The Fight Over Elian Gonzalez

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The Fight Over Elian Gonzalez

It began on Thanksgiving day, in November, 1999, when two fisherman pulled the body of a five year old cuban boy out of the waters off the coast of Florida. The boy was Elian Gonzalez. He was one of three survivors of a group of Cuban refugees seeking political asylum and freedom from communist Cuba under Fidel Castro's rule. Elian's mother, Elisabeth Brotons, along with her common-law husband and nine others, drowned when the boat carrying them to the United States capsized and sank. Elisabeth Broton's husband, Lazaro Munero, was apparently trying to smuggle his family and the others into the United States, charging the others one-thousand dollars for the trip. When the boat took on water, two large truck innertubes were used as flotation devices in an attempt to remain alive. After more than a day adrift at sea, Elian was found alone clinging to one of the innertubes off shore near Fort Lauderdale. He was dehydrated, sun-stricken, and emotionally scarred from watching those around him perish in the vast ocean; but he was alive.

Elian was released into the temporary custody of his great-uncle, Lazaro Gonzalez, after being released from Joe Dimmaggio Children's Hospital in Hollywood, Florida. Lazaro Gonzalez, along with his daughter, Marisleysis Gonzalez, brought Elian to their South Florida home in Miami's Little Havana section to shelter him from media attention until future arrangements involving his father could be made.

"God wanted him here for freedom," said Elian's second-cousin Marisleysis, "And he's here and he will get it."

Meanwhile back in Cuba, Elian's natural father, Juan Miguel Gonzalez, began requesting the return of his son. He strongly disapproved asylum for his son an...

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...attention over the United States courts, government officials, and Fidel Castro as to who's doing what, when and why, are we losing sight over who is really important and what is truly at stake? Elian's life was greatly impacted by the Miami relatives after tragically losing his mother. Now he is at risk of losing the only stability he has known for the past five months, but is that enough to keep a boy from his father? Either way, Elian will lose since the chances of both sides of the family ever coming together agian to make some kind agreement are practically zero. Maybe Elian would have a better life and more opportunities in the United States, but he would not have a better life being separated from his father. Whatever the outcome, the peoples of both the United States of America and Cuba will be greatly impacted for years to come because of a boy named Elian.
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