In an apparent bid to show flexibility in the campaign to return Elian Gonzalez to Cuba, President Fidel Castro said the boy’s father has offered to travel alone today to the United States to pick up his 6-year-old son.
However, a group trip with the boy’s relatives and classmates appeared more likely than a solo trip by his father, Juan Miguel Gonzalez. Gonzalez, the boy’s stepmother, his baby half-brother, a dozen classmates and some adults planned to apply for American visas today at the U.S. Interests Section in Havana, the American mission here. The group would be ready to leave for the United States as soon as tomorrow, Castro said.
Gonzalez said he would go get his son alone if U.S. authorities promised they would turn Elian over to him immediately and allow them to fly back to Cuba right away, Castro said Sunday. At the same time, the lawyers for the boy’s relatives in Miami said they might try to argue that his father is an unfit parent. The White House has said there is no evidence of unfitness, and the father’s lawyer, Gregory Craig, said the “outrageous” allegations were a sign the Miami relatives were getting desperate.
It was unclear if American authorities would give the Cubans the 28 visas they have proposed. The group would not leave until Gonzalez had assurances that American authorities would give him custody of his son.