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CNN Today

Elian Gonzalez Expected to Meet With Grandmothers in Miami

Aired January 26, 2000 - 1:08 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: If all goes according to plan, and it certainly hasn't so far, the grandmothers of little Elian Gonzalez will finally get to visit the child about three hours from now in Miami. It is a family reunion that's taken more preparations and negotiations than some Cold War summits.

CNN's Mark Potter joins us now with a preview of what we can expect -- Mark.

MARK POTTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hello, Natalie. We're outside the home on Miami Beach where Elian and his grandmothers are expected to meet at about 4:00 p.m. Eastern time. It's the home of Sister Jeanne O'Laughlin, president of Barry University. She's also a well- known community activist here and is a friend of Attorney General Janet Reno.

Now, according the plan worked out between the INS and the Miami family, the grandmothers and Elian will have a private, two-hour meeting. The Miami relative will be nearby but in a separate room. It is supposed to be a private meeting. The grandmothers, who have been in Washington lobbying Congress to send the boy back to Cuba, have expressed mistrust toward the family here in Miami, and the Miami relatives have expressed their own concerns about this meeting. But Sister O'Laughlin has stressed that she wants this to be a calm, friendly, positive experience for young Elian.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SISTER JEANNE O'LAUGHLIN, PRESIDENT, BARRY UNIVERSITY: I hope that, somehow, he will experience the fact that many people love him, and these two women, grandmothers, do love him, and the family that he's with, that he has a loving environment so that he can come to grips pretty soon with an ending that's going to hurt one or the other of them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

POTTER: Now, moments ago, we were told that the grandmothers have just departed from Washington and are en route here to Miami. The plan is for the grandmothers to arrive at this location first, then Elian will be brought in by his relatives. After it's over, the grandmothers are expected to fly back to Washington. Elian will stay here. He will be taken by his relatives back to their home in Miami's Little Havana section. And then everyone waits for the next steps to be taken in Congress and in the courts.

Natalie, back to you.

ALLEN: And, why are they going back to Washington?

POTTER: To continue the lobbying efforts. They have been talking to Congress people, and they are making the point that they want the boy to be sent back to Cuba. They do not want Congress to make him a citizen or to make him a resident, and that's the point they're making. And Washington, for them, is the place for that.

ALLEN: OK, Mark Potter on the story there in Miami. Thanks.

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