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Elian Gonzalez Returns Home

Sole shipwreck survivor Elian Gonzalez has arrived back home in Cuba today following a US Supreme Court ruling that he was to be put under the care of his father.

Met at the airport by cheering crowds, as well as friends and relatives, Elian’s return marks the end of a bitter 7 month long court battle between the United States Government and Elian’s American based relatives, who did not want the boy returned to the communist country.

A house hold name in the US, Elain’s fame is also now equally widespread in Cuba after Cuban President Fidel Castro used his plight to whip up nationalistic pride in the country.

But the six year old boy is to have a break from the media spotlight, at least for the short-term. Cuban officials say the boy will go to a seaside house in Havana, allowing him to rest and recuperate before he starts school, in a months time.

To prevent his return being unnecessarily stressful, no mass public demonstrations celebrating his welcome have been planned authorities said The boy would also only have limited access to local and foreign media, who were only allowed to view his arrival from the airport roof.

Before leaving the United States Elian’s father, a tourism worker, said he hoped Elian return would further help mend the frosty relations between the two countries, which have only recently begun to thaw since the 1962 Cuban missile crisis.

This week President Clinton proposed allowing unfettered sales of food and medicine to Cuba. If the motion is passed it would be the first time in four decades that America has allowed trade of any kind with Cuba.

However these attempts to normalise relations with the island will not be welcomed by many Cuban American’s who are still strongly opposed to the regime.

They blame this thaw in this relations for the decision to return Elian Gonzalez to his father, with the boy’s American relatives claiming the US government put politics before the boy’s welfare.

Their reasoning is echoed by those on the other side of the debate, the American Government who said the relatives politicised what was essentially a simple child custody decision.

Elain was rescued from the home of his Cuban-American relatives by federal agents in a dramatic dawn raid after they refused to give the boy up

Attorney General Janet Reno, who comes from Miami and took a special interest in the case as well as a battering from Cuban Americans, said she was pleased the Supreme Court had declined to review the Elian case. ``The law has provided a process, and this little boy now knows that he can remain with his father,'' Reno said in a statement

United States family law normally awards custody to the father if the mother is killed. Elian’s mother died in in the boat which broke up when coming to America

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