* I and thousands of others have been fighting for Elian Gonzalez's right to freedom for the last several months. We have been defeated by Fidel Castro and the Clinton administration (June 29). But our defeat is nothing compared with the suffering of Elian since the illegal April 22 raid orchestrated by Atty. Gen. Janet Reno.
We have been blasted for standing up for Elian's individual and human rights, which we know trump his father's parental rights. We also know that Elian's father will not truly have custody of Elian because in Cuba, officially, the parent is the state. We are proud to have fought the battle and have not been weakened by the defeat but, instead, strengthened. We fought for truth and justice. We weren't waging a popularity contest. We gave Elian a taste of freedom. He was free for five months.
We pray that God will protect Elian and that the memories of his courageous and loving Miami family will comfort him in his moments of despair.
Has anyone seen a picture of Elian with a big, happy grin on his face since he was told he must return to Cuba? I'm sorry to say that none of us have seen such a picture. Via con Dios, Elian!
JEAN M. BALDWIN
My appreciation of Robert Scheer's (Commentary, June 29) informative plea for restructuring U.S. relations with Cuba was impaired by his unalloyed praise of Castro. It is just as simplistic to paint Castro with a halo, as does Scheer, as it is to simply paint him with horns, pitchfork and tail. Years ago I read Armando Valladares' "Against All Hope," which chronicles his 22 years in Castro's hellhole prison system, which evokes comparisons to concentration camps. Since then I cannot forget what Scheer seems to ignore: that Fidel is a corrupt despot who devours the lives of all he deems enemies.
Cleaning up Havana's casinos and prostitution will never outweigh such depravity. If our government has any moral compass at all, we must keep these facts in mind and act and speak accordingly if we seek any rapprochement with Havana.
I've found the actions of the Miami-based Cubans to be repugnant. If they really want Elian to have a so-called "better" life, they should be campaigning for the lifting of the embargo against Cuba so that their relatives who are still in Cuba can enjoy an easing of the hardships they have had to endure.
MARILYN MYERS LIEBER
Thank God Elian is gone to Cuba where he belongs. He cost the American taxpayers enough money. Goodbye, don't come back.
H.E. FOWLER JR.
The truth be known. The reason Elian did not receive a fair hearing is because the Supreme Court justices, including those so-called conservatives, are, as it turns out, "Commie lackeys" for Castro. Who knew?
My Cuban father and grandfather are turning in their graves. Cubans of Miami, where is thy dignity?