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CNN Today

Elian Gonzalez's Grandmothers Fly to Florida, Will Meet with Miami Relatives

Aired January 24, 2000 - 1:01 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: Elian's grandmothers, meantime, are setting out for Miami, where they're apparently expecting to at least see the child before they go home to Havana.

CNN's Mark Potter picks up the story there -- Mark.

MARK POTTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, good afternoon.

The grandmothers left the apartment in New York late this morning, the apartment were they had been staying. They headed for an airport at Teterboro, New Jersey. We are now told that the plane is now airborne, and according to the National Council of Churches, it is headed here to Miami.

Now, about an hour ago a spokesman for the -- spokesman for the Gonzalez family here in Miami said a meeting is being negotiated with the INS, a meeting between the grandmothers and the family here, and they wanted specifically to take place in the house behind me, the house where Elian has been staying with his relatives.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ARMANDO GUTIERREZ, SPOKESMAN FOR MIAMI RELATIVES: This morning, I met with police officers from the city of Miami to try to do a meeting here where it would be peaceful. I have met with some of the directors of the radio stations in Miami to assure that, you know, we will have a normal meeting, a family meeting, that will be something that Elian will be very proud of and the family here would be very proud of and grandmas will be very proud of.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

POTTER: The family members say they look forward to seeing the grandmothers and claim that they will meet them with open arms. A letter was sent today by the lawyers for the family to the INS claiming that they definitely want the meeting here, the letter saying in part, "it is most important that the visit take place at the Gonzalez home in Miami because the grandmothers really should see where Elian sleeps, what he eats, who he plays with and how much love and carrying he receives in the home." The letter goes on to say, "these are not observations which could be made at any other location." The lawyers are suggesting that Archbishop Augustine Roman (ph) of the archdiocese of Miami would escort the grandmothers to and from the home, and they are suggesting that that meeting take place here in Miami at 6:00 p.m., Eastern Time.

Mark Potter, CNN, reporting live from Miami.

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