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Link: US agrees family may see rescued Cuban boy

Tuesday, April 4, 2000

From Joe Carroll, in Washington

THE US: The State Department has approved visas for the immediate family of Elian Gonzalez to travel to the United States along with a cousin, a pediatrician and his kindergarten teacher. But 22 other visas requested are being reviewed.

This means that the father of the six-year-old Elian will be able to visit the US for the first time since his son was rescued last November from the sea off Florida. His mother and 10 others drowned when their boat sank.
Talks resumed yesterday between the Miami relatives of the Cuban boy and officials of the Department of Justice over his return to his father.

The department had said it would revoke Elian's parole allowing him to stay with the relatives today if the family did not agree to hand him over should they lose an appeal to be heard on May 8th in Atlanta. But it is now understood that the parole ultimatum has been set aside.

The large Cuban exile community in Miami has threatened to block any surrender of Elian to federal officials. The Cubans have said they will put a cordon around the house of Elian's grand-uncle, Mr Lazaro Gonzalez, to prevent this.

President Fidel Castro proposed at the weekend that Mr Gonzalez could travel alone to the US to retrieve his son on condition that this took place immediately and that he was able to return to Cuba without delay.

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