[Marxism] MIAMI: Custody battle taking a toll on young girl

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Mon Oct 1 09:34:32 MDT 2007

It's taking a toll on the child because the state of Florida is trying to
conduct a legal kidnapping of this child, both of whose parents agree she
should return home to live with her father in Cuba, an obviously capable
person, and not with strangers who, even if they have provided food and
other care for a year and half, are not members of her real human FAMILY.
Not the slimy reference to Rafael Izquierdo's "common-law wife", which is 
a pejorative term. There is no such thing in Cuban law as a "common-law"
 relationship. People live together without benefit of clergy or sanction
by the state, but that's it. And all the various non-marital relationships
are increasingly accepted on the island.

Walter Lippmann
Los Angeles, California

Other kinds of couples find room in society

Posted on Mon, Oct. 01, 2007
Custody battle taking a toll on young girl

The phalanx of lawyers is preparing for the second round of an
international custody battle that pits a Coral Gables foster family
against a Cuban farmer.

The governor of Florida won't rule out the possibility that the state
will appeal the outcome.

And in the meantime, the little girl at the center of the contentious
case has dreamed up a ''protective fantasy,'' imagining that the
legal drama swirling around her has already come to an end.

At night, however, she is besieged by nightmares, sleeping fitfully
and gnashing her teeth so forcefully she will have to see a dentist.

''She is trying hard to coat herself with Teflon during the day,''
said Miguel Firpi, one of the girl's court-appointed therapists,
during a hearing to discuss the child's progress.

Firpi said the 5-year-old girl believes that the judge in charge of
the case has decided she will not return to Cuba with her father, and
that she will remain in the care of Joe and Maria Cubas, who have
adopted her 13-year-old half-brother.

'I told her, `Remember the lady in the black thing still has to
decide,' '' said Firpi, addressing Circuit Court Judge Jeri B. Cohen
during a hearing last week to gauge the progress of the girl's
visitations with her birth father, Rafael Izquierdo.

The regularly scheduled visitation hearing came just moments before
Cohen released her ruling in favor of Izquierdo, declaring him a fit

Cohen said the state's Department of Children & Families, which is
seeking to keep the girl in the Cubas household, failed to prove its
case against Izquierdo. But the judge refused a request from
Izquierdo's legal team to turn the girl over to her father

Instead she will go forward with a second round of hearings to
determine whether separating her from the Cubas family and her
brother will cause her irreparable harm.


The judge acknowledged that the girl has already had to navigate
difficult waters -- and wondered aloud if it would be better to allow
her a piece of fiction to hold on to.

''Is this a bad thing that she has built this protective bubble?''
Cohen said. ``Because it frees her to build relationships. And if the
bubble has to be burst, that won't be a bad thing.''

Julio Vigil, another of the the girl's therapists, said the girl was
progressing in her attachment to her father -- but said he was still
concerned that she was not displaying a ``significant emotional

''He's more comfortable with her, more authoritative. She's calling
him dad and she's responded in respect to that authority,'' said
Vigil, who said the girl has begun to allow Izquierdo to hug and kiss
her, something she previously refused.

Vigil agreed that the girl's increased ease with her father may be
because she has imagined the judge has decided she will stay in the
United States.

''It may be the threat of leaving the Cubases is no longer a present
issue in her mind,'' he said. ``That would explain the comfort

But the girl ''still does not respond to her dad in an emotional and
affectionate manner,'' Vigil said. ``As far as running up to him
exhibiting great joy, I have not seen that. I would have hoped to see
that by now.''

Ira Kurzban, one of Izquierdo's attorneys, dismissed Vigil's concerns
during a press conference following Thursday's ruling.

''You all have to look at yourselves and ask how many of your
children run up to you as soon as you walk in the door,'' he said,
addressing reporters gathered on the courthouse steps.

Izquierdo and his common-law-wife, Yanara Alvarez, told the judge
that the girl is happy and well-behaved during her visits to the
Brickell Avenue condo where they are staying for the duration of the
legal proceedings.

''She doesn't have that rebellion like she did before,'' Alvarez
said. ``It's a big difference.''

Izquierdo said the girl has questioned him about what would happen if
they return to Cuba, and whether she will see her ''other family''

Izquierdo said he has taken pains to share with her picture books of
Cuban landscapes and churches. ``I tell her of my mother, her
grandmother, and the little animals we have there.''

He said the girl has also bonded with her half-sister, a 7-year-old
girl he fathered with Alvarez.

The foursome have enjoyed trips to Parrot Jungle and Chuck E.
Cheese's, as well as playing in the pool of the Brickell condo

The girl has a distorted sense of geography, said Firpi, and believes
that her father and stepmother return to Cuba after her visits with
them. She thinks her half-sister is going to school on the island.

''She believes they go to Cuba and then go back to see her, and that
it's right next door,'' Firpi said.

Joe Cubas said that despite a no-news policy at home, the prolonged
legal drama is having a noticeable effect on the two children.

He picked up the older brother from school early Thursday, fearful
that he would hear news of the ruling second-hand.


''He asked me if they were going to come and take his sister away
right now,'' Cubas said. ``He's doing as well as any 13-year-old kid
can at his age. But he's angry sometimes, and afraid.''

Cubas said he has not discussed last week's events with the little
girl, however.

She nonetheless picked up on a shift in her foster parent's mood.
After Cubas and his wife returned from the courthouse Thursday, she
came up and worriedly asked if he was sad.

''I just told her I had a headache,'' Cubas said. ``How is a
5-year-old going to understand what is going on?''

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