Friday, September 30, 2005

MIAMI, Florida (AP) -- Elian Gonzalez, the Cuban boy at the center of an international custody battle five years ago, calls Cuban President Fidel Castro his friend and says he hopes someday to see his Miami family again.
"Despite everything they did, it was wrong, they are (still) my family ... my uncles," the boy said in an interview with CBS's "60 Minutes." Excerpts were released Thursday for the program that airs Sunday night.
Elian, now 11, set off a seven-month custody battle after he was rescued off the Florida coast in 1999 during a failed attempt to reach the United States. His mother died at sea, and his Miami relatives and Cuban exile groups fought to prevent his return to Cuba.
The boy was reunited with his father in Cuba -- his legal guardian -- after an armed federal raid April 22, 2000, on his relatives' home. Since then Elian has been treated as a hero in Cuba; Castro had him give a highly publicized speech on the fifth anniversary of the Miami raid.
The boy in the interview said he considers Castro "not only as a friend, but also as a father."
CBS spokesman Kevin Tedesco said "60 Minutes" interviewed Gonzalez for 70 minutes three weeks ago at a museum in Cardenas, Cuba, the boy's hometown. He said the boy's father was present, but there were no Cuban monitors or officials and no ground rules.
In the interview, Elian said he had always told his U.S. relatives he wanted to go back to Cuba.
The boy's aunt, Angela Gonzalez, told The Associated Press on Thursday that she isn't sure whether Elian truly believes what he said in the interview. She said family members in the United States have been prevented from having any contact with the boy.
"We love him. He is always on our minds," said Angela Gonzalez, who had custody of Elian in the United States.


I feel so horribly for this boy. He is being brainwashed by both the Americans and the Cubans, caught in a crossfire, being made an archetype, a symbolic figure, communism against democracy. Of course the little Cuban boy becomes communist, it only makes sense. Angela Gonzalez doesn't have her toes in the stew so she's shittin a brick. At such a distance, she can't use her superhuman American brainwashing power to make Elian like guns and NASCAR instead of communism.

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