How do you say “Sue!” in Spanish?

The day of the funeral, we just watched Anais Cruz from a distance, cried for her, hurt for her, as she walked into the service.  I wanted to take the cameras away, to allow her the privacy she deserves as she deals with the profound and bottomless grief of losing a child.  But the school yard stabbing at Coral Gables High that killed her son is legitimate and important news.

So now when notice came into the newsroom that Anais Cruz would be speaking in public for the first (and only) time, of course we’re covering that.  But when the cameras arrive, Cruz is seated in a law firm’s conference room, flanked by personal injury attorneys who announce “Lawsuit”.


Yes, lawsuit.  The accusation is negligence:  “The School board has not provided safe premises for kids to learn and be on their property,” said the lawyer.  

No one mentioned suing the boy who decided to bring a switchblade to school.  No one mentioned suing a society that allows kids to marinate in a culture of violence until the thought of stabbing a school rival is an actual viable option. 

I have some questions.  How did Anais Cruz decide to sue?   This is a citizen of Cuba, who sent (or at least allowed) her son to live in South Florida, to be looked after by his abuela, be educated in the public school system.  Miami-Dade’s school superintendent and a U.S. congresswoman paved the way for her trip to South Florida, helped obtain her emergency humanitarian visa. She can stay as long as she needs, as long as it takes for the trial of the teen accused of killing her son.

How did she know which lawyer to hire?  As it happens, the firm representing her has, for years, called newsrooms with some regularity.  They announce lawsuits they’ve filed and multi-million dollar judgments they’ve won for their victim clients.  (They do not call news conferences when those judgments are overturned by higher courts, but that’s a subject for another time).

And we show up, we cover those announcements, because generally the stories are compelling and important to the public interest.  There have been faulty pool drains, broken locks, crimes at businesses without security.  The hurt, the wounded, the scarred, the wronged – the lawyers have them there to speak, coach them about what to say, how to say it.  We as human beings naturally react with support, with a desire to see justice done. 

“Justice” is the always the press conference focus.  And you know big justice has been done when it’s calculated by a multi-million dollar jury award (and a multi-million dollar lawyers’ fee).

The day Anais Cruz arrived from Cuba, news crews were at Miami International Airport, where she fell into the arms of her family, a gut-wrenching scene of a mother who will never get to see her son grow up, never hug him again.  Some of the more jaded reporters were already asking “Will she defect?”  Not even the most jaded thought to ask, “Will she sue?”


2 Responses

  1. Of course she is going to sue. What would you do? It doesn’t matter if she is from Cuba or not the School Board has a responsibility to make the school environment a safe one and they were negligent. It doesn’t really matter to me that the school board help pave the way for Ms Cruz to get here nor that they paid for her son’s funeral, she lost a son partly due to an institutions negligence and she should be compensated.

  2. I wonder if the parents at the Columbine tragedy sued. I am hispanic, but in the business world Miami/South Florida is a Mecca for suing. Quick and easy money. I guess that is why the US is in the stink hole we’re in. Everyone feels entitled, to what? Why did her son attend school here? Last I checked Cuban citizens don’t pay taxes in the US. Maybe we should ask that she pay the taxes for the neighborhood her child attened school in. Oh wait, that would be Coral Gables! Probably one of the most expensive places to live in SFL therefore, probably out of her range when calculating her taxes. BTW, my children go to private schools and I still pay taxes for public schools. I am all for immigration and education for everyone. However, who do these attorney’s think we are? Her son could have been killed at McDonald’s, it was going to happen because the killer wasn’t going to stop until he got his way. We cannot put bubbles around our children. What about the massacre that happened this weekend to the family who lost 2 aunts, a grandaunt and a beautiful little girl? Who should they sue? The agency that was treating their estranged family memeber? Justice cannot bring back their family members only provide a little solace and comfort that this will not happen again. That is really all that this mother will have as well. What would I do with a million dollar settlement based on my childs life? Nothing. I could never bear the thought to buy one thing with money from the death of my precious child. How could any true and loving mother ever recieve solace from money? These lawyers no doubt are telling her that her lawsuit will bring necessary changes to increase safety for all children. I would argue she could return any awards to the school for just such a cause. I doubt it though. She will probably bury her pain in a home right in Coral Gables and hold mass at the Little Flower on the anniversary of his passing. I can only pray the 12 person panel set to hear the case be insightful enough to recognize that the true blame for this tragedy lies with one person not a large government entitiy trying to provide for the minds and development of so many. I am truly sorry she lost her child, but I cannot imagine what anyone could have done to prevent it short of him not being in the US. She shouldn’t blame herself for that either. She thought she was doing the best thing for him. Forgive yourself and move on. Is there no crime in Cuba? You sent him here for a reason. It was a failure, yes, but not in you or your son. I pray that God open your heart and teach you a real lesson about your son’s death. Life is too short, enjoy each moment. Love completely without exception and forgive those you love including yourself.

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