CNN Films is set to present a two-hour documentary Elián about Elián Gonzalez, the five-year-old found drifting in the Florida Straits after his mother, her boyfriend and nine others perished trying to come to the U.S. in 1999. Fishermen rescued the frightened child on Thanksgiving Day and put him at the center of a battle between families and mortal enemies - U.S. and Cuba.
The documentary will debut on the network on August 24 and is narrated by Tony Award nominee Raul Esparza. It is being executive produced by Alex Gibney, the award winning documentarian that recently profiled Steve Jobs and directed by Ross McDonnell.
The child became the center of a custody battle between his mother’s Miami relatives and his father, Juan Miguel, who was living in Cuba. The true battle was between the U.S and Cuba and the intense distrust Cuba has of the U.S. and the U.S. intense dislike of the Cuban dictatorship. The documentary will include interviews and archives from the historic legal battle and the raid at dawn that lasted 3 minutes returning Elián to his father and Cuba in 2000.
As the families battled for the boy in courts Cuba’s then President Fidel Castro weighed in and made this a matter of supreme importance to the island nation’s sovereignty. The U.S. courts eventually sided with Juan Miguel and the raid was carried out when the family and the entire anti-Castro community of Miami refused to hand the child over.
Today the 24-year Gonzalez is a member of the Cuban military and one of the staunchest defenders of the Cuban Revolution and a life-long friend of his defender Castro. Castro attended his 6th grade graduation and honored the young boy with a striking statue in Havana in the Anti-Imperalist Plaza. You can find the young Elián in the hands of island hero Jose Marti wagging his finger pointed right at the U.S. embassy that is located in front of the Plaza.
I don’t profess to have any religion, but if I did my God would be Fidel Castro. He is like a ship that knew to take his crew on the right path.
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