tv CNN Films Elian CNN August 24, 2017 7:00pm-9:00pm PDT
technician. smith's mom said he was a great young man who truly loved his navy, family and ship mates. two of these men were in their 30s most were in their 20s. they had their whole lives ahead of them. we thank them. thank you for watching 360. the cnn film elian starts now. >> announcer: cnn films presented by volkswagen.
>> i remember that day very vividly. it was thanksgiving. it was pitch black to the north and to the east was like this ray of light coming up where the sun was starting to come up. they called me the fisherman. i really hadn't been out fishing a lot. my cousin sam he's more of a fisherman than me. he said look for sea weed and debris, anything floating on the ocean surface. maybe like three miles off the coast i said like that inner
tube right there? he said go over there. >> i said to my cousin look it was a sick joke. we thought it was a doll tied to an inner tube. >> we're rocking all over the boat. all of a sudden i see the hand move. >> he goes hurry. go. go. go. before i can blink my eyes my cousin isn't on the boat any longer. he's screaming it's a baby. >> i reached over and tried to get back over to the boat. >> i'm trying not to fall into the water. he's trying to push up. i grabbed this child and my cousin got on the phone with his wife. >> 3911 what's your emergency? >> my husband found a child and he has him on the phone. >> the local news stations were out there on helicopters
[ man speaking in foreign language ] >> from the ocean waters off the coast of florida tonight a real life thanksgiving story. >> found him clipging to an inner tube. >> part of a group of 13 rafters. >> elian's mother is believed to have drowned. he has cousins he just met in miami. >> this is the story of a little boy from cuba whose mother died bringing him to freedom in the united states. maybe it's the story of a boy ship wrecked in miami whose cuban father just wanted him
back. it was always supposed to be elian's story although a lot of other people would try and make it their own. >> the first thing that came to my mind how did he survive by himself when he's only five. i can only say it's just a miracle. god wanted him here for freedom and he's here and he will get it. >> i never forget. he was sitting there. he was about to have soup. the first thing i said was don't eat that. he looked straight up at me and he's like is it bad? i said yes don't eat that. we'll get you something better than that. that moment was our first connection. after that he would always ask me for everything. every raft that came from cuba you could see on tv. when i saw the press there, to me it was normal. that's what they're there for. >> when elian and his cousin
waved good-bye from the hospital the next day the story could have ended there. another cuban rafter makes his home in miami. like so many cuban familiars the gonzalez clan had come apart in the years of fidel castro's revolution. from the small town on cuba's north coast aunts an uncles of elian's father made their way across the border into the united states. the eldest of elian's great uncles came in the late 1970s after spending years as a political prisoner in castro's jails. he found a quiet left in the
florida keys. his younger brother followed with his two wife and children. he worked as an auto body repairman but struggled to find a steady job. his daughter arrived in the united states when she was elian's age. at 21 she processed loans at a local bank and dreamed of opening a hair salon. >> i'm told of all the family members you're the one elian bonded with the most. do you feel that bond sfchlt. >> i sure do. i feel like he's been my brother since a little kid. [ speaking foreign language ]
>> maybe two days later i got a call from good morning america. they asked me if i would like to reunite with elian gonzalez. i said i would love to. >> what's your name so? >> donado. >> some people go out fishing for treasuries. for me this is a treasury. to see this gift of god -- i believe that's what he is. i don't know how long he hung on in the water. it's a gift from god. >> that's awesome. >> thank you so much. >> what a beautiful kid. he is beautiful. >> yeah. >> it's weird to think when he grows up. >> so if this little boy has to go back to cuba it would really break your heart, wouldn't it? sorry.
>> we were all so scared to ask him what happened. there was that day where he said when i woke up and my mom was not there. she must have drowned. she drowned. i swallowed real hard an grind my teeth not to cry. i look to him and said she's always watching over you. don't ever say your mom is dead. she has to always live in your heart. ♪ [ speaking foreign language ]
and boyfriend took elian away on a boat hoping to start their lives over in the united states. frantic to find them juan miguel and his parents began calling relatives in miami. almost from the start the two families were talking past each other. [ speaking foreign language ] >> i remember my dad saying that you know when miguel says to take care of him so he could come over here. in the beginning of everything i had a picture he was going to come and stay. i was like, wow, my whole family is going to be reunited. >> juan miguel's family were rooted comfortably in cuban.
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>> how's it going? good. good to see you. >> you've got some gifts there. >> as soon as elian's rescue made the local news uninvited guests began to ascend on the gonzalez home in havana. one of the first was this man from the cuban national foundation. >> we saw this young boy who lost his mother at sea. i thought the cuban american
national foundation should use this as messaging of a human story, a human tragedy. that's why we brought attention to something we needed to stop. >> this is a typical tragic miami story that has to do with people trying to leave cuba and drowning at sea. we sent it out to a lot of different media. all of a sudden it became a national story. >> they made t-shirts with elian's picture on it. it caught the interest of fidel castro immediately. it made fidel castro focus laser beam on elian and said i'm going to use this opportunity to get back at the miami community and he did it perfectly. [ speaking foreign language ]
>> nbc news in-depth the struggle over a little boy. >> even his new puppy came from a member of congress. >> on sunday castro demanded the u.s. return the boy in 72 hour. >> the white house doesn't want this to become a big incident. >> america has determined enemies who hate our values. >> we've just begun to fight. >> of course i would rather grow
up in the united states, but there may be other considerations there. >> cuban officials promising twice as many protesters today as this country units around a powerful symbol of a 6-year-old boy. >> the elian case was a very important national unifying thing. there was a moment in the long history of confrontation between cuba and the u.s. >> the up rising that brought fidel castro to power in 1959 over through a brutal dictatorship closely allied with the united states. the revolutionary promised a more just society even as castro received his power quickly and
roouslessly. cubans began threeing to miami. it continued as castro confiscated private property. >> are you a communist fidel? >> wait for the history. the history will say what we are. >> with castro drawing closer to the soviets the american government punished cuba with an economic e-mail bar go. then it backed a cuban invasion by exiles at the bay of pigs. the bitter exiles would blame their defeat on the american's half hearted support. castro revealed in his victory. it gave him enemies in miami and washington that he would exploit for years to come.
>> it was really kind of a red neck town. it was a southern, tough, good old boy white town. then into this atmosphere comes thousands of spanish speaking refugees bringing this fire in their heart from having to flee their home land. >> washington came the refugees a special status. the cubans didn't see themselves as immigrants. they were exiles waiting to seize their country back from castro. >> we came here to fight for our freedom and get back to our home land. >> hard line exiles turned violently in almost anyone they saw being soft on the communists. >> there was fear and actual domestic terrorism directed at
modern voices in the cuban community. if you spoke out, you took your life in your hands. there were people getting blown up in their automobiles. >> we will keep sending people into the island to keep the sabotage and actions the regime until cuba be free again. >> the miami cubans found their own leader. this wealthy business man united the exiles. >> the cuban national foundation has provided an anti-doet to the big lie of castro's cuba. >> with generous donations from washington the foundation would gain virtual veto power over u.s.'s policy towards cuba. >> every presidential candidate would come down and make a
speech about how rotten and awful fidel castro was. it was totally cynical and shallow and nothing changed. >> i saw castro the other night on television and he's not looking good. you are going to win. i'm going to be down here and i'm going to watch you win. i don't know what capacity -- i'll either be the greatest developer in the country or the greatest president that you've had in a long time. i'm not sure. >> the collapse of cuba's economy tore at the revolution's proud achievements in education and health and stirred popular discontent. castro responded by unleashing a new wave of my grants to the united states. he allowed them to leave only aboard whatever rafts or boats they could build themselves.
sensing castro's weakness, they tried to ratchet up the cooperation from washington. castro did not fall and once again he propped up his regime by as sailing his favorite target. >> castro was always looking for someone to blame. he was waiting for someone from the exile community to say something inflammatory. if it didn't exist cat tro could have in vevented him. >> in late 1997 jorge died of cancer leading his sons to lead a new generation of cuban americans. >> when my father passed away, our struggle continued.
my father always looked forward. it was going to be tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow. castro is going to fall tomorrow. >> weakened leaders were looking for something to rally their tired supporters. [ crowd chanting ] >> the cold war never ended in miami. a mother died getting her kid out of cuba to get him to freedom. of course we're going to hold
that child. we don't want him to go back. [ singing in foreign language ] >> we need him here. >> i think he should stay here with the family. he has no future. he's got no life in cuba. >> the mother died to be free. that is what she wanted in the last moment. >> we have a role to play in protecting freedom. when people risk everything to come, even if they're a 5-year-old kid, they thought to be allowed to stay. [ speaking foreign language ] >> supporters of elian gonzalez say they saw a different side of the 6-year-old. a boy filled with joy and
happiness at the disney world visit. e family spokesman said he showed some signs of his ordeal at sea when he went on the ride it's a small world. >> he was a little frightened on the boat and asked the question is this boat going to sink. >> toys for a tot torn between two countries. elian gonzalez officially captivated a community. [ speaking foreign language ]
♪ for the land of the free and the home of the brave ♪ [ chanting foreign language ] >> they were summoned by president fidel castro for what he calls the second stage of the battle of the masses. thousands demonstrated again in front of the u.s. diplomatic mission in havana. >> the boy's father joined other cubans at a weekend rally
demanding the child's return. >> american immigration officials will interview the father here in cuba and give him a chance to prove his paternity. >> we had the sitch wags of the father in cuba asking for the son to be returned. it was unprecedentedunprecedent. typically people who came from cuba came because they wanted to stay here. as the immigration service we had to determine whether this was the father and since the child had come to the united states with the mother whether the father had a relationship with the child. what was the family's story? ♪ [ speaking foreign language ]
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[ speaking foreign language ] >> for me seeing my cousin on tv speaking the way he used to speak about us and then seeing fidel next to him made me think, are you for real or do you just have to play this role? my uncle delphine said that's probably not what he wants to say. don't tag it to heart. he was the person i listened to because that was the person i knew experienced the torturing
of cuba when he was in prison. he would say that's how the government works. they try to destroy the family. they try to keep us apart. so i was fighting for both of their freedom because i was hoping for the day juan miguel could meet with elian here and be free as well. >> the case of elian gonzalez has been a difficult one, complicated by the fact that several people other than elian's father claimed to represent him. ins has determined that elian should be reunited with his father. then we said by january 14th he's to be turned over to the ins so that he can be returned to his father. what did i think at that time? did i think it would happen?
i don't know. >> could we ask you about your reaction? >> they're only letting the dad decide what's best for the kid and everything like that. as we all know when elian came and found himself lonely in this country without no family, without his dad not having the freedom to get on an airplane to come here and support his child when he most needed it, i was there and so was my family supporting that. until then they did let us support him and be there for him. why aren't we getting the opportunity at this point to speak for him? his dad doesn't have freedom ois we would have got on an airplane and got to this country and see our kid. his words where i haven't lost anything there. what about your son? >> a fight was on. a fight was on. >> this community asked since
day one the due process of elian gonzalez. >> with help from jorge the family tried to go around the immigration service. >> we thought the best way to make sure the judicial process was followed by the subpoena. >> this is a federal subpoena which we believe protects elian gonzalez from being forcibly and illegal removed from the united states to cuba. >> in miami people celebrated the subpoena which orders little elian to appear before u.s. congress in an order to delay his return to cuba. >> several congressmen an one senator say they will offer bills as early as february to grant elian gonzalez u.s. citizenship. >> at last night's presidential candidate debate all candidated
ask that elian be allowed to stay here. >> the man ought to be brought to the united states and given a whiff of freedom. >> why has this become so political? because cuban immigrants are a lieu kra tv population for both parties. >> i know that this is where he wants to stay. if that's the case, i will take care of him like if he would be my son, but i feel that we should have the right to take his chance to court. >> can you remember when you were six? >> there were somedays i wanted to run away from home. there were other days i wanted my mommy so bad i couldn't stand it. i think the law has indicated and it's the experience of most
people that six years old is too young to speak for themselves.
>> under u.s. law it was the attorney general janet reno who had the final say. born and raced in miami reno emphasized with the cuban exiles. she had a passion for child welfare issues which she handled before working with the clinton administration. >> she devoted her life to keeping children safer, reducing domestic violence and helping families. >> as reno stepped forward she made no secret of her competing. she invited elian's miami relatives to plead their case. >> we filed a very significant lawsuit in federal court. it's the case of elian gonzalez
versus janet reno. >> my hope is people
will look at this little boy ooand get hi into a situation where he can live a normal life without television cameras and the world in his face. >> elian himself said almost nothing in public during his time in miami. one night in january a camera caught him yelling at a passing airplane and his words quickly became a point of contention. the family disputed the initial
translation by local television and insisted elian said he didn't want to return to cuba. >> he has been manipulated. that is what really concerns me. it's been concerning me for a long time. >> it has been suggested in some quarters. i'm going to give you the opportunity to respond. that the reason you didn't come to miami is because the cuban government is afraid once you get to miami you would defect. how do you respond to that? >> translator: who said that? i think i have been extremely clear. people think or some people think that i'm under pressure here. i have always said i haven't lost anything in miami and sometimes what i would like to do is go down there with a rifle i don't know to get rid of how many people. >> are you serious about that sir? that's a very inflammatory
remark. >> translator: isn't it inflammatory what they are doing with my son? >> i did see his anger and frustration. as a parent you get on the first flight you can and get your child. he's not allowed to do that. i had to take care of his child. my dad had to shelter his child. juan miguel's frustration should be with the can you been government and not me or our family. >> neither juan miguel or the cuban government offered any compelling reason why he couldn't just go get his son. cuban officials cited concerns for his safety in miami. the wide spread belief was fidel feared juan miguel would defect or keep the battle going as long as he could. >> this was not a simple matter of a parent saying i miss my child. i need to bring my child home.
this was going to take time and there was always the possibility they would not be able to get him home. i've been involved in cuba for almost 40 years. if you've been to cuba and you come to know cuban people, you have a different view than if you only so i had to go to fidelity castro and i had to ask permission to take him. ♪ >> the grandmothers came and we tried to arrange a visit for them with elian who was in miami. and then ensued a back and forth over the terms because in fact there was such tension and unresolved issues and disagreement within the family itself. >> it was not a negotiation.
it was dictated to them that they must present the boy tomorrow or his status would be changed and the boy would potentially be sent back to cuba immediately. >> i'm very concerned what's going to happen tomorrow because every night i go to sleep he tells me don't let them take me back and i am going to be the one taking him to this house where i don't know what's going to happen and i don't have control of. >> i wasn't allowed to stay in the room with them and this was the perfect time for him to tell her i want to leave with you if that's what was in his heart. if that would have been me, i would have run to my grandma and tell her "take me." but he didn't. actually, he did the opposite. he ran out of that room and all he said to me is run, run. they're going to take us.
just make me feel i need fight for his freedom just like his mom gave her life for it. >> i think for the grandmothers the meeting was extremely frustrating and they felt that he was in danger. they felt he was drugged. but they did go home having seen elian and they did go home more determined that they had to get him home. >> i feel great and i feel confident. yeah. strong and that i have more
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i got a call from my editor. he said this is what i want you to do. you cover elian every day. miami police shut down the street. the whole half block was blocked off. there were tv stations that were paying 500 a day just to have a crew in front of the house. >> back in 1999 and 2000 we weren't actually living in 24-hour news cycles. it was a very different landscape. all of a sudden we have media stakeouts and they are using this child almost as a prop to tell a story having him out, playing with an american flag at 11:00 at night. so we've not seen anything like that. >> the rewarding of this atrocious behavior, trauding out this kid the way they did and then you're acting shockd and surprised that it's happening. they wanted a full media blitz
and we gave it to them. >> we had things like dianne sawyer going to have playdates with elian. we spent some time drawing some waves. a dolphin himself in an intertube. me, he said. i was sinking. >> i always tell him i'm his cousin. he says moddy stands for mom. [ speaking foreign language] >> nobody cares about a little boy who lost his mother and now
is about to lose everything he has, which is me. and when he tells me please don't ever leave me, people just say return to his father but people don't live with this little boy. people don't see how this little boy feels. >> just the family suffers enough to throw someone over the edge. when all that is being witnessed on a daily basis by the entire world, not easy. i mean i've been involved in politics all my life, i'm a practicing lawyer, public speaker. i have the training as best you can to be able to do something like that. this family had zero, zero training. >> i have been in this for four months. not for political issues, not to look good in front of people but for the best interests of this child. >> remember at today's show
where i think we may have left the show and gone to the hospital because she really took a beating, emotional beating from that process. >> it it was a loving family. they got caught up in the collective hysteria. this was the battle against castro. >> what people saw in the elian story often depended on where they stood. as the weeks passed, national polls showed a deep divide with more and more americans outside south florida in favor of returning the boy to his father. but in miami the exile's fury continued to grow, spilling over into protests that blocked traffic on the highways. >> i'm a parent and i believe a child should be with his father.
it's like -- you people have no -- you don't have a clue about what being in a free society is. you have no respect for other people's opinions. >> you don't know what happened to him. >> i, by now, had seen the anger in miami, the determination by snof miami cubans to make sure that elian did not leave. senator lehigh came to me and said we're going to get that little boy back to his father and i'm going to help you but you're never going to make it happen if you don't involve a lawyer in this. i have a lawyer for you. his name is greg craig. i'm calling him now. he won't say no.
>> i went to the justice department and said i'm going to go to cuba and i want to be able to tell juan miguel that when he comes back the united states he will be able to take custody of his son within the space of a few days, that he's not going to have to sit in some room and watch his son on television being paraded around by these relatives. they were not willing to give me that commitment. i had nothing going down to cuba. other than to say now is the time to do it. to be clear, castro was in the middle of this decision making. castro was waking up from a nap. you could just tell he'd been asleep and putting himself together. the meeting was forever. it lasted forever and we drank
more coffee and more water and people would be getting up and going off to relieve themselves. castro didn't move for four hours. i think perhaps he had a device. he would shake his finger at me and said why do you think an american court would ever rule in favor of a cuban national? there has never been a case where a cuban national has won. my only argument was i don't know of any time when the government of the united states has been on the same side of a case of a cuban national. which in term on the same side of the government of cuba. that's never happened in history. so maybe the results will be different. >> we're talking with dr. andrew wild, the author of "eating well for optimum health." >> i think it's fine to lower cholesterol levels. >> my name is gregory b. craig.
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is the time to tell juan miguel what his options are. there's no cuban diplomats. fidel castro is not in the room. it's just the family. so i said to juan miguel, do you want to get elian back this afternoon and stay in the united states with your family? you will have that opportunity because you're going to have the commissioner of ins and they will grant that request. he says thank you very much. >> at a certain point the attorney general asked that everybody else leaves the room. >> very powerful meeting. very powerful. >> he cut off the conversation almost when it started, saying i stand by my word. i have a family in cuba.
i have a life in cuba. my son is going to grow up as a cuban and i am not going to be claiming asylum. he was a very proud, very clear person. >> i called my cousin and said look, we need go and meet with this father and find out what he really wants to do. this is our time to find out the truth. >> he was instantly drawn to a camera. i begged him. no more shows. no more shows and got off the airplane at dulles. and it was probably the biggest media center i've ever seen in my entire life. once we got into the car from the airport, it was within 60
seconds that i knew. the cuban national foundation were not only trying to brain wash me, they wanted to look like that once we got there that juan miguel refused to meet us. >> say the news conference is going to be in about five minutes. i would recommend since we've been going all cuban all the time, that we take it. >> hello. would you like a spelling for that? >> yes, please. >> if i have to get on my knees, i will get on my knees for this man because i love this boy. >> juan miguel said he wanted to thank them. if it was possible to arrange without a whole lot of hoopla. juan miguel came in and in a very sincere way thanked them for having saved elian's life.
>> he was a very, very heart warming, loving father with tears in his eyes when he would talk to me. my heart told me the right thing and he wants his child back. [ speaking foreign language] >> we're talking about a 6-year-old little boy here. it's a child. that's all we need to be concerned about. we need to put this baby to rest right now. >> i said i'm donado the fisherman. i was there when your son was about to drowned. and man, this guy's eyes started to well up with water and i ran over there and grabd and hugged him.
>> we didn't kick him out but we had to urge him to leave. >> i don't stand in the way of this father but i can tell you this i don't feel that he is free outside of his lawyer here. juan miguel said he's not going to go down to miami, so what's going to happen? >> we needed a family meeting away from the media, governments pitted against each other. the cuban national foundation against the castro brothers. we needed to get out of that and we needed a neutral third party which i thought was the catholic church. we got the blessing of the pope about using the vatican embassy in washington. >> i got a call saying to go to elian's house and saying to bring elian to washington. i went into the house and said
if you ask me, i wouldn't do it because if you're going to ask me for any guarantee, i can't give them to you. >> there's a new element to this story. the boy's miami relatives released a video of elian last night. it shows him on a bed. it's not clear who was in the room with him, whether he was coached or not.
>> after the miami relatives refused to bring the kid to washington, it became clear that if we wanted elian, we were going to have to go into the house and take him. >> for the last couple of days we weren't even 100% sure elian was even inside the home. he was not being brought out by family members, he didn't make appearances into the crowds. the less we saw of him, the more concern we had had as to his
welfare. if it comes to taking elian by force, u.s. law enforcement officials have a plan. >> the s.w.a.t. special operations group is available and the florida highway patrol has placed units on alert. the final go or no go order will come only from attorney general, janet reno. >> for weeks the government had had been assembling a shock force of federal agents to seize elian if necessary. but janet reno had misgivings that went beyond her loyalty to cuban exiles. just after taking office as attorney general, reno had ordered federal agents to raid the religious compound of waco, texas. 75 people died, including 25
children. >> we must reflect how we, as a society, can prevent in the future such a horrible, tragic, senseless loss of life. >> janet reno was somebody who made her decisions based on the facts and the law. >> instead of discussing how elian should be united, they continue to demand that we revisit the issue of whether elian should be reunited. that is not what the law provides. >> reporter: demonstrators break through those barricades to try to form a human chain in front of this house if federal agents came to seize elian gonzales. >> there were people in the crowds that had violent police records. there were armed individuals in the crowd.
the entire event was a potential powder keg. we wanted to effect this search warrant as soon as possible. the only delays were last stitch efforts made by the u.s. government to negotiate a peaceful, so to speak, surrender to the child of the u.s. government. >> ms. reno was willing to exhaust every option. so when members of the community came in and said we think we can broker a deal, cuba's willing to talk to them. >> we were afraid that this was going to bring a lot of harm to the community and the perception of the community. this was spinning out of control. >> my focus was to get the community to have a unanimous position that we're going to do this peacefully. my view we were very close to doing in two days that which had not been done in five months. >> we're going to create a
scenario where the two families would go to a military base, have an opportunity to talk to each other and look for an elegant solution. we developed the points and faxed them to janet reno. >> we get the fax off and we had been instructed by aaron pothurst, you guys are fine. our expectations were that we'll be out of here in a couple hours. >> the offer was the same as had been made repeatedly by the family and that ultimately not only had hadn't succeeded but was not willing to in any way concede turning over the child to the father. >> it was just another effort. i think most of us thought to delay.
>> we had identified 5:00 a.m. to be an optimal time to execute this search warrant. we were ready well prior to that and still awaiting a final green light from the department of justice. >> you're in the attorney general's office. she stated in her open line and i stayed on an open line with the ins people in miami because i needed to give them the order that it was a go. >> i had two lines. one to the house and one to attorney general janet reno. it never occurred to me that there was a raid planned and i kept saying to the attorney general what's the big rush about? >> she gave them deadlines. she told them after this point it's going to be too late and then you are out of time. you're running out of time. >> that was the only night that elian didn't sleep.
he was scared that they would take him. >> it's well past midnight and i tell aaron, look, i'm beginning to feel very uncomfortable like there's a problem here because this is a one-page document. >> there was questions in the room are we on hold? is it a go? is ms. reno said it's a go. >> then about 4:00 we got a call from aaron and his voice is almost shaking. and he says to me you got five minutes to wake everybody up. i woke everybody up. and while we're having that conversation, there's a bunch of yelling and screaming outside.
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>> behind the barricade. >> hoards of people were going to do everything in their power to prevent us from reaching the front door. they chanted, they screamed, lights went on. they formed human chains. we virtually had to push our way to the front door. behind us there was a riot going on. it was clearly organized resistance. i pounded at the door. federal agents were executing a search warrant. open the door, open the door. i had to give the order to breach the door. >> i clearly remember the lady that came into get him saying where's the f-kid?
where's the f-god dam kid? i did step forward a little bit aggressive like mad and she says if you take one more step, i'm going to shoot. >> if there was anybody, it shouldn't have been me to get elian into my arms but everyone's running to shelter because they're hearing the same thing, get down or we'll shoot and we're thinking they're going to kill us. >> i see in the closet donado and elian. the boy says to me -- i said nothing's happening. baby but everything's going to be all right. >> the door busted open and there's a federal armed agent with an assault weapon and he's got that thing pointed directly at me and elian. all i hear is choo choo. >> i'm flashing. i'm strobing this guy in the
face. freedom of press. you can't touch that. >> he's screaming give me the kid. give me the f'ing kid. within second as woman appeared in the room and that's when i handed elian over to the agent. >> get ready to get the boy. they've got the boy. >> go, go. >> all i could hear was elian screaming, prima, prima, prima. just calling out and i couldn't do anything.
>> these are the first pictures we have seen of young elian. >> we threat be known we didn't want to have a bunch of photographs. >> the director of public affairs said ap is flashing a pretty ugly photo around the world right now and you should really get a camera and get some pictures out there. >> i think i took that picture. yeah. pretty good. >> pictures taken by an associated press photographer which they'll have to answer to. >> there's a picture of that little boy's fear, scared. so janet reno and everybody else
don't say you came here with no violence and this boy is okay. how can this boy be okay when he had a gun at his head? >> expressing her feelings on what happened, describing what happened this morning. >> they treat us like criminals. they broke -- they broke elian's bed. >> he was saying ca posau, capasa i just kept holding his head like this. america, what did you do to this boy? >> thank you very much. >> up until the last, we tried every way we could to encourage gonzales to voluntarily hand over the child to his father. unfortunately the miami relatives rejected our efforts, leaving us no other option but
>> stand by, stand by. cnn right now is moving florida back to the too close to call columnal. >> the elian gonzales issue may have driven a lot of cuban americans back to the republican party. >> an election in tur moil, a nation waits. who will emerge a winner in the historic florida recount? >> there were 10s of thousands cuban americans that became republicans post elian. had the elian event been handled better, we might not have had the iraq war. >> president bush became the president of the united states in 2000 because of elian gonzales. there is no doubt in my mind and i think that numbers proved that out. >> i think it's a much bigger issue than that. i think what cost al gore the election was a fiasco in palm beach county florida with the
ballots. ralph nadir getting 100,000 votes in florida. and i doubt it had anything to do with al gore not carrying tennessee, his home state. ♪ >> they would not see elian again. in late june, almost seven months after his rescue at sea, the supreme court finally lifted the order keeping him in the united states.
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>> i don't know what elian's life is like now in cuba. but whatever he is, it was created here. it was created here in miami. >> in hind sight, it had a lot of impact because it became a pivotal point for many in the community to realize that we were not having a rational approach to cuba, that it was getting out of hand and that we needed to show a different view, a different approach. >> in the aftermath of the elian
affair, new cuban leaders challenge the transient of the old guard. even the cuban national foundation retreated, appealing to an exile community less defined by the old hatreds and paving the way for historic changes in american society. >> we definitely began focusing on a younger generation both here and in cuba. we have to talk to their hopes and aspirations. they're going to be the key to the future. >> first american president in 88 years touched down just a few moments ago here in cuba.
♪ >> i have come here to bury the last remnant of the cold war in the americas. havana is only 90 miles from florida. but to get here we had had had to travel a great distance. over barriers of history and ideology, barriers of pain and separation. in many ways the united states and cuba are like two brothers who have been estranged for many years.
>> in the end i realized this american dream wasn't for him. >> as he lives out his life, what role he will play in cuba, what role he will play in the cuban revolution, that is to come inevitably, he'll be part of the new generation and how he will weather that, how he will respond to that is probably partly related to what will happen to cuba and some of that depends on us. ♪ ♪.
we always said that's what he would become, a little trophy for the government when they roll out whatever they need to. >> people have told me did you hear what elian say? he's brainwashed. i say he's not a fault of what he's become where he's at right now, he doesn't know any better. so i don't judge him, i just sit and wait. [speaking foreign language].
good evening. the white house showed itself unwilling or unable to admit the president is unable to reverse himself. the promise was about that wall. that big beautiful border wall which wouldn't cost taxpayers a thing because the president insisted mexico would pay for it. >> we will build the wall 100%. i promise, we will build the wall. and who's going to pay for the wall? who's going to pay for the wall? who? it will be a great wall. mexico's going to pay for the wall. mexico's going to pay for the wall.