Elián Gonzalez story: The cold war era Cuban star, Fidel Castro, was one of the main personalities that sent shivers down the US spine. And, maybe the USA will get a déjà vu soon. As, there are signs that Castroism is about to be revived in Cuba.
Story of Elián Gonzalez
To understand the resurgence of Castroism in Cuba you have to be familiar with the story of Elián Gonzalez. For that, let’s replay 1999.
A bunch of Cubans board a makeshift raft with Elizabeth Brotons, her boyfriend, and her 5-year-old son Elián Gonzalez. They are travelling 90 miles across the Florida Straits in search of political asylum. Sadly, a storm strikes the sea and the young boy gets separated from his mother, who drowns along with a dozen other passengers.
Elián Gonzalez is then found by two fishermen, three miles off the coast of Fort Lauderdale in a swell. The anti-communist Cuban community of South Florida regarded his safe rescue as nothing short of a miracle. In Miami, Florida, Elian is given to his paternal family. However, the boy made the US react like a cat on a hot tin roof.
Days later, armed agents with tear gas and guns swarm the Gonzalez family, turning the raid into a media sensation.
Elián reunited with his father and stepmother, but, he won’t be deported back. Here, in Cuba, Fidel Castro has left no stone unturned to criticize Bill Clinton for keeping the boy. Riots break out in several residential complexes of the Cuban-American community.
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However, the Supreme Court ultimately rejects the Miami relatives’ efforts, and Elián is returned to Cuba. The boy returns to Cuba to a really enthusiastic welcome from Castro. He will be protected by government bodyguards for many years afterward, with Castro calling him his second son.
What is Elián Gonzalez doing now?
Elián González is set to make a significant impact in Cuban politics in 2023, as he is nominated for a top position in the National Assembly. And, it comes as no surprise that Castroism runs in Gonzalez’s veins.
In a rare 2019 interview, Gonzalez stressed, “I don’t profess to have any religion, but if I did my God would be Fidel Castro.” In another interview with CNN in 2017, González made clear that he planned to continue vocally supporting the government that brought him home.
“Living here is a debt I owe to the Cuban people,” González had said. “That’s who I will always work and fight for.”
Castroism Returns in Cuba
Everyone can see the boy is greatly motivated by Castro’s legacy. And, that is the reason for the Cuban Communist Party to elevate him to a higher level.
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Elián Gonzalez still carries the buried animosity against the US inside him. An insignificant political issue traumatized a 5-year-old boy. At a time when the 60-year-old rivalry has heated up again, the very same boy is becoming a well-known face of Cuba and his story of can be the spark that will bring Castroism back into Cuba.
Cuba, are you ready for another Castro? We hope the USA is.
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