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Elian Gonzalez Case: How Will Castro Use High-Profile Custody Case?Aired April 22, 2000 - 6:23 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: Joining us now to discuss the legal and cultural aspects of the Elian Gonzalez case is Richard Nuccio. Mr. Nuccio joins us from Washington, he is the director of the Pell Center at Salve Regina University in Rhode Island. Mr. Nuccio, good to see you again, thanks for joining us.
RICHARD NUCCIO, SALVE REGINA UNIVERSITY: Thanks for having me.
KAGAN: First, were you able to hear Fidel Castro's comments just a few minutes ago as we broadcast them live here on CNN?
NUCCIO: Yes, I am sorry for smiling, but I have heard President Castro give long speeches before and I suspect that you heard about 30 seconds of the next three or four hours.
KAGAN: You think he will go on for a little bit. Help us understand a little bit of just that we heard in the 30 seconds, his comparisons he's making of the Elian Gonzalez situation to the Bay of Pigs.
NUCCIO: Well, I think -- again, trying to figure out from that little excerpt, it wasn't really a comparison. What he was saying is the way that Miami and Havana talk about these issues. He believes that the court issued its ruling on the 19th specifically to try to deal another defeat to Cuba today as was attempted to be given to Cuba in the Bay of Pigs some 40 years ago. So the symbolism of this history of conflict between the U.S. and Cuba, specifically between the exile community and President Castro, is very much on the minds of both sides in this issue, both Miami and Havana.
KAGAN: Seen a lot of images today from 5:00 a.m. Eastern this morning when Elian Gonzalez was taken from the home of his Miami relatives until later in the day when he was reunited with his father. How do you suspect Fidel Castro will use those images at home in Cuba?
NUCCIO: Well, he is going to continue to try to use the Elian Gonzalez case in two ways. First, to rally domestic public opinion in support of the revolution. And it is really one of the last ways that revolution has to try to support itself using the United States and an external enemy as a way of rallying people's support. It has little else to offer to the population anymore.
And the second way he's going to use the Elian Gonzalez case is to try to defeat the exile community in Washington -- excuse me -- in the United States and its influence in Washington and to hope that the defeat of the exile community will also lead to an unraveling of the U.S. embargo against Cuba and he may be right about that.
KAGAN: Well, speaking of that community, of the Cuban-American community, very bitter, very disappointed about how this has turned out today. Where does that community go from here?
NUCCIO: I used to subscribe to what I would call the rubber-band theory of U.S.-Cuba policy, that if the exile community in Miami continued to try to stretch U.S.-Cuba policy further and further to the right it might just snap back against them. And I have seen -- I think what we have seen today is the beginning of that snap back.
The administration is clearly now on the side of moving in a way that is very politically damaging to the exile community. I think they are going to find that they will get a hearing on Capitol Hill, but very little results will be produced as a result of Republicans trying to play politics with the issue but in fact not really being able to deliver anything to them.
And I think that community is going to go through a tremendous psychological trauma as it realizes that the influence it has been used to over the last 40 years is starting to slip away. I hope that there is a constructive re-examination of the role of the exile community and they find a way to continue to involve themselves constructively in U.S. politics, but it is possible that there will be a more bitter reaction. That has been the lesson of the past at least.
KAGAN: Richard Nuccio from Salve Regina University, you always have a different way of letting us look at a situation and we appreciate your time today, sir.
NUCCIO: Thanks for having me.
BRIAN NELSON, CNN ANCHOR: And now, here are some of the latest developments in the Elian Gonzalez case. An attorney for Elian's father, Juan Miguel Gonzalez, says now is not the time for a meeting between the boy and his Miami relatives. His cousin and great-uncle traveled to Washington Saturday hoping to see Elian again. The Air Force, though, refused to allow the family onto Andrews Air Force Base where Elian is staying with his father.
Elian and his father were reunited Saturday morning, they had not seen each other in five months. People who saw the two together say that Elian hugged his father and smiled when they were reunited. Taking Elian from his Miami relatives touched off an angry reaction in the Little Havana community in Miami, Florida. Crowds there have set fires in the streets and thrown rocks at the police. At least 80 people have been arrested.
KAGAN: And that's it for this edition of "WORLDVIEW."
At 8:00 p.m. Eastern, I'll be joined by Wolf Blitzer for a special report on the Elian Gonzalez case.
NELSON: From CNN Center in Atlanta, I'm Brian Nelson.
KAGAN: And I'm Daryn Kagan, thanks for joining us.
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