Things That Matter

On Father’s Day, Cuba’s Elian Gonzalez announces he’s set to become a dad

Back in 2000, Elian Gonzalez became embroiled in a heated parental custody and immigration controversy that made international headlines. At the height of the dispute, Gonzalez’s paternal relatives had wanted to keep Gonzalez in the United States after his mother Elizabeth Brotons Rodríguez had attempted to leave Cuba with him. Brotons Rodríguez had drowned while making her attempt to flee and Gonzalez’s father demanded that his son be brought back to Cuba.

At the time, Gonzales was only 7-years-old. Today’s he’s a 26-years old and a father-to-be.

In a post to his Facebook page, posted on Father’s Day, Gonzalez announced that he will soon be a dad.

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Speaking about his future as a father, Gonzales called his own father, Juan Miguel Gonzalez who took him back to Cuba, as his inspiration for being the ideal father. “Soon I will begin to understand what it means to be a father,” Gonzalez wrote on his Facebook page. “But what I know up until now is my father and I hope to do it as half as well as he did with me.”

Speaking to CNN, on Sunday, Gonzalez said he and his fiancée are expecting their daughter to be born this summer

Gonzalez’s custody battle happened twenty years ago but still resonates with today’s political scene.

398283 06: Elian Gonzalez (C) celebrates his eighth birthday during a party December 6, 2001 at his school in Cardenas, 155 kilometers east of Havana, Cuba. Elian was taken in by Miami relatives after being picked up off the Florida coast in November 1999, then returned to Cuba in June 2000 after an eighth month international legal battle. (Photo by Jorge Rey/Getty Images)

Among Cuban-Americans, Gonzalez remains a poster child of government failures and excessive force. During his time in the United States, protests, demonstrations broke out in the states and Cuba as well. It resulted in a four-month battle that ended in middle-of-the-night Thanksgiving day raid by FBI agents. A photo of the raid, showed American officers holding a crying Gonzalez at gunpoint.

 In the years since his return to Cuba, Gonzalez has been as strong supporter of the Cuban Revolution and graduated from a military academy in 2016 with a degree in industrial engineering.

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