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Thursday, July 1, 2010

Watch 10 years later Elián Gonzalez not angry at Miami relatives

10 years later Elián Gonzalez not angry at Miami relatives,HAVANA -- Elián Gonzalez says he's not angry at his Miami relatives who fought to keep him in the United States during a nasty international custody battle a decade ago, and is thankful ``a large part of the American public'' supported him being reunited with his father in Cuba.

Now 16, Gonzalez's first comments to foreign reporters in years came after President Raúl Castro attended a state celebration Wednesday night marking the 10th anniversary of the famous ex-castaway's return to the island.

``Even though they didn't help me in every way possible, they didn't help me move forward, they are still my own family,'' Gonzalez said of his South Florida relatives, speaking in a shy, almost timid voice.

``I don't have anger for them,'' he said. ``It's only that it wasn't the best effort possible, and thanks to a large part of the American public, and our public, today I'm with my father and I feel happy here.''

When asked about the family's Miami relatives, however, Gonzalez's father, Juan Miguel, shot back that he was still angry, ``because, at any moment, having the boy there and with me giving them opportunities so they can reunite the family, they let themselves get carried away with other things.''

He added that bringing his son back was still the right thing to do, saying, ``today I'm more sure than I was then.''

Elián was a photogenic 5-year-old when a fisherman found him floating off the coast of Florida in an inner tube on Thanksgiving Day 1999, after his mother and others fleeing Cuba drowned trying to reach American soil. His father, who was separated from his mother, had remained on the island.