Reno had been under pressure from the Clinton administration and her own department to end the standoff, and she'll be hoping that her decisive action which passed without casualties will have redeemed her from charges in Washington that she'd mishandled the situation by failing to follow through on ultimatums. President Clinton comes out looking like the decisive leader who prodded his attorney general into action, even though his intervention came rather late in the game. And candidate Gore, well he looks like the Vice President everyone loves to ignore.
Although Juan Miguel Gonzalez is bound by this week's court decision to remain with his son in the U.S. pending the outcome of the relatives' appeal, his reunion with Elian will change the political facts of this case. It now becomes a campaign to remove a six-year-old from the care of his father and transfer him back to some relatives in Miami, and that's unlikely to elicit much sympathy from either the public or the courts. To be sure, the Miami relatives and their supporters may struggle to maintain the momentum of their campaign to keep Elian now that they no longer have possession of the boy. But while Washington, Havana, the Miami Cuban leadership and the U.S. TV networks may soon be able to walk away from the saga, poor little Elian is faced with suffering the scars for years to come.