Thursday, April 8, 2010

ten years later...

Elián's all grown up... he's a cutie! He reminds me of a Cuban Iker Casillas, haha but seriously, it's kind of sad that he's now involved in all this communism stuff... Everything's politics I guess. :/

He is grown up now, almost an adult, but there is no mistaking the face of Elián González. The 16-year-old youth in an olive-green military school uniform has not changed so much from the boy who a decade ago was the subject of a diplomatic battle between Cuba and the US.

Cuba's rulers have released photos of González attending a Young Communist Union congress at a convention centre in west Havana last weekend. The images were posted on government websites yesterday, then widely transmitted by state-controlled media.

His hair is still cropped short, his expression remains solemn, except this time González presumably knows that, like it or not, he is still a political symbol.

"Young Elián González defends his revolution in the youth congress," read the headline over the photo posted on Cuba Debate, the same site where Fidel Castro posts columns.

State media did not elaborate on the adolescent's role but the green uniform with red shoulder patches appears to be from a military academy. There is a military school near his hometown of Cárdenas.

In November 1999, aged five, he was found floating off the coast of Florida in an inner tube after a vessel sank and his mother, Elizabeth Broton, died with other Cubans who tried to flee the island.

US immigration officials ruled the boy should return to his father in Cuba but Cuban exiles in Miami demanded he stay, prompting an uproar that galvanised mass protests on both sides of the Florida straits.

When Miami-based relatives refused to give him up, federal agents stormed the house 10 years ago this month and returned him to Havana.

Elián was celebrated as a hero and his father, restaurant employee Juan Miguel González, was elected to parliament. Cuba has marked González's 7 December birthday with parades but kept the boy away from foreign media.

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