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Thursday, July 1, 2010

Watch Elian Gonzalez holds no grudge against Miami relatives

Watch Elian Gonzalez holds no grudge against Miami relatives,Elian Gonzalez holds no grudge against Miami relatives,Now 16, he said of his Florida relatives: "Even though they didn't help me in every way possible – they didn't help me move forward – they are still my own family."I don't have anger for them.","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," he said, breaking years of silence on the 10th anniversary of his return to Cuba.

A decade ago, the 5-year-old boy was found drifting alone off the coast of Florida after his mother and others fleeing Cuba drowned trying to reach US soil.

US immigration officials ruled the boy should return to his father in Cuba over the objections of his Miami relatives and Florida's substantial population of Cuban exiles, creating a furore that caused even presidential candidates George W. Bush and Al Gore to weigh in.

Fidel Castro launched an international campaign for his return to his father. The row culminated with US immigration agents seizing the boy at gunpoint from the Miami home of his relatives.

Elian was celebrated as a hero in Cuba upon his return and his father, restaurant employee Juan Miguel Gonzalez, was elected to parliament – a seat he retains today.

Cuba marks Elian's birthday every December 7 with parades.

The 16-year-old was pictured for the first time in a decade three months ago, in a Young Communist uniform, when it emerged that he was studying to become a Cuban military officer.

On Wednesday, he attended a church service celebrating the 10th anniversary of his return to Cuba, sitting next to President Raul Castro.

The boy's father, speaking to reporters while he and his son posed for pictures with church-goers, said returning Elian to Cuba had been the right decision.

"I am even more certain today than I was at that moment," he said. "To see him today, doing well, with good grades in school, it shows that what we did, we did not do for no reason."

Unlike his son, the elder Mr Gonzalez said he still bears a grudge against the family in Miami for not helping him get Elian back, and he had a simple message for them.

"Here, we are united, with my people, who behaved better than they did," he said.