The Elian Gonzalez Story
Making its world premiere on Fox Family Channel Sunday, 9/17/00 at 8:00 PM ET/PT, “The Elian Gonzales Story” is the real-life tug of war over a six-year-old Cuban boy rescued in the waters off the coast of Florida. His mother had perished while trying to escape Cuba with her little son, hoping to find a better life in the U.S.
Based on information from researcher D.J. Canava, who interviewed several key insiders, this made-for-TV drama gives a balanced look at both sides of Elian’s amazing story: adored by his American relatives, who believe he is a miracle, and his father, who wants him back in his homeland.
Indeed, his story is one of miracles, for little Elian was rescued after surviving sharks, a storm and the loss of all the adults with him as he floated in the Atlantic Ocean for 50 hours. He even claimed that dolphins protected him from the sharks and pushed him toward the American coast. The film also portrays his father as a good man who loves both his country and his son.
What shocked me at the time of this incident was the “storm trooper” tactics by the U.S. Attorney General and her crew. Seeing armed U.S. Marshals besiege the Lazaro home, taking the frightened child at gunpoint, seemed reminiscent of the handling of the Waco, Texas fiasco just a few years before. This film may make you wonder what happened to diplomacy and negotiation.