Elian Gonzalez, the boy who became the center of an international political battle when he was forcibly taken from relatives in Florida and sent back to Cuba, has joined a youth-serving organization: the Young Communist Union.
The Communist youth newspaper Juventud Rebelde reported that Gonzalez, 14, was one of 18,000 youths who joined the union last month. The union, which was founded in 1962 by Fidel Castro, has more than 500,000 members.
In 1999, Elian and his mother fled Cuba for the United States on a raft, but his mother died en route. Elian was placed in the care of relatives in Miami, but his father in Cuba demanded his return. The case became an international cause célèbre, with Castro, then Cuba’s president, launching a public campaign to get the boy back.
After lengthy hearings, Elian was returned to his father in Cuba in 2000 – after being taken from relatives at gunpoint in a controversial raid on their home by government agents.