Elian's Psychiatrists

April 24, 2000

Just say the name Elian Gonzalez and you will elicit some very strong reactions. For months we have been subjected to the emotional pulls on this six-year-old Cuban boy. Should he stay in America? Should he be sent back to Cuba with his father? These are difficult and troubling questions.

But in the midst of this debate of his fate is another debate about how well the major media have covered this issue. Let's just look at one issue: psychiatrists. The major media have focused almost exclusively on what psychological effects staying in America will be on Elian, but have generally avoided talking about what would await him in Cuba.

Last week on NBC's "Today" show, Dr. Irwin Redlener stated that "Elian Gonzalez is now in a state of imminent danger to his physical and emotional well-being in a home that I consider to be psychologically abusive." He recommended that the child be rescued immediately.

Now leave the issue of whether Dr. Redlener's comments are an overreaction, and leave aside the fact that he was one of Hillary Clinton's consultants on the Health Care Task Force. What was missing in the coverage is the other side. For example, Dr. Marta Molina (a Cuban psychiatrist who recently escaped Cuba) documents that if Elian was returned to Cuba, "he will be immediately taken into seclusion away from the mainstream, to reindoctrinate him in the ways of the Communist ideology." Dr. Molina goes on to say, "it is my professional opinion that the indoctrination and silencing of his thoughts and memories of the United States will, as [it] did in many other children, lead to . . . severe psychological trauma."

But if you turn on the television, it seems like you hear a lot more from doctors like Dr. Redlener than you do from doctors like Dr. Molina.

I'm Kerby Anderson of Probe Ministries, and that's my opinion.