Elián Gonzalez Biography
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Also Known As: Elian Gonzalez
Born Country: Cuba
Born in: Cardenas, Cuba
Famous as: Cuban Citizen Who Got Embroiled in Immigration Controversy
father: Juan Miguel González
mother: Elizabet Brotons
education: University of Matanzas
Elián Gonzalez is a Cuban industrial engineer. In 2000, as a young boy, he was the subject of a bitter international custody and immigration dispute, which involved the governments of Cuba and the United States, his father, Juan Miguel González Quintana, his other relatives in Cuba and Miami, Florida, and Miami's Cuban American community. While trying to get to the United States from Cuba illegally with her boyfriend and Elián, his mother perished at sea. At first, he was put with his paternal relatives in Miami who wanted to keep him in US, disregarding his father’s demands of sending him back to Cuba. A US district court in Florida ruled that only his father, and not the relatives, could apply for asylum on his behalf. This judgement was vindicated by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. Following the US Supreme Court’s refusal to hear the case, Elián was sent back to his father in Cuba. He has since grown up and studied industrial engineering at the University of Matanzas. Following his graduation, he joined a state-run company as a technology specialist.
- Born on December 6, 1993, in Cárdenas, Cuba, Elián is the son of Juan Miguel González Quintana and the late Elizabeth Brotons Rodríguez. His parents divorced at some point.
- On November 21, 1999, Elián, his mother, her boyfriend, and several others boarded a small aluminium boat with a faulty engine and made their departure from Cuba. Their destination was the United States.
- Eilan’s mother, along with ten others, perished during the crossing. Elian and two other passengers survived. They were found by two fishermen who took them to the US Coast Guard.
- He was eventually put under the care of his paternal great-uncle, Lázaro, by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). ‘The Washington Post’ reported that when Juan Miguel came to know that Elizabeth had left Cuba with their son, he reached out to Lázaro and requested him to keep an eye out for them.
- Empowered by the support of local Cuban Americans, Lázaro announced that he wanted to keep the boy in the United States. Lázaro’s adult daughter, Marisleysis González, served as Elián’s caretaker and spokesperson for the paternal relatives.
- Another spokesperson for the relatives was Armando Gutierrez, a local Cuban American businessman. Meanwhile, Juan Miguel had managed to garner the support of the Cuban government and asked that his son be sent back to Cuba.
- On January 21, 2000, Elián González's grandmothers, Mariela Quintana and Raquel Rodríguez, came to US to take the boy back to Cuba. During their visit, they saw the boy only once. They also travelled to Washington, D.C., where they spoke to several congressmen and Attorney General Janet Reno. Their nine-day visit garnered intense media coverage. When they went back to Cuba, they received “a hero’s welcome”.
- Elián’s relatives in Florida refuted the claims that they had promised Juan Miguel a house and a car if he immigrated to US as well. Juan Miguel had no intention of leaving Cuba.
- On March 21, 2000, Judge Kevin Michael Moore of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida ruled that no one but the boy’s father could petition for asylum on his behalf.
- On 14 April, 2000, a video was put out in which Elián said that he wanted to stay in US. However, many believed that he had been taught to say that.
- In 2005, in an interview with ‘60 Minutes’, Elián revealed that his relatives had told him “bad things about his father” and tried to convince him that he did not want to return to Cuba.
- Elián saw his father again four hours after the raid at Andrews Air Force Base. The following day, a photograph showing a smiling Elián with his father, stepmother, and half-brother was published by the White House. The relatives said it was not the real Elián in the picture. While Elián and his father were in US, the relatives tried every legal option available to them.
- On June 1, 2000, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the ruling of the US District Court. On 28 June, the US Supreme Court denied the relatives’ request to hear the case. On the same day, Elián travelled back to Cuba.
- Elián was raised by his father and stepmother in Cárdenas. In 2015, it was revealed that he had plans of marrying his high-school sweetheart. He graduated with a degree in industrial engineering from the University of Matanzas in July 2016 and was subsequently hired as a technology specialist at a state-run company that supplies large plastic water tanks.
- In the 2000 telefilm ‘A Family In Crisis: The Elián Gonzales Story’, Elián was portrayed by Alec Roberts while Esai Morales played Juan Miguel. A documentary film called ‘Elián’, which contains exclusive interviews with Elián and his family in both Cuba and US, was released in 2017.
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