Cuban “Rafter” Elian González Wants to Visit USA

Elian Gonzalez. Photo:

HAVANA TIMES — Elian Gonzalez, the 6-year-old rafter survivor who became the face of the confrontation between Cuba and the United States in 2000, said he wants to visit Miami, 15 years after his return to the island, reported dpa news.

“I want to take this opportunity to thank the American people for their love” said Gonzalez, 21, in an interview in English whose first excerpts were released today by the ABC television network.

Gonzalez was found adrift by fishermen in the Atlantic in 1999. He was the only survivor of a capsized raft in which his mother and ten others fled Cuba.

“I was floating in the sea, that’s the last thing I remember,” he said in an interview to be released in parts throughout the day.

Elian’s rescue generated an international child custody battle between his father, Juan Miguel Gonzalez, and his relatives in Miami. In April 2000, armed federal agents entered the house in Miami where he was being held and sent him back to Cuba.

The former “rafter child” is now a young student of 21 who lives in Matanzas province, east of Havana.

Gonzalez said in the interview he is not angry with his relatives in the United States and said he would be willing to visit them in Miami.

“Maybe one day I can visit the United States. There I could thank personally thank the people who helped us, who were on our side. I am grateful for what they did,” said the young man, who is considered a hero by the Cuban government.

“We are proud of him as the youngest of our heroes,” said the President Raul Castro, in December last year at a session of Parliament.

Cuba and the United States are in the process of resumption of relations after more than half a century of ideological confrontation. In a surprise announcement in December 2014, the two countries said they would resume relations broken off unilaterally by the US in 1961.

19 thoughts on “Cuban “Rafter” Elian González Wants to Visit USA

  • May 21, 2015 at 8:23 am

    The Russian and Chinese regimes have become Fascists, not capitalists, which is to say militaristic, nationalist dictatorships with the economy controlled by monopolist corporations, often state-owned in key industries. These neo-fascist regimes are quite happy to form partnerships with foreign multinational corporations, while keeping the corrupting influences of democracy & human rights at bay.

    Cuba under Raul Castro is in the process of transforming from a Marxist-Leninist state to the Chinese model of a neo-fascist state. The US President, & the state subsidized agri-business corporations backing Obama’s new Cuba policy, are eager to help Castro in this transition to fascism.

    It is more than a little shocking to read the comments of many here at HT, who previously condemned predatory corporation and US imperialism in Cuba, and are now supporting Obama’s new Cuba policy. The Castro regime will use the coming influx of money to secure their grip on power. The Cuban workers will be slaved out at the cheapest labour costs in the hemisphere. Raul Castro has ruled out any political change. His MININT police are clamping down on dissidents harder than they have in years.

    The future for Cuba will be no democracy, no freedom, & no human rights for the Cuban people. The Castro regime elite will become richer and more powerful than ever before, while foreign corporations can turn a tidy profit. US tourists will enjoy Cuba’s lovely beaches and fine rum, while the man who’s face is on the t-shirts worn by the new Yanqui tourists spins in his grave.

    Basta siempre de victoria, el fascismo ahora!

  • May 20, 2015 at 4:49 pm

    I have not suggested any limitation upon visas for anybody. Don’t confuse my standards with those of your own country. After all Ruth it is the ‘most democratic country in the world” that denied its citizens visas to visit Cuba and as I recorded took away Robeson’s passport. Like the embargo, I am convinced that the policy was counter to US interests. I would open the doors of travel, not restrict them. For example I would welcome visits by North Koreans to Canada – and I hope you would similarly welcome them visiting the US.
    Currently I require a visa to visit Cuba and have permission to stay for up to six months. My wife as a Cuban has a multi-visit visa to Canada extending for five years.

  • May 20, 2015 at 12:05 pm

    So- all of the USA citizens who have been indoctrinated to believe that the USA is the most democratic country in the world should be denied visas to travel to other countries? Does your standards apply to ALL countries?

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