HAVANA, CUBA (NEXSTAR) — Twenty years ago, the custody battle for Elian Gonzalez stoked U.S.-Cuba tensions and sparked worldwide media coverage.
Now, Gonzalez has announced he is to become a father. The 26-year-old made the announcement on his Facebook account on Father’s Day. Gonzalez told CNN he and his fiancée are expecting a baby girl later this summer.
Gonzalez said his own father, Juan Miguel Gonzalez, who fought for his son’s return to Cuba from the U.S., was his inspiration to become a dad.
Gonzalez was rescued as a 5-year-old boy after the boat he was traveling on to the U.S. from Cuba capsized. Relatives in Miami refused to return him to his father in Cuba. That sparked a custody battle that fueled protests in Miami’s Cuban-American communities, where many felt his return to Cuba would be seen as a victory for Fidel Castro.
Immigration officials decided that Gonzalez should be returned to his father, who came to the U.S. to argue for his son’s return. Armed federal agents eventually stormed the Miami home where Gonzalez was staying with his uncle in order to reunite him with his father.
Elian and his father traveled back to Cuba after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the case.
A famous photograph of a terrified Gonzalez looking at an armed agent won a Pulitzer Prize.
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