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Opa-Locka Airport Standing Ready Should Elian Be Flown to D.C.Aired April 13, 2000 - 1:26 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LOU WATERS. CNN ANCHOR: Attorney General Janet Reno's preference today would have been to pick up Elian Gonzalez and some of his Miami relatives, fly them to Washington to meet with Juan Miguel Gonzalez, Elian's father, and reunite father and son up there and have a meeting with both sides of family. That still may happen. That was supposed to include Opa-Locka airport where they would have taken the relatives and Elian for the flight to Washington. That's where Martin Savidge is right now.
What's happening there, Martin?
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well Lou, if they went ahead with that plan, everything is in place at Opa-Locka Airport, has been actually for eight hours, since early this morning, 5:00 this morning to be exact, when about 200 police officers showed up on scene here to provide security for the airport. Most of them are from the Miami- Dade police force. They have remained on scene throughout the day here. But of course, as the deadline grows closer and closer and there seems to be no sign of departure coming from the family home there in Little Havana, it seems that all of this now has been just an exercise. The police officers are remaining here. There is an area that has been set aside in anticipation of demonstrations that might take place. There is no one in that demonstration area because there has been no movement towards this airport.
So everything, like everywhere else in this city, is on hold waiting for the hour of 2:00. It would be assumed though that after that hour passes, some of the forces here may be told to stand down. We do know that some of the security forces that have been on alert in other, what are so-called sensitive areas in the city, have already been scaled down some. But the force here still standing at the same number it was at early this morning -- Lou.
WATERS: And there is no government plane on the tarmac there waiting?
SAVIDGE: Well the -- I'm sorry Lou, I'm losing you. Can you say that one more time?
WATERS: The government was supposed to provide transportation, free of charge, to the Miami relatives. Is there any sign of any such government plane?
SAVIDGE: I'm sorry Lou, I still can't understand it. WATERS: OK, we have a connection problem with the Opa-Locka Airport. We will take a break. We'll continue our coverage of the Elian Gonzalez story when we come back.
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