Elian Gonzalez was a boy torn between two homes.
Elian Gonzalez, at just six years old in 1999, was taken by his mother aboard a homemade raft with 10 other people who were all trying to escape the harsh economic times in Cuba.
The raft sank, killing all of the adults, leaving Elian Gonzalez alone on an innertube. He was found about 60 miles north of Miami.
Elian Gonzalez was turned over to relatives in Miami, who then fought to keep him with them.
However, Elian Gonzalez’s father back in Cuba fought to have Elian returned to be with him and his wife.
Finally, President Clinton ordered that he be returned to his father, prompting the midnight raid to snatch Elian that the world, and likely Elian Gonzalez, remembers so vividly.
Now, Elian Gonzalez is 21 years old and a student of Industrial Engineering at the University of Matanzas near his home in Cardenas, which is about 90 minutes outside of Havana.
Elian Gonzalez is pretty much a normal college student. He does karate, swims, goes to the movies, hangs out with friends, and even has a Facebook page.
Elian Gonzalez is also somewhat of a local hero and a symbol of Fidel Castro’s resistance to Bill Clinton and the American community of Cuban refugees.
In fact, Fidel Castro attended several of Elian Gonzalez’s birthday parties as he was growing up.
Elian Gonzalez’s father is now a member of the National Congress, and Elian himself is a loyal Fidel Castro supporter and an outspoken member of Cuba’s Militant Union of Young Communists.
Elian Gonzales has spoken out over the years about America’s embargo against Cuba and how it was the reason his mother risked her life, and many others risked theirs, to find a better life.
Elian Gonzalez has so far not commented on the historic mending of ties between Cuba and America.
Do you remember when the raid went down to return Elian Gonzalez to Cuba?