April 25, 2000 – A Hot Potato Named Elian
April 25, 2000 – the political windstorm over the Elian Gonzalez affair was starting to wind down, or at least try to. The young boy, subject of an intense immigration battle as the result of an attempt to seek refuge in the U.S. from Cuba was still at the center of controversy. But now that the boy was in the custody of the State Department, legal questions arose over the method at how this was going to be resolved. Gonzalez, the five year-old boy who, along with his mother, attempted to leave Cuba and head to the U.S. in a boat with several others, hit a snag when the boat sank, drowning his mother and ten others, leaving the boy alone and adrift before he was rescued and picked up by the U.S. Coast Guard.
Since his father was still in Cuba, but his relatives were living in Florida – it became something of a tug-of-war as to where little Elian was going to go. The State Department felt the boy should go back to Cuba and be with his father. Relatives and the Cuban community in Miami felt he should stay and live with cousins. The issue became whipped into a frenzy when the legal question turned into a political one and it came to a head on April 22, when Federal Agents took the boy in a much-publicized pre-dawn raid.
The move further fueled controversy as Elian Gonzalez was taken into custody and placed in a large secluded house in Maryland along with his Father, step-mother and infant half-brother, who had arrived from Cuba to be with the boy while the mess was being sorted out and the legal wrangling got underway.
On Capitol Hill, Attorney General Janet Reno was being questioned by members of Congress over her handling of the situation and, rather than just go away, the episode was creating more questions than answers, as the whole event created a further polarizing of public and world opinion and calls for everyone to just relax.
And that’s just a small sample of what went on, this rather busy and roller-coaster April 25, 2000 as reported by The CBS World News Roundup: Late Edition.