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

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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?

  • Thanks Moses, I am regarded by some of my political friends as a “pinko” as I have constantly opposed three right wing concepts. Those are de-regulation, self-regulation and user-pay. Deregulation in the food industry would result in food poisoning – increased regulation is required. Self-regulation (particularly in the accountancy and medical worlds) results in Enron (Andersons) and miss-treated patients being unable to sustain claims against medical defence funds. User-pay results in some single abandoned parents being unable to provide sustenance for their children who are part of the future for our society – I am prepared to pay tax to help in their support All three of the above concepts sound attractive to many, perhaps including the “Birchers”.

  • This interview on American TV by Elian is just another propaganda attempt by the Castro oligarchy to soften its image and try to convince the American public to remove the left overs of the Cuban embargo!

  • Dan, before responding to your comments above, please refer back to the response I gave to your questions regarding the “peoples beach”.
    When I am in Cuba I am unable to partake in the Havana Times blogs because the Castro family regime (note that is what I call it because hat is what it is) does not allow access to the Internet being frightened of Cubans getting to know what is actually happening in the free world.
    I have never made any comment about the danger for HT bloggers in commenting about the regime.
    You are correct in stating that Cuba is a police state.
    Not everything in Cuba is bad, the people are a delight, the country is beautiful. The people working in the medical system do a wonderful job despite the crumbling facilities. The school teachers are dedicated despite having to put up cult of the personalities posters and work surrounded by quotations and slogans from their political masters. If you have read my contributions you will have noted such comments.
    Yes, the people of Cuba are compelled to comply with the self-promoting policies of the regime – they have no alternative other than to leave their homeland and many have done so.
    The only reason that the regime tolerates visitors to Cuba and people like myself, is that they need the hard currency.
    Yes, I agree that the hope that sustains the majority of Cubans is that one day the regime will rot and the rays of freedom will shine upon them.
    Moses and I have in common a knowledge of the reality of Cuba, being married to Cubans and in consequence being members of Cuban families. That has significance because “la familia’ is the essence of Cuban social life and culture.
    As an American immigration lawyer, you will be well aware of the deep desire of so many Cubans to immigrate to your country. You will also be aware of the numbers of them who have sacrificed their lives endeavoring to achieve that end.
    I have no desire to enter the US or to achieve residency there but thank you for your professional opinion regarding status. I should add however that I have visited your country several times and received wonderful hospitality extending from Southern Arizona to Seattle Washington. Having as a fourteen year old had the privilege of hearing the great Paul Robeson performing in the UK – prior to the US confiscating his passport and being aware of his
    speech to the United Nations and of his rejected request to President Truman to introduce a law banning lynching, I am also aware of the depth of discrimination within your country.
    You will note that I have both in regard to Cuba and the US expressed both respect for that which is good and criticism of that which is not. You obviously Dan find much to admire in the Castro family regime and I don’t.
    I should be allowed to set foot in Cuba because I am married to a Cuban and have my home there. I have a great love for both the people and the country. You obviously think that criticism of a one party, one family dictatorial regime should exclude me, is that a reflection of your personal, political or legal opinions?
    My views based on personal experience and knowledge of Cuba obviously get up your nose. So just sneeze!

  • Carlyle, you make me laugh. You say you live in Cuba. You apparently dedicate hours per day blathering on every post at HT about “Socialismo” and “The Castro Family Dictatorship”, which is responsible for all that is bad (everything), in Cuba. Nothing can be accomplished according to you, until the system is replaced. Cuba is a police state, which monitors HT, and doesn’t allow Cubans to read it. You and Moses have told us dozens of times how dangerous it supposedly is for the HT bloggers. I am an American immigration lawyer. I can tell you that if the shoe were on the other foot and your attitudes and actions were directed to the US, there is no way, if known, you would get a B-2 visa or be admissible for permanent residency. Explain then why the Castro Dictatorship put up with a viejito pesado such as yourself, and why you should even be allowed to set foot in Cuba.

  • One of the difficulties for socialist fellow travellers is that they fail to understand that the USSR, China under Mao Tse Tung, North Korea and Cuba are Marxism in reality. Somehow there are still people living in a socialist/communist theoretical Utopia who try to excuse the practising Marxists by protesting that it is something else. Who to blame for the repeated failures of Socialist/communist regimes? Obviously, blame the capitalists.
    As one who lives most of the time in Cuba, I can assure you that Cubans do not have the opportunity to become pigs – the rations are insufficient.
    You may be unaware that the Communist Party of Cuba actually does have a Propaganda Department. Dr. Goebbels that ardent National Socialist would have admired it.
    Regarding my “sounding like McCarthy back in the 50’s” it was the USA political system which gave him the opportunity to wield his power. he is your history not mine. I thank goodness have always been a citizen of democratic multi-party countries although my previously described experiences of USSR Communism in Austria and of living in Occupied Germany served to broaden experience. I fail to comprehend your comment about the birch, although it was used to chastise miscreants in some schools.
    Communism is alive and well in Cuba. Raul Castro having been a dedicated communist since 1954. The Graduation ceremony for Havana University is held in the Karl Marx Theatre on Ist Avenue, Mirimar in mid July. I somehow think that you have actually no experience of communism in practice.

  • If you want an example of a proud citizen of Cuba to admire then take the example of the late Tefilo Stevenson. He was very much his own man not a Castro family regime puppet. Tefilo is assured of a permanent place in Cuba’s history and in World sporting history.
    Being a Hero of the Republic of Cuba is awarded to those who serve the propaganda purposes of Socialismo.

  • I thought all of you Birchers had died. Marxist Communism is as dead as a door nail. The Russians, Chinese, Cubans have all become Capitalist pigs. You sound like McCarthy back in the 50’s.

  • Well, I for one hope our “reset” with Cuba works out better than the one with Russia did. The embargo should have ended a long time ago, but I think the saying “old habits die hard” is very applicable to both sides in this. Thankfully, there are still some adults left in politics. Obama and Raul managed to take a step back and look at things rationally and I applaud them for that.

    Unfortunately, there are few adults left in Congress. I fear the embargo will be sticking around until we get a new President in 2016 at the earliest, and only then if its a Democrat (Likely, given the poor crop of candidates on the right). Baby steps for now I guess

  • You meant to say the arrogance of one man named Castro…right?

  • Why not, he has family here. I would like to visit Cuba sometimes too, it’s tourism, good for business.

  • The US should refuse to give a visa to a young man who is now totally indoctrinated and is being used as a tool by the Propaganda Department of the Communist Party of Cuba. He can say his thanks by sending blogs!

  • Elian wants to visit the U.S?
    Here’s what I say to him:
    “Come back and visit the UnitedStates, as a proud citizen of Cuba, which stood up to the arrogance of its greedy and lusty behemoth of a neighbor. Know that America is not all bad. This country has excelled in many endeavors. Learn from it what is good, and take it back to your charming country. Leave out all the warts, moles and deformities, for they’re worthless.”

  • Careful, if he comes he may not leave.

  • Elian spent years excoriating the evil Yanqui imperialists maybe he should stay in Cuba.

  • The regime has pampered this young man his entire life since his return to Cuba. Just over a year ago he told the US media that he blames the US for his mother’s death because of the US embargo and the wet foot / dry foot immigration policy. He also said he considers Fidel Castro like a father. It’s obvious that the new love that he has for the American people is part of the Castro propaganda machine’s plan to put a smiley face on the beastly image of the Castro regime.

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