Carsonites react to government snatch of Elian Gonzalez

Reactions Saturday of Carson City residents were mixed but often strong to federal agents' night-time raid that took 6-year-old Cuban refugee Elian Gonzalez from his Miami relatives' home and returned him to his father.

"I think it's great! It should have happened five months ago," Starlynn Cole said. "I didn't think (the Miami relatives) were going to give him up.

"I'm glad he's with his dad now. I hope he stays here, but that's up to someone else."

Day Williams, a local attorney whose cases often focus on individuals' rights vs. government actions, objected to the method employed by federal agents in recovering Elian.

"Storm troopers are a poor way to resolve a child custody dispute," Williams said. He predicted that the legal disputes surrounding the boy would continue for years.

Richard Brown said he has followed the controversy for months and had thought hard about what the right solution would be. "But I still don't know what's right, so now I'd say I'm neutral," Brown said.

Brown said he thought a recent video of Elian telling his father he did not want to return to Cuba was likely the result of the influence of the Miami relatives.

"It's been going on so long now that I've tired of it," Brown said. "I wish there was an easy solution, but there's not."

Mary Jo Brummer, a local Realtor, said she thought the raid by federal agents would have been very frightening for the 6-year-old boy.

"Elian should stay in the United States because he should be able to enjoy all our freedoms - he would not grow up under a communist dictator," Brummer said. "His mother sacrificed her life bringing him to freedom and this is where he should stay."

Fred Nietz said the government did not know what type of opposition to expect when attempting to recover the boy, so the agents had not choice but to go in armed.

"It's good that he's with his father now, rather than with a bunch of cousins he never even knew before," Nietz said.


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