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A Football Named Elian – January 5, 2000

And a kid was stuck in the middle.

And the kid was stuck in the middle.

. . . or click on the link here for Audio Player – CBS World News Roundup – January 5, 2000 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection.

On this day 15 years ago, the on-going tug-of-war between relatives of Elian Gonzalez, the Cuban-American community in Miami and the Justice Department were approaching fever-pitch.

On January 15,2000 U.S. Immigration officials determined the boy be sent back to Cuba and to his father. After interviewing Juan Gonzalez twice, INS officials came to the conclusion there was no coercion on the part of the Cuban government and they would complete arrangements to send Elian back to Cuba by January 14th.

The Cuban government was pleased, the Cuban-American community in Miami wasn’t. Protestors descended on the INS office in Miami and Elian’s relatives who lived in Miami objected to the ruling, saying Elian’s mother lost her life trying to bring the boy to America and that it would have been her wish to keep the boy in the U.S.

Elian and his mother were part of a group of refugees leaving Cuba when their boat sank off the Florida coast, drowning the mother. The protests were guaranteed to gain in intensity over the coming days.

Meanwhile, the Labor Department suggested a plan where telecommuters who worked out of their homes were liable for inspections by OSHA officials. The suggestion brought a wave of protests, and Labor Secretary Alexis Herman withdrew the suggestion for further study, saying such a move was an extreme overreach by federal authority of bureaucracy, and that it would run the risk of causing a revolution by some 20 million telecommuters. Never mind.

NBC Television, after getting a howl of protests from the NAACP, agreed to make their network programming more diverse. Studies showed the major networks were not only lax in creating more programs with an ethnic diversity, they were practically nonexistent. NBC became the first network to pledge specific steps to boost minority representation. ABC, CBS and Fox were expected to follow suit.

Senator Ted Kennedy came out in support of a Presidential bid by vice-President Al Gore in the upcoming 2000 election.

And New Orleans Saints coach Mike Ditka was handed his walking papers, along with the firing of his entire staff. With just 3 wins and 13 losses for the 1999 season, Ditka said his coaching days were over.

That’s a slice of what went on this January 5th in 2000 – 15 years ago today, as reported by The CBS World News Roundup Late Edition.

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