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Elian Gonzalez, Cuban Raft Survivor, Turns 18

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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 12:54 AM
Original message
Elian Gonzalez, Cuban Raft Survivor, Turns 18
Source: Associated Press

Elian Gonzalez, Cuban Raft Survivor, Turns 18
12/ 6/11 10:02 PM ET



HAVANA -- Elian Gonzalez, the Cuban boy who survived a perilous raft journey that killed his mother and became a symbol of troubled relations between the United States and Cuba, is now an adult.

Gonzalez currently studies at a military academy on the island and took part in an 18th birthday celebration Tuesday in his native city of Cardenas alongside his father, according to images broadcast on the nightly news.

Gonzalez was shy of his sixth birthday on Thanksgiving Day 1999 when a fisherman found him off the coast of Florida, clinging to an inner tube after his mother and others fleeing Cuba drowned trying to reach American soil.

He was taken to live with relatives in Miami but his father, who was separated from his mother and had remained on the island, demanded that the boy be sent back, saying Elian was taken without his consent. The dispute turned into a headline-grabbing international custody battle that weighed heavy on the 2000 presidential race between George W. Bush and Al Gore.

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/06/elian-gonzalez...
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Rochester Donating Member (486 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 12:56 AM
Response to Original message
1. I wonder how well he remembers his time in Miami.
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WillParkinson Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 01:02 AM
Response to Original message
2. He was a cute boy...
And has grown into a handsome young man.
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bluestateguy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 01:04 AM
Response to Original message
3. It is never popular to say around here, but here it goes
If Bill Clinton had done the blatantly political pander bear thing and simply kept the boy in Miami, many things would be different today.

Gore gets enough Cuban votes in South Florida to make it not close enough to steal for Jeb and his big brother.

Gore is your 43rd president.

Maybe there is no 9/11.

No Bush tax cuts.

No Iraq War.

No royal fuckup with Hurricane Katrina.

No Roberts and Alito on the Supreme Court.

Maybe no economic meltdown in 2008.

Yes, if getting these things listed above meant keeping Elian here in the US, then that would have been well worth it.
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joshcryer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 01:11 AM
Response to Reply #3
4. Mind bogglingly alternate history theory.
Pointless, but I was entertained.
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JI7 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 01:14 AM
Response to Reply #3
5. it would have turned off an even larger number of Dems and especially Indies
Edited on Wed Dec-07-11 01:14 AM by JI7
and Gore would have lost some other states . and Bush really would have won Florida without it being close and no contested election.
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alp227 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 09:16 PM
Response to Reply #5
24. I was in 3rd grade during the Gonzalez saga
explain why you as a Dem voter would support returning Elian to his dad in Cuba rather than granting the boy asylum.
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JI7 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 09:53 PM
Response to Reply #24
26. same reason most parents in America get custody of their kids
there was no evidence elian was in any danger if he were to go back to cuba. his mother came in the first place to follow some boyfriend, not for political reasons or anything else where her life was in danger.

in fact the family in Florida had a background of not being fit to care for him. they were mostly thugs, criminals etc. look below at reply to my other post . the uncle became violent on tv once also. that family also coerced elian to appear on video and say some crap.
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Skittles Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 01:46 AM
Response to Reply #3
9. ends justifying the means scenario
truth was, they had no reason not to send him back
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Ter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 02:40 AM
Response to Reply #3
10. You were on a roll until you mentioned Roberts and Alito
That came after 2004. Had Gore won, odds are heavy he would have lost. This country doesn't like more than three elections of the same political party in a row. Right now, it may be down to two. If Obama wins, I already have lost hope for 2016.
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BlueMTexpat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 03:02 AM
Response to Reply #3
11. the hard-line and radical RW Cuban-American community would NEVER under ANY
circumstances have voted for Gore in 2000. You may be confusing them with the younger generation who are much more open to regularizing status with Cuba. Many of them may not even have been able to vote in 2000.

If Rethugs really walked their "family values" talk, which they in no way do - witness Newtie's current frontrunner status (and McCain's for that matter) - they would certainly have understood that a non-abusive father's right to his child supersedes a claim by relatives other than the mother in any legal system worth its salt.

Your alternative take on the history of the era is interesting but certainly disregards a lot of more relevant facts around the stolen 2000 election.
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SemperEadem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 06:25 AM
Response to Reply #3
13. at the end of the day
the father was being denied his rights AS that boy's father by relatives in the US.

For Clinton to have interfered in that would solidified the assumed message sent to every man in this country that
when it comes to their children, they have no rights that needs be recognized by any court in the land and the mother and/or her family's rights will always trump
his and/or his family's.

Him being returned to his his father was the right thing to do.

That election was stolen and the fix was in before folks went to the polls.
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customerserviceguy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 06:26 AM
Response to Reply #3
14. I agree with everything except 9/11
The perpetrators of that day were already in the US on the day of the election. There's no doubt in my mind that it still would have happened. But maybe we wouldn't have had a Patriot Act. I doubt the Repukes would have given Gore the powers that they gave to Bush.
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eridani Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 07:23 AM
Response to Reply #14
15. Gore would not have ignored the August 6th memo
Granted, that doesn't guarantee anything, but our chances would have been a lot better.
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waddirum Donating Member (106 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 10:49 AM
Response to Reply #3
16. I also play those mind games
If only this or that had happened (and any number of things would apply), Gore would have won Florida and the subsequent shit storm of events never would have occurred. It's disheartening as hell to keep thinking this, but I do it. I'm still not remotely over the stolen election of 2000.
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Lydia Leftcoast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 01:39 PM
Response to Reply #3
18. Gore was a founding member of the DLC, so I don't imagine quite as rosy
a picture as you do. I have never trusted him, especially not after his lackluster, "me too" campaign against Bush. That election should have been a walkover with a laughably incompetent opponent. How could anyone campaign as badly as he did except on purpose?

In particular, the Clinton administration was already bombing Iraq, so we may well have had an Iraq War, and Clinton was the one who signed the repeal of Glass-Steagall, so we still would have had the economic meltdown.

There's very little space between the Republican and DLC stances on economic issues, so I wouldn't have been surprised at tax cuts.

The only things I'll admit to are that a Gore administration would have handled Katrina better and that Gore would have appointed CENTER-right-wingers instead of HARD right-wingers to the Supreme Court.
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harun Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 02:06 PM
Response to Reply #3
19. And you might have a neo-con like Lieberman as President. Ever think of that?
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LanternWaste Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 02:21 PM
Response to Reply #3
20.  Rule of law can often be inconvenient if we predicate them on
"Yes, if getting these things listed above meant keeping Elian here in the US..."


Rule of law can often be inconvenient if we predicate their results via shaking a Magic 8 Ball.


"All signs point to yes!" :eyes:
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JI7 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 01:15 AM
Response to Original message
6. he looks just like his dad , his family in Florida were thugs , he is better off now
than if he had stayed with them.
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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 01:29 AM
Response to Reply #6
7. You've got that right. Two of his cousins, the Cid brothers are both pathetic criminals,
at least two of his great uncles in Miami are perpetual alcoholics, one of them the one petioning for guardianship being a chronic alcoholic himself, and his cousin, Marisleysis, given to wild hysterical outbursts had to be hospitalized, they claimed, for a nervous breakdown during the seizure of their own nephew's (Juan Miguel, a former policeman in Cuba) son.



Elian, in 2010.


From an article published at the time:
A Family Portrait
Meet Luis and Jos Cid, Elian Gonzalez's Miami cousins, just a couple of good old-fashioned American criminals
By Lissette Corsa and Jim DeFede and Robert Andrew Powell Thursday, Jan 20 2000

~snip~
The worldwide attention being paid to Elian's case has transformed nearly all his local relatives into celebrities. An older woman came forward and asked if she could have her photograph taken with Cid. He graciously complied. The woman quickly stood next to him and smiled broadly as her husband took a snapshot.

With any luck it will turn out to be a better picture than the unflattering mug shot taken of Luis Cid by county jailers four months ago. According to police reports and court records, the 32-year-old was arrested by Miami police on September 7 and charged with strong-arm robbery after he and an accomplice assaulted and robbed a tourist in Little Havana. The robbery took place about a half-mile from where Elian is now living. Cid is free on bond while awaiting trial next month.

This isn't Luis Cid's first encounter with law enforcement and the courts. In 1994 he was arrested on felony charges of carrying a concealed weapon and resisting arrest with violence. Also that year his ex-wife sought a permanent injunction against him alleging domestic violence, according to court records. In 1995 she sued him for child support. In 1998 he was arrested once more, this time on felony firearms and prowling charges.

Cid's twin brother also visits his uncle's Little Havana home to socialize with Elian. Jos Cid, like his brother, has had a history of encounters with police, a lengthy history. Between 1986 and 1990 he was arrested at least five times on felony charges including burglary, grand theft, and robbery with force, according to court records. In 1994 he was arrested on charges of petit larceny. (New Times was unable to confirm before press time the judicial outcome of the various criminal charges brought against the Cid brothers. Efforts to interview the brothers for this story also were unsuccessful.)
More:
http://www.miaminewtimes.com/2000-01-20/news/a-family-p... /


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Skittles Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 01:45 AM
Response to Original message
8. I hope he is doing well
Edited on Wed Dec-07-11 01:46 AM by Skittles
I felt they made the correct decision back then, sending him back to a non-abusive parent
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JohnnyRingo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 03:16 AM
Response to Original message
12. Pawn....
The poor kid found himself dropped onto a political chessboard when one side was looking about desparately for a distraction. He was the Cuban version of a Terry Schiavo who arrived just when a party needed a God given conservative photo-op.

Whether or not Elian grew up under the stars & stripes or "the collective spirit" is inconsequential as long as he served his purpose for both sides.

Happy anniversary, Tool.
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Lydia Leftcoast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 01:33 PM
Response to Original message
17. Oh gee, I remember some of the Miami Cubans posting on websites in those days
One said: "If you send Elian back to Cuba, he'll die!"

Obviously, he hasn't.

And don't get me started on his relatives (who were, by the way, his father's relatives, not his mother's relatives).

What made the case even more clear cut was that Elian's parents had joint custody and that the boy already spent half of his time with his father. They already had a close relationship.

At the time, my church was sponsoring a genuine political refugee from Cuba--she had been jailed for dissident activities-- and even she said that all the talk of Elian's mother taking him to America for "freedom" was nonsense. "She was just following her boyfriend."
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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 02:31 PM
Response to Reply #17
21. Sounds as if you may have seen CNN's own Elian message board!
Those "exiles" were monsters. Never too decent to take a good hard kick at anyone who thought it was wrong for the family of the dfrunken great uncle to steal the child from his father. You may remember their excessive nastiness toward CNN's posters.

Ann Bardach. former NY Times writer, and even MSNBC's Keith Morrison both have written, along with others, that the trip taken by Elian's mother, Elisabet Broton was specifically undertaken to be anle to go with her boyfriend, Lazaro Munero, to Miami, where he had been living for a while. Both quote his Miami relatives stating that when he was in the States, he could only talk about bringing her over to Miami to live with him.

Ann Bardach covered it extensively in Cuba Confidential: Love and Vengeance in Miami and Havana and went to both Cuba and Miami for information.

A summary of her book at Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/Cuba-Confidential-Vengeance-Miami...

Here's information from NBC's Keith Morrison:
MSNBC
January 17, 2000
Elians story: Dateline' in Havana

~snip~
And Elizabets mother is convinced her daughter would
never have considered leaving if it hadnt been for an affair
that had nothing to do with politics. Over there the
politicians and senators are saying that the boy should stay
because that was his mothers wish, says Raquel
Rodriguez. What wish? What do they know about it if they
didnt even know her? Im the one who knows. Im her
mother.

THE MAN IN THE MIDDLE

So, what happened then? If life was so idyllic, why in
heavens name would she leave? The answer is: a man, says
the family, without whom we would have heard none of this.

~snip~
Not many in Cardenas do. He and Elizabet, both
divorced, began seeing each other in 1997. It was an
intense affair, say their friends, which seemed, nevertheless,
to come to an abrupt end a year later when Lazaro joined
the Cuban exodus and took a boat to Florida.
But it was not a happy ending for Lazaro. All he ever
did when he was here was talk about how he missed his
family, Elizabet, and the kid, says Lazaros uncle in
Florida, Jorge Munero.
More:
http://www.latinamericanstudies.org/elian/dateline.htm
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lolly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 07:16 PM
Response to Reply #21
23. Yes, that's another point that always got lost
Everyone seemed eager to paint the mother as a martyr to freedom.

But I always wondered how a mother who loved her son could expose him to that risk to be with her boyfriend.
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lunatica Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 03:31 PM
Response to Original message
22. That's a wonderful photograph of him
It could have been taken by a professional who shoots actors.
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alp227 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 09:18 PM
Response to Reply #22
25. Duh, it's GETTY IMAGES!
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lunatica Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-08-11 05:39 AM
Response to Reply #25
27. It's a crowd shot, not to be mistaken with a posed one
Edited on Thu Dec-08-11 05:41 AM by lunatica
Like the one's that professional photographers take of actors.

But you're just too smart to get it I guess. Continue your snark though. You have a right to it.
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