Elian Gonzalez Criticizes U.S. Embargo of Cuba

Cuban boy whose custody case drew headlines around the world

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Elian Gonzalez, who was at the center of an international custody battle when he was just six years old, slammed the United States’ embargo of Cuba in his first trip outside Cuba since his case captivated both countries more than a decade ago.

“Just like [my mother], many others have died attempting to go to the United States,” Gonzalez, who was found floating in an inner tube after his mother and nine others drowned trying to reach Florida in 1999, told CNN while in Ecuador to speak at a youth rally. “But it’s the U.S. government’s fault. Their unjust embargo provokes an internal and critical economic situation in Cuba. But, despite that, Cuba, even with all its problems has progressed over the years. The progress we’ve made is all thanks to Cuba’s courage, our dignity, our continued fight for a more just model.”

Gonzalez, now 20, was sent back to Cuba to live with his father in 2000 after a high-profile legal battle waged by relatives in Miami who wanted him to remain in the States