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Special Event

Joan Brown Campbell Calls for Reunion Between Juan Miguel and Elian Gonzalez

Aired April 20, 2000 - 5:19 p.m. ET

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

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

JOAN BROWN CAMPBELL, CHAUTAUQUA INSTITUTION: ... talked to him on the phone, it was different than having a personal conversation with him.

I must say he's very -- he's very discouraged, but he's also very resolved. You saw that when he made his own statement.

I feel I don't need to say much less to you, because I'm very, very glad that he spoke to you directly. I think he's very persuasive. I think you can see that he has no intention of leaving without that child.

And I guess what I would like to say personally is, it's hard for everybody to understand, including me, that he has raised carefully and well this adorable child that everyone has fallen in love with. That child was raised by Juan Miguel and his wife for five and half years. And the fact that he now is separated from that child when it's his very own child and the only thing he has done is to be a Cuban citizen. And I think it's almost incomprehensible to many people as to why the Justice Department doesn't move to reunite him with his son. There are no prohibitions at this point, and I think I would join with Juan Miguel in urging the Justice Department to move as quickly as they can to reunite this father and son together.

He has said he will wait here, he will respect that order, he will be here in the United States, but he needs to be here with his son. Not someone that brings the boy for him to visit. It's his own son. But for him to be with his son.

QUESTION: Why do you think there's been a delay by the Justice Department?

CAMPBELL: I think that -- I have a respect, a deep respect, for Janet Reno. I know her. I have a deep respect for her. I think she has tried every way that she knows how to see if this could not be resolved in a peaceful way. I think that's appropriate. But I think there comes a point when you have to say, Everything has been tried and now we have to move. And this reunion of this child and his father needs to take place.

QUESTION: You think it will be now next week because of Good Friday...

CAMPBELL: I don't have any idea of when. I have no insight in to when it will happen.

QUESTION: Has the government been in touch with him since the court decision?

CAMPBELL: I'm sorry, what?

QUESTION: Has the government been in touch with Mr. Gonzalez since the court decision?

CAMPBELL: Not to my knowledge. But I am not schooled in all of that. So...

(CROSSTALK)

QUESTION: Did you talk to him about the possibility of mediation...

JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: The Reverend Joan Brown Campbell, who's been meeting with Juan Miguel Gonzalez, the father of Elian. And you just heard her saying she underlines what Mr. Gonzalez himself called for just an hour ago, for the Justice Department to bring him together with his son. He called on American people to contact the president, the attorney general, to write letters, to place telephone calls, to urge them to bring him and his son together.

She finally said, I have a deep respect for the attorney general. She said -- Reverend Campbell said she's tried to resolve this in a peaceful way, but she said, the point comes when you have to say this reunion between father and son has to take place.

More "INSIDE POLITICS" in just a moment.

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