A 5-year-old girl at the center of an international custody dispute will remain in the ''sole custody'' of her Cuban father, who would stay in the U.S., under a negotiated settlement that ends a bitter, protracted courtroom drama.
Meanwhile, the girl's Coral Gables foster family will be allowed regular visits with the girl on alternating weekends, sources close to the negotiations told The Miami Herald.
After months of on again-off again settlement talks, lawyers for the Department of Children & Families and foster parents Joe and Maria Cubas on one side and birth father Rafael Izquierdo, on the other, agreed today to settle their conflict outside of court. (snip)
In May 2010, Izquierdo would be permitted to leave the United States and return to Cuba with his daughter, sources say. If Izquierdo chooses to remain in the U.S. longer, or to seek permanent residency, the Cubases would be allowed to continue their weekend visits until Aug. 31, 2012.
Read more: Posted on Wed, Nov. 28, 2007
#1. ROBERTO KOLTUN/EL NUEVO HERALD
Rafael Izquierdo, center, hugs his six-year-old daughter Rachel, left, and his current wife Yanara, right, in Miami.
#2. ROBERTO KOLTUN/EL NUEVO HERALD
Six-year-old Rachel hugs her father Rafael Izquierdo, who spent nearly two years fighting for her five-year-old half-sister.
#3. AL DIAZ/MIAMI HERALD STAFF
Attorney Magda Montiel Davis, right, talks with Rafael Izquierdo in Miami, Aug. 23.
#4. AL DIAZ/MIAMI HERALD STAFF
Attorney Magda Montiel Davis talks to Elena Perez, the mother of the five-year-old girl in the middle of a custody battle, Aug. 23.
(Al Diaz is the photographer who stayed in the house with Elián Gonzalez's drunken granduncle Lázaro and family until the INS came to pick up the kid, once the drunken granduncle announced he was not going to comply with court orders and surrender him to authorities, and Al Diaz snapped the photo they have used all this time, of the agent, his gun, Donaldo Donato or whatever, and the child.)
#5. AL DIAZ/MIAMI HERALD STAFF
Sports agent Joe Cubas, of Coral Gables, is fighting for the custody of a four-year-old Cuban girl steps out of a Miami courtroom, Aug. 23.
Those who've been following this case must be so happy the father who had been subjected to so much abuse on the witness stand has finally been given the right to raise his own little kid. This is good.
The little girl gets a two year transition period during which she gets to know her daddy while still maintaining contact with the people who raised her.
The people who raised her get visitation and the ability to be part of her life. Let's hope they can come to terms with the fact that she was never a child without a family, and that they can help her family do the best for her now that they're reunited.
If everything can work for the best, the dad will get advice on what's going on with his daughter and how being raised an American will be a barrier but how to overcome it with this particular little girl. They know her best right now.
If the family returns to Cuba in 2 years, perhaps the Cubas family will join those of us on the left who want to overturn the useless, outdated, and cruel embargo against Cuba so they can visit her from time to time.
3. once they decided to give the little girl to the father, they should have let him free to decide
Edited on Wed Nov-28-07 06:05 PM by flordehinojos
whether he wants to go back to cuba immediately ... or not. the cubas', as i see it, have not right tothat girl. they have money. if they wanted to see her, they could travel to a third world country, and from there to cuba and paid a visit to her. $$$$ trumps fatherhood. they gave her to her father with a condition (i think is what happened)...so,in a way they are denying the father his full rights.
at least not legally, meaning they'd have trouble returning to this country and could be up on charges.
Stupid restricted travel to Cuba to a Draconian level. Cubans in this country with family there hate the new restrictions and they're so heavy handed that much of the GOP Cuban voting bloc in Miami won't be there any more.
No, this is the best way to handle the transition for a little girl who should have been returned to her dad a long time ago. The sacrifice will be on the dad's side, as I'm sure he'd rather get back to the extended family at his home, Cuba.
9. Bingo! This isn't a full victory for him, or for justice.
Edited on Thu Nov-29-07 01:14 AM by Mika
He's still being denied his full parental rights. The Cubas family didn't raise this girl. In fact, the Cubas family is the second foster family for this child. The Cubas' only became interested in becoming a DCF custodial family (after meeting these kids at another custodial home- "friends" of the Cuba family - and after powwowing with political consultants) for the specific purpose of adopting these kids - despite the fact that the Fla DCF hadn't even notified the father in Cuba that the girl was being put up for adoption (in a complete violation of legal procedure).
So, the politically motivated Joe Cubas and the S Fla repuke appointed DCF administration inserted themselves into this case (that undoubtedly would become a high profile anti Castro case, like Elian's case), putting the girl into a custodial home without parental consent, without notifying the father in Cuba (which is standard operating procedure in all other Cuba child custody cases that Joe Cubas is not involved in), put the girl up for adoption without consent of either parent or notification of the father, slandered the father using lies and innuendo and claims of incriminating documentation that ended up not existing, and in a final attempt at a court sanctioned abduction tried to claim that by simply moving back to Cuba would endanger the child. After all of this stinking heap of steaming shit of a case, he still can't exercise his parental rights. All because of the political motivations on the part of the judge, Joe Cubas, and the repuke appointed administration of the DCF in S Florida.
I'm glad the judge ruled in favor of parental custodial rights that will (hopefully) be eventually granted to Mr Izquierdo, but very disappointed that the Cubas family has any say in this matter whatsoever. Joe Cubas, like Elian's Miami family, their CANF paid lawyers, and other assorted slime that attached themselves to them, are seeking political points in its-all-about-gittin-tough-on-Castro S Florida politics. They are willing to put children through a meat grinder for any political gain to be had from any iota of a perceived "victory" against Fidel's Cuba. God only knows what kind of dirty tactics they have up their sleeves waiting to ensnare Mr Izquierdo and his family. But as long as the S Florida family courts and the S Fla DCF and Joe Cubas and the anti Castro lobby have ANY involvement in this case, as they all do, then Mr Izquierdo is certainly not in the clear yet. Not at all.
8. You know, that's a point I failed to see this time, but now you mention it, I'm sure you're right.
I think you'll know I agree with your comment when I tell you that during the time the Elián Gonzalez was in Miami, the "exiles" used to taunt the father long distance. They made remarks like, "If he really wants the boy, why doesn't he come to Miami and get him?" They did this over and over. It was quoted in the newspapers.
They made a big point of it, as in they were DARING him to come to Miami, go to that house and try to take his son back. (In Washington, once the father arrived, he was advised to stay completely OUT of Miami.) Then the rumors started flying that people who were armed were staying in the houses around the Gonzalez. Do you recall that when the Attorney General called their house and talked to them, the skank, Marisleysis, told her something like "We've got more than just cameras around here," or something stupid like that which oddly came out sounding like a threat.
During this time, I kept thinking, iff Juan Miguel came to Miami, they'd simply kill him, the child's only living parent would be gone, and the great uncle would claim him.
Suddenly it all rushes back, from 2000.
Why wouldn't they do that this time? It's most surely within their abilities and character, considering how many of these reactionary thugs are violent. One of the bombers/mass murderers of the 73 people, including children, who were blown out of the air by bombs hidden in the Cubana airliner's bathroom, Dr. Orlando Bosch whom George H. W. Bush gave an administrative pardon years ago, who lives in Miami now, was discovered in a published photo as one of the visitors to the Gonzalez house.
You may recall that Janet Reno made a point of saying the government wanted to take its time getting Elián, and that they wanted to know more about the people in the houses surrounding the Gonzalez house, as there had been some criminals spotted in photos taken of the crowd.
So, yeah. Looks like you hit on something which is imminently possible, if not probable. The same people who worship Joe Cubas for stealing away baseball players from Cuba (the players say now he was a pig, and tried to rip them off, was horrendously greedy, and was banned from baseball because of it) would see it as a blow against Cuba to knock the father off.
This thought needs to be expressed. Killing the dad would solve everything for the creeps behind this. I'm sure you're right!
To be binding, the agreement must still be approved by Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Jeri B. Cohen. A spokeswoman for the Miami-Dade courts, Eunice Sigler, did not know late Wednesday when Cohen would hold a hearing on whether to ratify the pact.
11. Hi, Billy. Thanks for that article. It's more complete than the ones they've been publishing earlier
It's good to see the dad isn't swayed by some obvious attempts to manipulate him, and that he's very much his own man.
You could read the pompous air of Joe Cubas coming through, but it looks as if the dad isn't impressed, or intimidated:
Rafael Izquierdo said he, too, was pleased with the deal -- but he insisted that he wanted ultimately to return to Cuba with his family intact.
''At no moment do I renounce my homeland or my ideals,'' said Izquierdo, whose mother and sister remain in Cabaiguán, the small central town where he was born. ``The only reason I agreed to this deal is because it gave me 100 percent custody of my daughter.'' (snip)
Izquierdo said he would not be swayed by material comforts to stay in the United States.
''My children are not for sale,'' he said. ``The time doesn't matter. My only goal is to eventually return to my home with my daughter.'' (snip)
Hope they will be O.K. Can't wait until they get to go to their real home.
"The long and bitter battle for custody of a precocious, blue-eyed girl ended Tuesday afternoon where it began -- in a Miami courthouse where a juvenile court judge approved a negotiated settlement between the Cuban birth father and Coral Gables foster parents wishing to raise the girl.
The 5-year-old girl's birth father, Rafael Izquierdo, and her longtime foster dad, Joe Cubas, embraced briefly in a sixth-floor courtroom after Miam-Dade Circuit Judge Jeri B. Cohen approved the settlement and formally closed the state's case against Izquierdo.
Cohen, who has presided over the acrimonious dispute for almost two years, thanked the Cubases, Izquierdo, two therapists who worked with the girl and a host of lawyers for their "service to the community."
"I am proud of you," Cohen said to Izquierdo. "I think this was the right thing to do. I know the process was extremely difficult. But what you agreed to is in the best interests of . I think this is a good resolution. I think it is a fair resolution."
Cohen also thanked Cubas and his wife, Maria, who did not attend the hearing -- recalling that the couple had promised to "show respect" for the judicial process, and had kept their promise."
13. So glad the custody has been delivered to the child's father. That was really touch and go!
It looked as if the Cuban reactionaries had figured out a way to beat the Elián result, by keeping a very low profile for the child and her temporary guardians.
As has been discussed at D.U. by Mika, who lives there, so much of the real story was never told, as in the part about their not contacting the father when the child was placed in a foster setting, so he could get to the States and assert his rights.
He was kept completely in the dark. Then the State of Florida child services lawyers claimed he was indifferent, as he didn't show up for a long time. HE DIDN'T KNOW for a long time.
It really looked as if they had screwed him royally here, but at least they didn't get custody.
Now, as it has been suggested, he's going to need to keep a low profile, as if he's in witness protection, since he's going to be a sitting duck if one of those Cuban "exile" bomb specialists shows up, assassinates the father, and puts the case all back in Joe Cubas's pudgy little hands.
Sticking him here in the States for 2 1/2 more years seems truly odd, doesn't it? It's hard to grasp the thinking behind this.
Hope his lawyer will be able to appeal some of the conditions of this agreement. Is that possible?
Thank you, so much, to Scurrilous for breaking this new story, and the one immediately preceding it. As long as the child's father lives, he's going to be her guardian. That's the very good news. Sure hope they make it back home to Cuba, together with her step mother and her mother who indicates she really wants to go home, as well.
Being familiar with hard line gusano tactics, I'm wondering how long for stories to appear (el Nuevo Herald "investigative reporting" with one of their infamous photoshopped pics or 'some people say' reporting that gets bounced in Miami's RW exile radio echo chambers) smearing Mr Izquierdo in some way or another? I hope not, but there are millions of ways the gusano elements of exilio Miami can make this man's life a living hell if he stays in Miami-Dade during his agreed-to stay in the US.
15. Have heard about their use of their hate radio stations to target their enemies, giving addresses
to their reactionary audiences, and unleashing wave after wave of terrorism against people they don't like politically.
That's a real abuse and misuse of the public airwaves, turning them into instuments of terror. I've never heard that they've been penalized for this, either. I would imagine it's because the authorities are never monitoring the radio stations, and don't know when it has happened, and probably wouldn't know, anyway, if they don't speak Spanish.
Revenge, retribution seem to be a way of life in that town among certain elements, too, as in carbombing, death threats, shootings, all the way down to getting people fired, or vicious gossip campaigns, as was used against the girl's mother originally when people learned she was having a hard time making it supporting two children in the United States and desperately wanted to return to Cuba.
She testified that they harrassed her relentlessly at work, and that THAT was the reason she finally gave up trying to cope in Miami, and moved to Houston, hoping to find a way to survive there, before she had her breakdown.
Someone ought to suggest to these people that it's time to spread out, air the community out, let a little diversity into their world, and forget about their rabid mob rule, hostile, tyrannical control of political thought and expression, and the lives of other people.
I read somewhere that, as the visible symbol of the embargo is the 1950's cars in Cuba, the mental "frozen in time" world is actually in Miami, where the Batista-supporting "exiles" fled immediately after the revolution, fearing retribution from the Cuban population they'd been screwing all their lives. I read that among them, their rigid culture is just as unchanged, and inflexible as it was in Cuba at the time the left: that they simply moved it all to Miami and continued as if time had stood still, with their extreme prejudices intact. Whooo! Creepy!
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