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Will Cardenas, Cuba herself, suddenly feel to Elian as if they had shrunk?

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The Complete Elian
The Gully's complete coverage.

The Cuba Files
All about Cuba, pre- and post- Castro.

elian and his family

Adiós, Elian

by Ana Simo

JUNE 24, 2000. Elian Gonzalez could be just four days away from Cardenas, Cuba, his hometown. That's just 96 hours away from his own bed, un-slept in during the last seven bizarre months, 576 minutes away from the wooden sword his grandfather carved for him, once his favorite toy.

Will he recognize his bed? Will he scorn the fabulous carved sword now that he has tasted Nintendo? Will a grateful Cuban government get him a new bed and sword, even a Nintendo or two? After all, he's boosted them to high heavens and wrecked their Miami enemies, all by himself.

Will Cardenas, Cuba herself, suddenly feel to him as if they had shrunk, after bountiful Wye Plantation and plush Georgetown? Or is this brutal adjustment of the mind and the senses what's in store for his adult retinue? The sea is one of Cuba's saving graces. If they focus on the sea, they'll be saved: they'll be able to go back—almost, but not, never quite—to who, what, where they were before. Proportions will be readjusted. Plastic cravings acquired during their golden exile in D.C. will slowly subside.

We'll probably never know exactly how the story turns out, and that is as it should be. Elian is not a soap opera character. We don't own him and his family.

The moment of truth will arrive at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, June 28, when Juan Miguel Gonzalez will be free to take his 6-year old son Elian anywhere he wants, including home in Cardenas, Cuba. Only the Supreme Court can make the boy stay in the United States after that date. The Court is unlikely to heed the Miami relatives' appeal that it step in, especially after the full, 12-member Atlanta Court of Appeals unanimously turned the relatives down on Friday, June 23.

I hope Juan Miguel, Elian and company stay for the Fourth of July. Out of their own free will, not because some court says so. There's nothing like corndogs, really. But after that, I hope they go home. Adiós.

Related links:

For the Atlanta U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeal's June 23 Ruling.

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