Cuba won respect of US - Elian Gonzalez

2015-07-25 19:28

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Santiago de Cuba - Cuba has won the respect of Washington, said Elian Gonzalez, who 15 years ago was at the centre of a tug of war symbolising tense ties between the two countries.

Cuba and the United States restored diplomatic relations on July 20, ending a half century of enmity going back to the Cold War.

Now 21, Gonzalez gained fame as a child immigrant whose rescue at sea and eventual return to Cuba gripped Americans' attention for months.

"The establishment of relations at the embassy level is a measure of the Cuban revolution throughout history," Gonzalez told AFP Saturday.

"While they [Washington] continue to criticise our model...it has been recognised they have a failed policy."

Gonzalez and his father were among guests to Santiago de Cuba to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the founding of the city.

Gonzalez was the only survivor of an immigrant shipwreck in 1999 when his mother left Cuba in a small boat bound for the United States.

He was rescued by the US Coast Guard and sent to stay with relatives in Miami, Florida.

Gonzalez became the centre of a dispute between Cuban exiles in Miami and the Cuban government, which backed his father's request for the boy's repatriation.

The dispute ended dramatically in 2000 when US immigration authorities with rifles entered the Miami home where Gonzalez was staying, took custody of him and delivered him to his father for return to Cuba.

Speaking in May, Gonzalez said he would like to visit the US.


Read more on:    cuba  |  us

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