Fifteen years ago the plight of Elian Gonzalez captivated cable news viewers. It was a story that had a tragic beginning and a stunning, controversial end. Classic turn-of-the century cable news fare.
Five-year-old Elian arrived in a raft from Cuba landing in Matanzas, FL in late 1999. His mother died along the way. His father remained in Cuba. A custody battle ensued between relatives who thought Elian should remain in the U.S., and his father, Juan Migual, who fought to bring him home to Cuba. It all came to a head the morning before Easter, 2000, when U.S. federal agents stormed the South Florida home where Elian had been staying. Within hours he was back with his father in Cuba.
Gonzalez was last interviewed by a U.S. network in 2005, when 60 Minutes caught up with him. Recently, ABC’s Jim Avila spent three days with 21-year-old Elian, who just got engaged. He says he wants to return to the U.S. some day.
Avila’s story airs tonight on World News Tonight with David Muir. Here’s the Good Morning America version: