Gonzalez Case May Be Less Volatile Than It Seems

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The Miami Cuban community's violent hatred for Fidel Castro is legendary. But according to some analysts, it is also mellowing a bit. "The Cuban-American political lobby is waning in power," one expert told TIME Daily. "The old, virulently anti-Castro crowd is slowly dying off, while the anti-embargo lobby is gaining power." This is good news for Fidel — and for any U. S. administration interested in instituting a more constructive policy toward Cuba. Florida's state politicians, as well as presidential hopefuls, have long understood that any suggestion of conciliation between the U.S. and Cuba, thanks to Miami's heavily Cuban voting bloc, was tantamount to political suicide.

Although it may only be a matter of time before a more moderate Cuban-American tone develops in Miami politics, there's still no shortage of anti-Castro feeling. Ever since five-year-old Elian Gonzalez was found floating off the Ft. Lauderdale coast after losing his mother during their attempt to escape Cuba, he has been embraced by Miami's Cuban community. "Both sides of this debate are playing macho," an analyst says, "because they've got talks on immigration scheduled for next week." This puts Elian at the center of a tug-of-war between his father, a Communist party member living in Cuba, and his American relatives, who have taken him in. While the boy's plight has made headlines, this is, at heart, a family affair, and these particular U.S.-Cuban tensions may be short-lived. "In the very near future, we'll see a deal struck between Elian's father and the INS," predicts one observer, "perhaps as soon as this weekend."