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10 INTRODUCTION Despite being under blockade since 1961 and losing 85 percent of its exports and 70 percent of its imports with the collapse of the Soviet Bloc in 1989 Cuba has managed to maintain its high levels of health care literacy education and housing Since Fidel and his band of rebels ousted Batista in 1959 Cuba has been at war with America Not only a war involving terrorist attacks and nuclear threats but also a war of politics and propaganda Elin Gonzalez has become the latest pawn in this war 20 ELIANS STORY On November 25 1999 a small boat containing 13 illegal immigrants heading for the United States from Cuba sank and 10 of the people aboard drowned These included the mother and stepfather of Elin Gonzalez Five year old Elin held onto an inner tube for two days before being rescued by a fisherman and taken to Miami for medical treatment With his fathers permission he was released into the care of his mothers uncle Lazaro Gonzalez When his father Juan Miguel Gonzalez requested his sons return Lazaro refused The US Immigration and Naturalization Service INS ordered Lazaro to return Elin to his father and but he refused sparking a wave of protests in Miami Cuba and around the world The Federal Court ordered Elins Miami relatives to transfer Elin into his fathers care but they refused to concede custody US Attorney-General Janet Reno allowed two deadlines to pass without taking any action Lazaro Gonzalez issued a statement saying They will have to take this child by force The Australian p9 On April 22 2000 at dawn armed federal agents raided the house in which Elin was being held and carried him off to Washington to be reunited with his father The kidnapping or rescue of Elin depending on which side you believe has become a symbol for the war between Cuba and the United States socialism
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