Another US-Cuba custody battle over a child is brewing in Miami-Dade County.
A 4-year-old girl living in Coral Gables is at the center of an international custody dispute between the United States and Cuba over who will raise her: her father who lives in Cuba and wants her back, or a family acquaintance who Florida child welfare administrators say is more fit.The Miami Herald article is lengthy. Rick at SOTP sums up the facts very well.
Because of a secrecy order, the battle over the youngster has played out quietly in Miami-Dade County's juvenile courthouse in Allapattah. But three sources with knowledge of the case say state child-welfare workers have asked Circuit Judge Jeri B. Cohen to grant long-term custody of the girl to an acquaintance of the girl's family.
The girl, whose identity is being withheld by court and child-welfare administrators, was taken from her mother by the Florida Department of Children & Families about a year ago, sources said, after an investigation into charges that the mother's severe mental illness made her an unfit parent.
There is also this part from the Herald.
1. A Cuban woman who has psychiatric problems has a relationship with a man that results in the birth of a girl. While in Cuba, the girl apparently suffers abusive treatment from her mentally unstable mother.
2. The Cuban woman enters the US two years ago with the girl and a son borne from another relationship. Her son's Cuban father gives up his parental rights.
3. A year after arriving, the woman stops taking drugs that have been prescribed to treat her mental illness and problems arise with her being able to care for the kids. Florida child services (DCF) takes the children and gives the mother a chance to improve her situation. She fails.
4. The kids currently live with a Cuban-American family in Coral Gables.
5. The father in Cuba is allowed weekly calls to his daughter and has "asserted his rights" to the custody of his daughter.
The father has been denied permission by the U.S. State Department to enter the country to appear in court, a decision that has hindered his ability to fight for custody of his daughter. Though state law does not require his presence to grant him custody, many judges insist they meet and scrutinize potential caregivers before agreeing to give them custody.
DCF attorneys are arguing in court that the father in Cuba is unfit to have custody because he took no action to safeguard the daughter from her mother's abusive behavior while she lived on the island, a source said.
TFM is a father of two, but both my children are angels in heaven. There is no question where I come down. The father gets custody. He is the girl's parent, this has nothing or should have nothing to do with politics.
South Florida bloggers are already reacting. Alex in same above post at SOTP wrote-
To me one thing is clear.
If the father is fit, the girl should be with him. The presumption that because he's in Cuba she's better off with a foster family automatically is wrong. Family supercede politics. A father's love is worth more than any material possessions.
Which is how I see it too.
Ziva at Babalu Blog has a differing opinion.
Nothing is more important to individual health and happiness than freedom, glorious freedom. Cuba has one of the highest rates of suicide for women in the world, and for good reason. In Cuba, there is nothing for a young women to look forward to other than a life of heartbreak and struggle. How can a woman embrace life if her children have no hopes, no dreams, and no chance for a better life except to leave?Castro Death Watch also writes-
So buckle yourself in for what is going to be a wild ride once this hits the national media.
Hmmm. Let’s see if I get this straight: a mother who is an “unfit parent” due to “mental illness” says she’d rather have her daughter go live in Castro’s Kafkaesque nightmare.
Uh-huh. I’d say that statement on its face is proof positive she is mentally ill and unfit to be a parent. Because any parent who would voluntary send his or her child back into hell clearly has to have something wrong with them.
Linked to- Basil, Cao, Jo, Right Wing Nation, Third World County, Woman Honor Thyself,