Cubans Hit the Street Over Elian Gonzalez

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On Friday it was the mothers, and on Saturday, seemingly everybody else in Havana took to the streets to protest Elian Gonzalez's continued residence in Miami. Despite the demonstrations, and the mounting frustrations in Cuba (father Juan Gonzalez didn't make any friends by going on Nightline to tell of his desire to take a rifle to those who were blocking his son's return) the case is far from a resolution, especially now that House Republican Whip Tom DeLay has vowed to introduce legislation granting the six-year-old U.S. citizenship.

In any case, Elian won't be going anywhere before January 18, when a federal court hears a challenge by his Florida family to the Immigration and Naturalization Service ruling that the boy should be returned to the custody of his father. The INS Friday rejected a second application for asylum on Elian's behalf, on the grounds that only Juan Gonzalez is his legal guardian and has the sole right to speak for the child. Still, that's not going to stop the Florida Gonzalez family, the Cuban-American activist community and conservative Republican lawmakers from fighting tooth and nail to keep the boy here. And that could create a difficult political choice for the Clinton administration. Less so for Fidel Castro, who's reaped an unexpected domestic political dividend from the actions of the U.S. and the exiled activists, which have enraged ordinary Cubans. Whether Elian is reunited with his father or stays in Miami, the aging Cuban dictator wins.