The Saga Of Elian Gonzalez

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The Saga of Elian Gonzalez More and more people sail away from Cuba to the United States every year. The usual reason is to move from Fidel Castro and his rules, although many other reasons are obviously important enough for them to risk their lives; a reason like trying to escape from her ex-husband and landing with tragedy. A choice has to be made while dealing with all of the Cuban frustration: do I live or risk my life along with thirteen others?
Among the heart wrenching events which happen worldwide every year, few have come close to the well-known saga of Elian Gonzalez and his family.
In 1999, many Cubans left Cuba to sail to the United States. The Coast Guard picked up more than 1,300 rafters; more than double the number in 1998. The distance between Cuba and the mainland is less than 150 miles(Ramo 62). Most fleeing Cubans make the trip from Cuba to America the old fashioned way: in a rickety craft with weak motors. A good trip takes about ten hours, while a bad trip goes on for days. Sailing the
Atlantic could be eternal during a storm, as Cubans are swept away. At least sixty people have paid the price of venturing each year(64).
Caught up in freedom fever was Elisabet Gonzalez, who had been dating small-time Cuban hustler, Lazero Munero, since 1997. During the summer of 1998,
Munero and three friends made the trip to America on a tiny boat. That fall he went back to Cuba because he was heartsick from his family and Elisabet. A few months after his jail release for escaping, he began persuading Elisabet to join him on a second getaway.
He also began to advertise the trip to others in their town at one thousand dollars ahead, then he began patching up an old boat and envinrude fifty horse power outboard motor.
When they set out that Sunday, Munero packed rations of water, bread, cheese, and hot dogs for his fifteen passengers. At four thirty A.M. they set to sea with hopes of arriving in Miami before the next sunrise. After less than a mile, the engine failed and Munero returned to shore, while passenger Arianne Horta nervously put her five year old daughter back on land. The group, now fourteen strong, set off again the next morning, but that night during a storm just south of the Florida Keys, the motor failed again. It left the boat more vulnerable to the tumbling seas. The group decided they would be better off by
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