedly told reporters that he had no intention of traveling to the United States to escort his son home.

He also said he feared for his safety if he traveled to the United States. "They'll want to pressure me. They may even kidnap me or try to kill me. Anything is possible in a country that has done what it's done with my son," Juan Gonzalez said on January 3.

But if he changes his mind, the Cuban government now says it will grant him an exit visa.

"We will do whatever is convenient for him (the father) according to his wishes in order to solve this problem," said Ricardo Alarcon, who heads Cuba's National Assembly and is President Fidel Castro's point man on U.S. affairs.

Previously, the Castro government would say only it would consider granting the father an exit visa. It believes that under international law Elian should be returned to Cuba without having his father come get him.

Elian's closest relatives, all of whom are in Cuba, have demanded his return since he was rescued at sea November 25. The boy had been in a boat crammed with illegal Cuban migrants that had capsized.

Elian's mother, who was divorced from his father, was one of 10 people who died in the incident.

The boy, who spent two days and nights clinging to an inner tube, has been staying with paternal relatives in Miami, triggering a highly politicized international custody battle.

On the day of the INS decision, Elian attended his second day of classes at a private school in Miami's Little Havana district.

Lesbians get $250,000 in handouts from Ottawa

While federal agencies that provide essential services have been struggling with reduced budgets, the government has been handing out hundreds of thousands of dollars to lobby groups for lesbians, a leaked document shows.

According to a draft working paper titled Approved Funding ... Target Group: Lesbians, Status of Women Canada paid $253,918 for a "lesbian planning conference" and other similar events during the 20-month period ending Dec. 4, 1998.

Groups such as the Newfoundland Amazon Network, Lesbian and Bisexual Wimmin in Action, in Prince George, B.C., and La Collective Lesbienne in Ottawa were among those that received grants from the federal ministry's Women's Program between 1996 and 1998, the report says.

Since then, the ministry, headed by Hedy Fry, the Secretary of State for the Status of Women, has continued directing tax dollars to lesbian causes, funding such studies as "Alternate visions of lesbian family" and "A feminist analysis of needs, models and their major social, economic and legal impacts for women in lesbian relationships."

More than half the spending outlined in the report was in British Columbia, where Fry is an MP. Advocacy groups there were given $145,418 over the 20 months, including a $15,800 grant to the Wimmin in Action group for an "investigation of support services required by lesbian and bisexual women."

The Lesbian and Gay Immigration Talk Force, in Vancouver, got $45,525 "to formulate recommendations on how federal immigration regulations can be changed to recognize same-sex relations."

A $22,093 grant to the Quesnel Women's Resource Centre in the B.C. Interior aimed "to increase the access and participation of lesbians in the community of Quesnel and to organize the community to address the economic issues for women to obtain higher education."

Atlantic Canada got the least money, with $4,000 going to the Amazon Network for "a two-day working session for the purpose of identifying the human rights issues affecting lesbians, developing strategies to address those issues, and taking responsibility as individuals and as a committee to implement the strategies."

As the grants were being distributed, the Canadian Armed Forces was trying to keep up with a growing number of international peacekeeping missions, despite a budget that has dropped 23 per cent since 1991, and the RCMP was abandoning fraud cases because it did not have enough funding.

But there was no shortage of government money for groups such as La Collective Lesbienne, which got $20,000 to study "the reality of lesbian francophones in Ontario." A $10,000 grant to Environments for Women, "a group of women who are concerned about the lack of a gender perspective in school curriculum," aimed to encourage students to explore the lives of lesbians and other women. The government funding "will support the revision and production of the curriculum as well as the support material."

The Ad Hoc Committee of Accessibility and Lesbian Issues was given $21,500 to study the needs of "abused lesbians and abused women with disabilities." The program also gave $20,000 to Equality for Gays and Lesbians Everywhere (EGALE) for a controversial study on discrimination against homosexuals and bisexuals that has already cost taxpayers at least $185,000 and is now frozen due to a legal dispute between the researchers and the lobby group.

Buchanan promises 'millennial struggle' against world government

Pat Buchanan, seeking support for his fledgling Reform Party presidential bid, promised on January 6, to lead a "millennial struggle" against an emerging world government "where all nations yield up their sovereignty and fade away."

In a speech to the Boston World Affairs Council, the former Republican said, "Loyalty to the New World Order is disloyalty to the Republic. In nation after nation, the struggle between patriotism and globalism is under way."

"If ever sovereignty becomes obsolete, we may expect America's involvement in endless wars until, one day, we pay the horrific price in some act of cataclysmic terror on our own soil," he said.

Buchanan, in his third run for the presidency, said the Clinton administration is allowing the United Nations to intrude on America's sovereignty. At the same time, he said, the United States is guilty of "trampling on the sovereignty" of other nations by injecting troops in internal conflicts, such as Kosovo.

"If ever sovereignty becomes obsolete, we may expect America's involvement in endless wars until, one day, we pay a horrific price in some act of cataclysmic terror on our own soil," Buchanan said. "For interventionism is the spawning pool of international terror."

Buchanan left the GOP last year to seek the Reform Party nomination after his initial 2000 presidential bid as a Republican stalled. He blamed the Republican establishment for his failure, saying party leaders were lining up behind the front-runner, Texas Gov. George W. Bush.

New York tycoon Donald Trump also is seeking the Reform nomination.

Buchanan named politicians, journalists and Clinton administration officials who appear to embrace globalism over nationalism -- proponents of the so-called "New World Order," a phrase Buchanan attributed to Bush's father, former President George Bush.

Buchanan's examples included President Clinton calling himself a "citizen of the world," and Vice President Al Gore -- a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination -- agreeing to a global environmental pact. The United Nations is increasingly seeking authority over U.S. troops and control of the nation's borders, Buchanan warned.

"This then is a millennial struggle that succeeds the Cold War: It is the struggle of patriots of every nation against a world government where all nations yield up their sovereignty and fade away," he said.

"My vision is of a republic, not an empire -- a nation that does not go to war unless she is attacked, or her vital interests are imperiled, or her honor impugned. And when she does go to war, it is only after following a constitutional declaration by the Congress," Buchanan said. "We are not imperialists; we are not interventionists; we are not hegemonists; and we are not isolationists. We simply believe in America first, last and always."

Hollywood stars turn against the 'lying' Clintons

Warren Beatty and Annette Bening - Hollywood's leading liberal couple - have described President and Mrs Clinton as untrustworthy, deceitful and disappointing.

Bening, who is widely tipped to win an Oscar this year for her performance in the film American Beauty, said in an interview that Hillary Clinton was impressive at first but became less so as she tried to suck up to her. "I saw how politically deft she was, and I was not completely seduced by that," said the actress. "I have a lot of mixed feelings about what she's doing now [running for the Senate]. She always appears to be doing what's politically expedient in the most transparent way."

She added of the Clintons as a couple: "You feel like there's prevaricating, there's lying. You just don't trust them."

Her remarks reflect a widespread feeling in Hollywood that the Clintons have pumped members of the film industry for campaign contributions and leeched off their glamour but offered little in return. One consequence is that Vice-President Al Gore is finding it hard to raise funds there.

Beatty says he feels estranged from his party and is rarely on the Clintons' dinner party lists. "Something happened to me, gradually, which made it no longer possible to avoid the truth," he said. His 1998 film Bulworth was a satire about a politician who suddenly decides to tell the truth during his campaign. "You can't really make jokes like that unless you're willing to have your invitation to the table rescinded," he said. "And I had become more and more willing to have that invitation rescinded."

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