News and Facts about Cuba

Cuba’s Elian Gonzalez now a bearded college graduate

Cuba’s Elian Gonzalez now a bearded college graduate
ASSOCIATED PRESS

HAVANA
Elian Gonzalez, the young Cuban boy at the center of a tense 2000
international custody battle that became a cause celebre and raised
tensions on both sides of the Florida Straits, is a college graduate.

Cuban government website Cubadebate said Friday that the now 22-year-old
Gonzalez received his diploma in industrial engineering from the
of Matanzas.

Cubadebate said he read a letter from his class to former leader Fidel
Castro at the graduation ceremony in which the newly minted
professionals promised “to fight from whatever trench the revolution
demands.”

The website of the local newspaper Giron published a photograph of
Gonzalez with a full beard.

Gonzalez was 5 years old when he and his mother left Cuba in late 1999
along with others on a boat that eventually sank, killing most of its
occupants.

The boy was rescued and brought to the United States, and a bitter
custody fight broke out between his relatives there and his father back
home. The Cuban government organized massive marches to demand his return.

Protests were also held in the United States calling for Gonzalez to
remain, and the issue became a political football during the campaign
for the 2000 presidential election.

After a lengthy court battle, U.S. authorities ruled that Gonzalez
belonged with his father, who flew to the United States and returned
with his son in June 2000.

A photo of heavily armed U.S. agents seizing the terrified boy from the
arms of one of the men who rescued him from the sea became one of the
most iconic news images of its time.

Source: Cuba’s Elian Gonzalez now a bearded college graduate | In Cuba
Today – www.incubatoday.com/news/article89874767.html

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