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CNN Today

Elian Gonzalez and His Immediate Family Avoiding Media Spotlight

Aired April 24, 2000 - 2:32 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: Elian Gonzalez, his father, stepmother and half-brother remain in seclusion at Andrews Air Force Base, out of the media spotlight that has followed the boy almost daily for five months. Pictures released late yesterday show a family seeking to regain a sense of normalcy. They are expected to stay at the base for several days and to remain in the United States while the various legal questions are worked out in the courts. That could take months.

The calm that Elian and his father apparently are experiencing may simply be the eye of the storm. Besides the court cases, congressional hearings may be in the works, and the Cuban-American community in Miami may vent its frustrations tomorrow in a huge work stoppage. And the relatives from Miami are still hoping to get into Andrews Air Force Base today to see Elian.

CNN's Patty Davis joins us from Andrews with the latest from there.

PATTY DAVIS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Elian and his father are spending their third day now at Andrews Air Force Base, the Air Force base on which they were reunited on Saturday. They've been spending time both inside and outside of their two-bedroom apartment here on the base. The base is heavily guarded, onlookers being kept away. We're being kept away. We're outside the gates, as you can see, across the street from the visitors entrance.

Now, as you said, Elian's Miami relatives are still here in the Washington area. They are planning, they say, to come here once again today to try to visit the boy at Andrews Air Force Base.

Cousin Marisleysis saying that she's going to stay in Washington until she gets to see Elian. She's been demanding access to the boy.

Now, they have so far not been successful in their efforts to see Elian. Two times now they've been turned away, both Saturday and Sunday. And on Sunday, they were trying to deliver Easter candy to Elian.

Now after spending a few days here, Elian, his father, his father's second wife, and their baby may head to another location, possibly the Wye River Plantation, which is located on Maryland's Eastern Shore. That's also a very secluded spot. That is where the Middle East peace talks were held in 1998. More privacy for certain if they decide to go to that spot from here at Andrews Air Base.

The Clinton administration is busy defending their raid on the home of the Miami relatives on Saturday morning, a senior Justice Department official telling CNN that Marisleysis, the cousin of Elian, who acted as his surrogate mother of sorts when he was in Miami, made a veiled threat to an unidentified Justice Department official, saying -- he quotes her as saying -- quote -- "There are more than just cameras in this house."

This is Patty Davis, CNN live, at Andrews Air Force Base.

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: And if what we are hearing is true, Elian Gonzalez is a very happy little boy to be reunited with his father, stepmother and infant half-brother.

Just a short while ago, I spoke with the Reverend Joan Brown Campbell, who spent several hours with the reunited family during those first hours on Saturday.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

REV. JOAN BROWN CAMPBELL, ADVISER TO ELIAN'S FATHER: At one point, it was very beautiful, when he crawled up on the bed beside his stepmother -- she was nursing the baby -- and he just put his hand on her shoulder and put his hand on the baby and patted him. And it was -- he just seemed deeply satisfied. And Juan Miguel is very, very joyful.

And for those of us who have worked with this family this very long time, the reunion was very, very moving.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WATERS: Americans have mixed emotions about the events that brought about that reunion. According to a recent CNN/Gallup poll, most of those surveyed, 57 percent, approve of the government removing Elian from the Little Havana home of his relatives, but they are disturbed by the images of heavily armed agencies seizing the boy at gun point. That same poll found 40 percent think the government used too much force to get the job done.

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