Remember the Elian Gonzalez case? The one where the Cuban boy survived an escape from that nation in an inner tube when his mother died when the boat that was carrying them to freedom in the United States sank?
He was rescued by a fisherman and temporarily placed with distant relatives in Miami. Who refused to return him to the father in Cuba claiming the child would not be free there.
There were vigils and protests in front of the home in Miami's Little Havana for weeks until federal agents burst in, grabbed the boy and returned him to his father. The government cited international treaties which say that a child must be returned to the surviving parent in another country should the custodial parent die.
It was an unpopular position to take during the Elian Gonzalez case. But as I covered it for weeks for CNN Radio, I questioned proponents of keeping him on U.S. soil about the precedent that would create. What about cases, I asked, where a U.S. child is stranded in a foreign land upon the demise of his or her parent there? If Elian is permitted to remain in the United States, how could an American parent legally argue that his or her child be returned?
Now, a case that got international attention, makes my point.
It has to do with an 8-year-old boy, Sean Goldman, whose parents were divorced in 2004. After the divorce, the mother returned to Brazil. She died while giving birth to another child in 2008. Ever since then, Sean's father, David, who lives in New Jersey, has been fighting to regain custody of his son.
Now a Brazilian federal court has ordered Sean returned to his father. He will be turned over to the U.S consulate there. His father is en route to Brazil now.
Like the Elian Gonzalez situation, once again a child will be back with his father following the death of his mother. And like in the case of Elian Gonzalez, the right decision was, once again, reached.