Elian has regularly been trotted out for display in spotlights such as Disney World, and last month was put on a Spanish-language radio station in Miami to declare how much he wanted U.S. citizenship. Last week his Cuban father charged in a letter to Attorney General Janet Reno that the boy is being "unscrupulously manipulated." The Miami family's lawyer, Spencer Eig, says they might listen to AltaVista's idea, but "so far they've turned down" commercial offers. If so, it's a rare example of restraint in this more than two-month-long frenzy.
Fidel Castro and Miami politicians are already using six-year-old Elian Gonzalez as a poster boy. Now Madison Avenue wants a piece of the photogenic tyke. As long as Elian is a guest in capitalist America pending a U.S. court decision on his fate companies like the popular web-search firm AltaVista want to cast him in commercials. An advertising firm based in Portland, Ore., Wieden & Kennedy, which produces AltaVista's ads, tells TIME it is making a pitch to Elian's Miami family about using the boy's image in a national spot.