The Magazine

On the Miami Barricades

The Little Havana community stands firm, while Janet Reno backpedals

Apr 24, 2000, Vol. 5, No. 31 • By TUCKER CARLSON
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Reno ends her statement with more talk about the law and her willingness to enforce it, but as far as the crowd in Little Havana is concerned, it is just air. The attorney general of the United States promised to remove Elian from Miami today. The protests forced her into a humiliating frenzy of backpedaling. It is that simple. A man next to the barricades grabs a megaphone. "Janet Reno called it off because we were here," he shouts. "Because we were here."

An hour later, an appeals court in Atlanta issues an emergency stay, which will temporarily prevent Elian from being returned to Cuba. It's not a total victory, but at the moment, it is pretty close. In the front yard of their little house, Elian's relatives are celebrating. Delfin Gonzalez, one of the great uncles, is waving to the crowd and grinning. A burly cop standing nearby is grinning, too. A hundred cameras are watching, but the cop can't contain himself. He throws his arms around Delfin Gonzalez and gives the uncle a bear hug.

Tucker Carlson is a staff writer at THE WEEKLY STANDARD.