Havana, Cuba (NBC) — Elian Gonzalez, the Cuban boy who was involved in an international custody battle 16 years ago in Miami, is mourning the death of Fidel Castro, a man he compared to a “father.”
Elian was a photogenic 5-year-old in 1999 when he was found floating on an inner tube off the Florida coast.
Sixteen years later, he is recalling Fidel Castro as a man he likened to a father.
IN an interview on Cuban State TV Saturday, he said he wanted Fidel to be proud of him.
Speaking in Spanish he said, “He is a father who like my father, I wanted to show him everything I achieved.”
Now almost 23-years-old, Elian remembered when Fidel attended his elementary school graduation.
Gonzalez’ mother and other Cubans accompanying the boy died trying to get to the United States from the island 90 miles to the south.
He case quickly became another battle in the long-running feud between Havana and Miami, one that ended with the boys return to his father and grandparents in Cuba.