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CNN Today

Elian Gonzalez Handover Standoff: Little Havana Quiet as Miami Relatives, Justice Department Await Court Rulings

Aired April 17, 2000 - 2:10 p.m. ET

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

BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: A U.S. court of appeals here in the city of Atlanta may decide the next move in the Elian Gonzalez matter before the end of today. The government is pushing for a rather quick reunion between Elian and his father.

Live from Miami now, here's CNN's Mark Potter with the latest from today.

Mark, what's happened thus far?

MARK POTTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, good afternoon, Bill.

All is quiet here as everyone awaits that appeals court ruling which could have an important and perhaps defining effect on this case. There are a few protesters here at the house milling about very quietly just awaiting word from the judges, word that we have not yet heard.

The appeals court is being asked to consider a number of options. The Miami relatives are asking at the very least that the court order the boy to stay in the United States for the length of the appeals process, and is also arguing that if the boy is transferred to his father, it should be done in a slow, deliberative process that would involve psychologists and perhaps even mediation on the part of the court.

Now, the government, on the other hand, is asking for a swift transfer of the boy to his father, and is asking the court to consider issuing an order that would compel the family to make that transfer. Again, no exact word on when the judges will rule.

Now, sources are telling CNN that the Justice Department's patience in this case is wearing quite thin, and that if the court does not prohibit a transfer, it is -- the Justice Department is in the enforcement mode and is prepared, if necessary, to come get the boy sometime after the court ruling if, indeed, it comes to that.

Meanwhile, back here in Miami's Little Havana, Elian Gonzalez played in the yard a short while ago. It was the first time that we actually saw him here today. He was out just briefly and then went back in the house. His great-uncles, Lazaro and Delfin Gonzalez, were outside meeting with the protesters briefly. They brought water for them out on this hot -- brutally hot Miami afternoon. And then in the Washington, in Bethesda, Juan Miguel Gonzalez, Elian's father, left the house in Bethesda where he is staying and was headed for what we were told is a private meeting at the Cuban Interests Section in Washington.

So there are a few developments, but nothing major in effect. The status quo is in effect. The government wants a transfer. Lazaro Gonzalez is refusing to budge. Everyone is looking to the courts to, perhaps, break up this logjam.

Bill, back to you.

HEMMER: All right, Mark Potter live in Miami with the very latest on what's happening in the Elian Gonzalez matter.

Mark, thanks.

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