Elian Gonzalez was just six years old when he became a part of one of the United State’s most talked about situations. In 1999, Elian and his mother tried to escape Cuba by boat and their boat capsized, he was found floating off of the coast of Florida. He eventually began to live with his uncle in Miami and what followed was a conflict between the US and Cuba on whether he should be returned to Cuba with his father or be allowed to remain in the US that came to a dramatic end with an iconic photo of federal Marshalls forcibly entering the room Gonzalez was in to return him to Cuba.
Elian Gonzalez is now 21 years old and in a recent interview with ABC News he opened up about the entire ordeal saying “When I saw a person with a weapon. I got scared. I didn’t understand what they wanted with me, didn’t know what was going on…And I didn’t know as to what was happening — this litigation between my father and my uncles. But when the marshal took me in her arms and she took me to the vehicle, the first thing she said to me was ‘We are friends of your dad. We are going to take you with your dad.’ While after such a great impact, this is not going to go away. But I felt relieved, total relieved…And it wasn’t until the moment I saw my dad and hugged him that I realized that everything was done — that what they were saying was true and that I was able to calm down finally. ”
Gonzalez speaks very little English now and is engaged. He stated that he hopes to visit the US again one day, saying “For my family it has always been, we always have the desire to say to the American people, to say to each household our gratitude, appreciation and love that we have…Perhaps one day we could pay a visit to the United States. I could personally thank those people who helped us, who were there by our side. Because we’re so grateful for what they did.”