Cuban boy: the child's best interest or the law's?

Your editorial, "Send the Cuban boy home" is a departure from your usually thoughtful approach to issues (Dec. 8). You claim that the boy will not suffer any harm in returning to Cuba, but you cite no supporting facts. Instead, you advocate suppressing facts by saying that no court would take into consideration the wishes of a six-year-old.

During 20 years as a state court judge, I decided numerous custody cases. I always considered the views of the children, even those six years old. Many other judges follow the same practice.

You ask what right does a US court have to decide custody for a parent in Cuba. Courts in every state of the United States have authority over all persons within the borders of that state.

The case should be decided based upon the law and the facts, not upon a mindless rule that children should automatically be sent to their parents.

Dan Spangler Casper, Wyo.

Elian Gonzalez should be returned to his father Juan Miguel Gonzalez. Family values are of great importance and should take precedence over all political agendas. How can the US claim to be acting in the best interest of the child when it is denying the parental rights of a father to be with his own child? It is utter hypocrisy for the US to proclaim the importance of family values, yet it is willing to separate a family on the basis of politics.

Jules Dervaes Pasadena, Calif.

Drug war at what cost?

Revelations about mass graves in Ciudad Jurez, Mexico, is a terrible reminder of how far some people are willing to go to maintain control over an incredibly profitable black market. ("A look inside a giant drug cartel," Dec. 8).

The increased willingness of gangsters to use murder as a business tool was an unintended consequence of alcohol prohibition, just like the violence of today's illegal drug market is an unintended consequence of the drug war. In coming days, many politicians and commentators will be calling for a tough response to the grisly scene being uncovered in Ciudad Jurez. I hope citizens won't be fooled by a such a call for more of the same. The only way to stop such violence is to stop the drug war.

Stephen Young Roselle, Ill.

The article "Mass graves could strain US-Mexico relations" (Dec. 2) shows that there is too much emphasis on strained relations between the United States and Mexico. Americans are killed daily in the US as a result of drug use and drug trafficking. It is ridiculous to pinpoint Mexicans, when clearly drugs are the cause of the problems.

I spent a week in Jurez, Mexico, during the spring of this year, and would like to point out that the majority of the population consists of hardworking, poverty-stricken people, who desperately need attention. The level of poverty is at a point where citizens are extremely vulnerable to drugs as a source of income.

Ricky A. Schuft St. Peter, Minn.

Secular spirituality

As a Roman Catholic, I am dismayed at the characterization of recent films as Christian; specifically "Dogma," which is rabidly anti-Catholic. ("Christianity's all the rage - at the movies," Dec. 7). And Arnold Schwarzenegger as our savior? These films may be "exploring spirituality," but please do not confuse this abstraction with the concreteness of our Christian religion.

Anne Meridian Seattle Wash.

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(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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