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tv   CNN Films Elian  CNN  August 26, 2017 11:00pm-1:00am PDT

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>> 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 mehe fisherman. i really hadn't been out fishi 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?
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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 thought it was like a joke, you know. >> 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's not on the boat any longer. he's in the water and 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. and i just grabbed this child and i held him in my arms and my cousin got on the phone with his wife. >> 911, what's your emergency? >> my husband found a child and he has him on the boat. >> the local news stations were out there on helicopters thinking this is a little bigger
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than we thought it was. >> don't worry about me. ♪ >> do you know this boy? >> no. >> elian gonzalez. [ speaking foreign language ] [ people chanting in foreign language ] [ man speaking in foreign language ]
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[ man speaking in foreign language ] >> from the ocean waters off the coast of florida tonight a real life thanksgiving story. >> found him clinging to an inner tube. >> part of a group of 13 cuban rafters. only two others rescued alive. >> elian's mother is believed to have drowned. he has cousins he just met in >> this is the story of a little boy from cuba whose mother died brinng h tfrdom in the united states. or maybe it's the story of a boy shipwrecked in miami whose cuban father just wanted him back.
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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. and the only thing i can possibly say is that 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
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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 families, 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 uncs of elian's father made their way across the florida straits, settling in hialeah and little havana. ♪ 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. where he made his living selling lobster traps.
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his younger brother followed with his two wife and children. he worked mostly 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 has bonded with most. do you feel that bond? >> i sure do. definitely. i feel like he's been my brother since a little kid. [ speaking foreign language ]
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>> maybe two days later i got a call from "good morning america" and 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 fish and for treasures. for me this is a treasury. to see this gift of god -- i believe that's what he is. to hang on in the water for that many days. i don't know how long it was, but he is definitely a gift from god and i'm privileged to be next to him and touch him. >> that's awesome. >> thank you so much. >> what a beautiful kid. he is beautiful. >> yeah. >> it's weird to think when he grows up. >> we were all so scared to ask him what happened. and then there was that day where he said, when i woke up and my mom was not there. she must have drowned.
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she drowned. i swallowed real hard an grind my teeth not to cry. and i looked at him and i said, she's always watching over you. so don't ever say your mom is dead because she always have to live in your heart. it's your paradise perfected with behr premium plus paint. the best you can buy starting under $25.only a
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[ speaking foreign language ] [ speaking foreign language ] [ speaking foreign language ]
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[ speaking foreign language ] >> in cuba elian's father juan miguel hadn't known that his ex-wife and her boyfriend took elian away on a homemade 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 sides of the family were talking past each other. [ speaking foreign language ] >> i remember my dad saying that you know that juan miguel says
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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 cuba. he and his parents were loyal members of the ruling communist party and juan miguel, who had remarried had a good job at a nearby beach resort. when they needed help, they didn't hesitate to ask the cuban government. [ speaking foreign language ] [ speaking foreign language ]
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presented by the all new how's it going? good. good to see you. hey mark, how's it going. >> you've got some gifts there. >> as soon as elian's rescue made the local news uninvited guests began to descend on the gonzalez home in little havana. among the first was jorge monsantos, the head of the cuban national foundation. >> we saw this young boy who lost his mother at sea. i think the image that everything cuban americans terrible. i thought the cuban american national foundation should use this as messaging of a human story, a human tragedy. that's why we dwell up the post from the campaign to bring attention to something we need to stop.
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they. >> it may >> they made t-shirts with elian's picture on it. they disseminated 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 ] [ speaking foreign language ] [ speaking foreign language ]
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[ speaking foreign language ] [ speaking foreign language ] >> nbc news in-depth the struggle over a little boy. >> even his new puppy came from a member of congress.
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>> on sunday castro demanded the u.s. return the boy within 72 hours. >> no one has the right to steal the boy from his father. >> the white house doesn't want this to become a big international 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 unites around the powerful symbol of a 6-year-old child caught between two worlds. " shanahan fakes left. she's outside of the key, she shoots... ...she scores! uh... yes, erin, it is great time to score a deal. we need to make room for the 2018 models.
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and a new culture built around customer service. it all adds up to our most reliable network ever. one that keeps you connected to what matters most. >> the elian case was a very important national unifying factor. there was a moment in the long history of confrontation between cuba and the u.s. >> as the millennium approached,
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they were looking for something to rally tired supporters. [speaking foreign language]. >> 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 because we don't want him to go back. ♪ >> we need you here. >> i think he should stay here
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with the family. he has no future. he's got no life in cuba. >> his mother, she died to be free, and that is what she wanted in the last moments. >> we have a role to play in protecting freedom, and when people risk everything to come, even if they're a five-year-old kid, they ought to be allowed to stay. ♪ [speaking foreign language]. >> relatives of elian gonzalez say they saw a different side of the six-year-old, a boy filled with happiness at the disney world visit. family spokesman said he showed some lingering sign also of his ordeal and rescue at sea when he went on the "it's a small world" ride. >> he was a little frightened on the boat. he asked the question, is this boat going to sink?
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>> two ways for a tot torn between two countries. he has officially captivated a community. [ speaking foreign language ] [ speaking foreign language ] [ speaking foreign language ]
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>> we wanted to give him a life where he felt comfortable and everything was normal. then we got him to go to school. he was so happy to go to school. [ speaking foreign language ] >> [chanting: elia] ♪ for the land of the free and ♪ banner yet wave ♪ o' er the land of the free ♪
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♪ and the home of the brave [ applause ] [ 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 assert his rights and prove his paternity. >> we had this very unusual circumstance of a father in cuba asking for the son to be returned to him. it was unprecedented. typically people who came from cuba came because they wanted to stay here.
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as the immigration service we had to determine whether this was actually 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 ] [ speaking foreign language ] [ speaking foreign language ]
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>> juan miguel and elisa had married as teenagers and it had taken them years and seven miscarriages before elian was born. strains on the marriage eventually led them to separate. but they set aside their differences to build a new relationship around the son they both adored. [speaking foreign language] ♪ happy birthday to you [ speaking foreign language ] ♪ happy birthday dear elian ♪ happy birthday to you
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♪ [ speaking foreign language ] [ speaking foreign language ] [ speaking foreign language ]
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>> 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 probablyot even what he really wants to say. so don't take it to heart. delphine 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
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>> 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.
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i.n.s. has determined that elian should breunited with his father. then we said by january 14th he's to be turned over to the i.n.s. 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 really needed it because he couldn't even sit down in a bed because he would fall. i was there so was my family, supporting him. 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?
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his dad doesn't have freedom otherwise 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. >> we thought the best way to make sure the judicial process was followed was to issue a subpoena. >> in miami people celebrated the subpoena which orders little elian to appear before u.s. congress in an effort 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. >> but it's not just congress. at last night's presidential
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candidate debate, all candidates asked that elian be allowed to stay here. >> the man ought to be brought to the united states and given a whiff of freedom. so he can see how wonderful our country is. >> why has this become so political? because cuban immigrants are a critical voting block in florida's republican primary and a lucrative source of campaign money for both political parties. the 6-year-old may have even more politicians as play mates. >> 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 6? >> there were some days i wanted to run away from home. and there were other days i wanted my mommy so bad i couldn't stand it. i think the law has indicated
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and it's certainly i think that the experience of most people that 6 years old is too young to eak for themlves. >> under u.s. law it was the attorney general janet reno who had the final say on elian's immigration case. she came to it with a unique perspective. born and raised in miami, reno emphasized with the cuban exiles. she had a passion for child welfare issues which she handled as a florida prosecutor before joining the clinton administration. >> she devoted her life to making her community safer, keeping children out of trouble, reducing domestic violence and helping families. >> as reno stepped forward she made no secret of her competing sympathies. trying to find a compromise she set aside the deadline of returning elian to cuba and invited his relatives to plead their case. >> we filed a very significant lawsuit in federal court.
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it's the case of elian gonzalez versus janet reno. >> my hope is people will look at this little boy and get him into a situation where he can live a normal life without television cameras and the world in his face. >> watch out, there. watch out, guys. >> senor. >> come on, elian. >> elian, himself, had 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.
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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? 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 obviously a very
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inflammatory remark. >> translator: what about isn't it inflammatory what they are doing with my son? >> i did see his anger and i did see his frustration. but as a parent, you get on the first flight that you can and you 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 cuban government, not with me, or not with our family. wait so you got rid of verizon, just like that? uh-huh. i switched to t-mobile, kept my phone-everything on it- -oh, they even paid it off! wow! yeah. it's nice that every bad decision doesn't have to be permenant! ditch verizon. keep your phone. we'll even pay it off when you switch to america's best unlimited network.
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megan's smile is getti a loton because she uses act® mouthwash. act® strengthens enamel, protects teeth from harmful acids, and helps prevent cavities. go beyond brushing with act®. >> 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 lived in the united states. i knew that the grandmother had
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a passion i had to go to fidel 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
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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
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elian and they did go home more determined that they had to get him home. at that time i was a freelancer for ap. up with morning i get a call from my editor and he said this is what i want you to do.
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you cover el ian every day. miami police shut down the street. the whole half block was blocked off. they were paying mon to have a crew in front o the house. >> back in 1999 and 2000 we weren't living in 24 hour news cycles. it was a very different landscape. all of a sudden we've got media stakeouts and they are using this child almost as a prop to tell a story, you know, having him out playing with an american flag at 11:00 at night. we'd not seen anything like that. >> rewarding this atrocious behavior. trotting out this kid the way they did and then you're acting shocked and surprised it's happening. they wanted a media blitz and we gave it to them. >> dayian sawyer going to have
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play dates with elian. >> we spent some time drawing, some waves, a dolphin. himself. in an inner tube. me, he said. i was sinking. >> i always tell him i'm his cousin. >> he tries to call you mom, sometimes? he says -- stands for mom. [ speaking foreign language ] >> nobody cares about a little boy who lost his mother, who lost everything and now is about to lose everything he has which is me. and it's hard to say when he tells me, please don't ever
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leave me, people just say return him 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 a "today" 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.
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>> it it was a loving family. they got caught up in the collective hysteria. this was a collectivetl against castro. >> ias under a lot of stress. u wasn't getting enough sleep. sometimes i would just pass out. a day in the house was crazy. had people walk in and out of my room and i was like, who are these people? ees. we want hd. and every box and dvr. all included. because we don't like surprises. yeah. like changing up the celebrity at the end to someone more handsome. and talented. really. and british. switch from cable to directv. get 4 rooms with hd, dvr,
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and enjoyed by the community in the future. together, we're building a better california. -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com 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. [ speaking foreign language ] but in miami the exile's fury continued to grow, spilling over into protests that blocked traffic on the highways. and exasperated many of the city's non-cubans. >> i'm a parent and i believe a child should be with his father. you know, i mean -- hey -- it's
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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. >> the community who had been so appreciative of the united states all of a sudden was acting in a very rebellious way. you know, we had a mayor that defied federal authority. >> we will not lend our respecti reecti respecti respective resources whether they be police officers or any other resources in any way,
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shape, or form to illegally repate rat elian gonzalez to cuba. >> that seems an invitation to block federal authorities and assurance to them that the miami police will stand aside. >> well, i like the mayor very much but i still believe in the rule of law here we have to. whatever the law is, what decision is ultimately made, we ought to obey him. >> i, by now, had seen the anger in miami. i had seen the determination of some of the miami cubans to make sure that elian did not leave. senator leahy came to me and said we are 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.
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>> 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. ♪ >> we're talking with dr. andrew we'll, the author of eating -- >> let me cut you off. >>let go to greg craig at the office of -- >> i'm pleased to report that juan miguel, gonzalez, his wife and 6-month-old son will be coming to the united states.
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they will arrive tomorrow morning, thursday, april 6th at 7:00 a.m. at dulles airport. ♪ [ speaking foreign language ] ♪ hey, i'm the internet! i know a bunch of people who would love that. the internet loves what you're doing... ...so build a better website in under an hour with... ...gocentral from godaddy.
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♪ [ speaking foreign language ].
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it was the next day we had the meeting with the attorney general. i'm driving the car. and i'm saying to myself now 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. i said to juan miguel if you want to get elian back this afternoon and say in the united states with your family, you have that opportunity because you're going to have the attorney general of the united states, you're going to have the commissioner of the i.n.s. and they will grant that request if you want to do that. he says thank you very much. >> at a ctain point the attorney general asked that everybody else leave the room. >> a very powerful meeting. very powerful.
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>> 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'm not going to be claiming asylum. he was a very proud, very clear person. >> i called my cousin and said we need to meet with this father and find out what he really wants to do. this is our time to find out the truth. >> donato was instantly drawn to a camera my bagel, no more shows, donato and got off the airplane at dulles and it was probably the biggest media
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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 i was in a call withhe cuban national foundation. they were already brainwashing donato and trying to brainwash me. once we got there they wanted it to look like juan miguel refused to meet us. >> the news conference is going to be in about five minutes. i would recommend that we are going all cuban boy we talk it. >> my name is donato -- would you like a spelling for that. >> juan miguel wanted to thank if it was possible to arrange without a whole lot of hoopla.
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juan miguel came in and in a sincere way thanked them for having saved elian's wife. >> juan miguel was a very, very heart warming loving father with tears in his eyes when he talked to me. my heart told me the right thing. he wanted his child back. [ speaking foreign language ] >> we're talking about a 6-year-old little boy here. it's a child. that's what we need to be concerned about. nobody else. the rest is all b.s., man. we need to put this baby to rest right now. donato has to speak for himself. >> i said i'm donato, 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 i grabbed him and i hugged him. [ speaking foreign language ]
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>> 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. cuba 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 had a private jet prepared. elian was going to be taken to my home that evening so he could
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be on a plane at 4:00 in the morning. >> i got a call saying to go to elian's house and tell the family 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 guarantees as to what's going to happen, i can't give them to you. and i remember there was a huge thing of seafood or paella or something, and he grabs his phone and throws it in there and i'm sitting there and just watching this phone sinking into the rice. [ speaking foreign language ]
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or a little internet machine? it makes you wonder: shouldn't we get our phones and internet from the same company? that's why xfinity mobile comes with your internet. you get up to 5 lines of talk and text at no extra cost, so all you pay for is data. see how much you can save. choose by the gig or unlimited. xfinity mobile. a new kind of network designed to save you money. call, visit, or go to xfinitymobile.com. there's a new element to this story. the boy's miami relatives released a videotape of elian recorded 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.
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[ speaking foreign language ] ♪ >> 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
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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 takg elian by officials have a plan.ement >> elements of the martial s.w.a.t.-like 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. >> instead of discussing howellian should be reunited the attorneys for the relatives continue to demand that we revisit the issue of whether elian should be reunited. that is not what the law provides.
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>> demonstrators trying to form a human chain around this house if federal agents came to seize elian gonzalez. >> 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 affect the search want as soon as possible. the only delays were last-ditch efforts made by the u.s. government to negotiate a peaceful, so to speak, surrender of the child to 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 she was willing to talk to em. >> weere afraid this was going
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to bring a lot of harm to the communy 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 the 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 and a settlement. we developed the points and faxed them to janet reno. >> we get the fax off and we had been instructed by aaron pothurst everything is good. 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
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only 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 the search warrant. we were ready well prior to that and still awaiting a final green light from the department of justice. >> we were all in the attorney general's office. she stayed on an open line with mr. pothurst. i stayed on an open line with the i.n.s. 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.
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it never occurred to me 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 uncomfortable, this is a one-page document. >> there was questions in the room, you know, are we on hold? is it a go? and ms. reno said, it's a go. >> then about 4:00, we got a call from aaron and his voice is almost shaken.
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and he says to me, you got five minutes to wake everybody up. i woke everybody up. and while we're having the conversation, there's a bunch of yelling and screaming. outside. and i said to aaron, aaron, the feds are here. ♪
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can we go live? can we go live? are we shooting it? >> back behind the barricades. >> hordes 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. >> the whole world is watching this. >> behind us, there was a riot going on. it was clearly organized resistance. >> stand way.
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>> 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 should he been me that night that got elian into my arms. but everyone seemed to be running for shelter because they're hearing the same thing we're hearing, get down or we'll shoot. and we're thinking they're going to kill us. >> i see out of the closet, donato and elian. the boy says to me [ speaking foreign language ] i said
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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.
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>> all i could hear was elian screaming, prima, prima, prima. just calling out and i couldn't do anything. ♪ >> come on. get this stuff. over here. across the street. ♪
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>> elian was just a kid and that day they risked his life. i sometimes wonder what juan miguel felt about that. i would have never wanted my child to be taken out like that. >> elian gonzalez is as we speak being flown to andrew's air force base just outside washington where he will be reunited with his father. ♪ [ speaking foreign language]
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>> 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?
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>> expressing her feelings on what happened, describing what happened this morning. >> they treat us like criminals. >> i know. [ speaking foreign language ]. >> they broke -- they broke elian's bed. he was saying [ speaking foreign langua ] i just held his head like this. my god, america, what did you do to this boy? [ speaking foreign language ] >> up until the last, we tried every way we could to encourage
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gonzalez to voluntarily hand over the child to his father. unfortunately the miami relatives rejected our efforts, leaving us no other option but the enforcement action. [ speaking foreign language ] >> we got a fire. another fire. >> the crowd here very angry over the elian gonzalez situation, extremely angry with the justice department's handling of this situation.
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megan's smile is getting a lot because she uses act® mouthwash. act® strengthens enamel, protects teeth from harmful acids, and helps prevent cavities. go beyond brushing with act®. after the elian incident, i think the democrats were terribly harmed by what happened. ♪ >> stand by, stand by. cnn right now is moving florida
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back to the too close to call column. >> the elian gonzalez issue may have driven a lot of cuban americans back to the republican party. >> an election turmoil, a nation waits. who will emerge a winner in the historic florida recount? >> there were 10,000 cuban americans who 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 gonzalez. there's no doubt in my mind and i think that the numbers prove 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.
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it was ralph nader getting 100,000 votes in florida. and i doubt it had anything to do with al gore not carrying tennessee, his home state. ♪ >> the family 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. he and his father were back in cuba before nightfall.
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♪ ♪ ♪ ♪
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[ speaking foreign language]
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caro was in fact dedicated getting that little boy home and it became a matter of his heart. it was not now just a government victory. and elian became virtually like a child of his. ♪
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>> as elian grew up, fidel continued to celebrate the boy's return as a triumph in the larger story of cuba's revolution. [ speaking foreign language]
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>> i don't know what elian's life is like now in cuba. he's more prominent probably, than he ever imagined he would be. but whatever he is, it was created here. it was created here in miami. >> in hindsight, the elian gonzalez affair had a lot of impact because it became a
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pivotal point for many in the community to realize that we were not having a rational approach to cuba and it was getting out of hand and that we needed to show a different view, a different approach. one day a big bad wolf huffed and he puffed and blew the house down. luckily the geico insurance agency had helped the pig with homeowners insurance. he had replacement cost coverage, so his house was rebuilt, good as new. the big bad wolf now has a job on a wind farm. call geico and see how easy it is to switch and save on homeowners insurance. hey, i'm the internet! ♪ i know a bunch of people who would love that. the internet loves what you're doing... ...so build a better website in under an hour with... ...gocentral from godaddy. the internet is waiting. start for free today at godaddy.
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in the aftermath of the elian affair, new cuban leaders
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challenged the intragacence of the old guard. even the cuban american 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. ♪
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♪ >> 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. ♪ i want the cuban people, especially the young people, to
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understand why i believe that you should look to the future with hope, hope that is rooted in the future that you can choose and that you can shape and that you can build for your country. [ speaking foreign language ]
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♪ [ speaking foreign language ]. >> did i want him to stay in america? selfishly, yes. he was going to have scholarships. he was going to go college. he was going to have the american dream. but you know, in the end, i realized that the 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
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cuban revolution, that is to come inevitably. he will 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. ♪ [speaking foreign language].
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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 hit and wait. [ speaking foreign language ].
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>> i would love to see him here, even if it's just to visit, but i don't see myself going back to cuba. i feel that i would be betraying his mother. i'm not in his future. i'm in his past, so. years could go by and it's the same thing over and over. [ speaking foreign language ].
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>> whoever is right or wrong, we're family and we love each other. i dream to the day comes that i can speak to him. i love him no matter who or what he chooses to be. ♪ ♪ [ speaking foreign language ]
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-- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com
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hi, everybody. our coverage of the disastrous storm in texas continues. we're live from the cnn newsroom in atlanta. >> yes, the death toll has now increased, a second fatality is being blamed on tropical storm harvey as it moves inland pummeling texas with torrential ra and we were warned this was going to happen. >> and the rainfall could be catastrophic. there are dire warnings of flooding in houston where a flash flood emergency has been issued. >> houston police confirm a woman was killed after

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