Deported Refugee Elian Gonzalez To Become a Cuban Lawmaker

Deported Refugee Elian Gonzalez To Become a Cuban Lawmaker

( – Controversy exploded, and a Cold War-era diplomatic and legal battle raged for months after a couple of fishermen found then-five-year-old Elián González floating off the coast of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, on June 25, 1999. An international tug-of-war quickly ensued, with then-Cuban dictator Fidel Castro threatening to send armed guerrilla goon squads to kidnap the boy and return him to Cuba. Customs and Immigration authorities eventually deported him in June of 2000 after the US Supreme Court refused to grant an emergency petition filed by the boy’s Florida relatives. Fast forward 23 years and a recent news report out of Cuba indicates González is slated to become a lawmaker for the tiny Caribbean island.

On February 7, the official newspaper of the Central Committee of Cuba’s Communist Party published a list of the incoming members of the country’s 470-seat national assembly, the Asamblea Nacional del Poder Popular.

Cuba is a one-party state, and elections are a formality in the country’s modern era. So, González is all but guaranteed a seat in the chamber. Continuing that trend, the assembly only meets twice a year. The 31-member Council of State, the Consejo de Estado, maintains control over the entirety of the legislative branch for the remainder of the year.

González quickly embraced Fidel Castro and his style of governance upon his return on June 28, 2000. Castro attended his seventh birthday celebration, and the boy later gave an interview with the CBS News program “60 Minutes,” saying the infamous dictator was “like a father” to him.

The Guardian recently reported that González joined the Young Communist Union of Cuba (Union de Jovenes Comunistas) shortly after completing junior high school in June 2008 and promptly entered military school. A local newspaper reported at the time he vowed loyalty to Fidel Castro and his brother, Raul Castro, who replaced him as president earlier that same year.

González graduated from a public university in 2016 and currently works as an industrial engineer for a state-run company.

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