Fourteen years ago, six-year-old Elian Gonzales was found clinging to an innertube in the waters between Cuba and Florida after the boat carrying his mother and other Cubans capsized, and they all drowned. Gonzalez was at the center of a lengthy and highly politicized custody battle between his relatives in the right-wing Cuban community in Miami, and his father who remained in Cuba. Eventually, following a dramatic raid, the little boy was reunited with his father and returned to live in socialist Cuba.
Fourteen years later, he blames the U.S. government for his mother’s death.
"Just like her, many others have died attempting to go to the United States. But it's the U.S. government's fault. Their unjust embargo provokes an internal and critical economic situation in Cuba,” Gonzalez said.
The genocidal blockade imposed on Cuba by the United States government since 1960 has caused the needless and prolonged suffering of the Cuban people, starving them of basic necessities like food and vital medicines.
Despite these hardships, Gonzales, now 20, says that his life in Cuba has been “magnificent” and credits the enduring will of the Cuban people.
“The progress we've made is all thanks to Cuba's courage, our dignity, our continued fight for a more just model,” he said.