The case of custody over a 5-year-old Cuban girl should not be involved into a political debate.
"You're making a 5-year-old make an ideological value judgment about Cuba. The issue is not, do you want to go Cuba? The issue is, do you want to be with your father? We need to change the issue here," the judge said.
"There's too much emotional content related to the name of the country."
The judge ruled last week that the girl's father, Rafael Izquierdo is a fit parent who did not abandon his daughter when her mother brought her to the U.S. in 2005. A hearing Oct. 15 will discuss with whom the girl should live.
The girl went into foster care after her mother attempted suicide in 2005.
Attorneys for the girl's foster parents requested an emergency hearing Tuesday to relate the child's apparent anxiety about the possibility of returning to Cuba. A court-appointed therapist told the judge that the girl appeared very fearful Monday when she was asked about Cuba, and repeatedly said she did not want to go there.
The judge ordered another court-appointed therapist, scheduled to meet with the girl and Izquierdo later Tuesday, to begin mentioning to the girl the idea of living with her father. But the judge also instructed both Izquierdo and the foster parents, wealthy Cuban-American couple Joe and Maria Cubas, to refrain from discussing with the girl a potential return to Cuba.
The girl told the Cubases that during a weekend visitation with Izquierdo, she was told to say for a video camera that she wanted to go to Cuba. Izquierdo each denied the allegation.
The girl associates Cuba with separation from her half brother and the family she has been living with in Florida, Joe Cubas told the judge.
"She does not know what Cuba means," Cubas said after the hearing. "When she hears 'Cuba,' she associates it with being separated from her family."