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Elian Gonzalez Case: Government Mental Health Experts Wait to Meet with Lazaro Gonzalez

Aired April 10, 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: Our top story: A meeting scheduled to begin just a few minutes from now could have a big impact on the future of Elian Gonzalez. Elian's great-uncle, Lazaro Gonzalez, is supposed to talk with government-appointed mental health experts about the government's plans to reunite Elian with his father. The discussion is set to take place at the University of Miami Jackson Memorial Medical Center.

And CNN Miami bureau chief John Zarrella is there -- John.

JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN MIAMI BUREAU CHIEF: Natalie, we're not exactly sure when those meetings will actually take place. Late word, now, is that Lazaro Gonzalez, Elian's great-uncle, is in fact at the hospital meeting with his daughter Marisleysis, visiting her. She was admitted over the weekend suffering from what some people call depression, others call just absolute exhaustion. It's not the first time she's been in the hospital.

We understand that the 6-year-old Cuban boy Elian Gonzalez may also have been with Lazaro at the time of this meeting. He's saying that he's not sure when he can get here now for this meeting.

Just a few moments ago, we thought that these mental health experts, the two psychiatrists and one psychologist appointed by the government, were arriving here at the University of Miami's medical center. But since then, the van that we believed they were in has backed off. So we're not sure what that is all about.

We were also told a little while ago by the doctor who is hosting this event, that he believes that both the Juan Miguel, the boy's father, and the Miami relatives need to work this out in an amicable way for the best interests of Elian Gonzalez.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JON SHAW, DIRECTOR OF CHILD PSYCHIATRY, UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI: We want the parties to come together to talk to one another, define the issues, and the main thing is to talk and listen to each other, and I think this will have to be negotiated by the parties.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZARRELLA: Sources at the Justice Department are telling us today that the mayor of Miami and the mayor of Miami, Dade County, both of them have called for and are going to be given a meeting with Janet Reno some time tomorrow, that's the attorney general Janet Reno, in Washington. Details of why they would like to meet with Janet Reno are not clear at this point, not sure what they hope to accomplish with that meeting. But that is supposedly now scheduled for sometime tomorrow in Washington.

Over at Elian's great-uncle's house, Lazaro Gonzalez's home where Elian has been living the past four months, protesters continue outside. Many, many signs continue there that say: "Pray for Elian Gonzalez." For the most part, extremely peaceful, low-key protests. Later this evening, at 8:00 p.m., there is expected to be a huge candlelight vigil at one of the major intersections on a highway here in the Little Havana area of Miami, and thousands of Cuban-Americans are expected for that.

Again, we are here waiting and watching for the arrival of the psychiatrist and psychologist by the government, and also for Elian Gonzalez's great-uncle Lazaro.

This is John Zarrella reporting live from Miami.

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