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We Want to See Elian and We Want to Return with Him to Cuba,
Elian's Grandmothers Tell U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno

January 22, 2000, WASHINGTON, D.C. ---- In a meeting today with U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno and Immigration and Naturalization Service Commissioner Doris Meissner, Elian Gonzalez’s grandmothers said they "not only want to see" their grandson, "but we also want to return with him to Cuba."

Mariela Quintana Garrido, Elian’s paternal grandmother, and Raquel Rodriguez Rodriguez, his maternal grandmother, were accompanied by representatives of the (U.S.) National Council of Churches and Cuban Council of Churches for what the Rev. Dr. Robert Edgar, the NCC’s General Secretary, described as a "very personal meeting."

"Our mission was to open a dialogue, a conversation with the Attorney General," Dr. Edgar said, noting that every person around the table was a grandparent. "The Attorney General showed enormous compassion for these two courageous women." The grandmothers’ statement—handwritten in Spanish along with a typewritten translation into English—was given to Janet Reno and Doris Meissner. "We await their action and their decision," Dr. Edgar said. The full English language text of the grandmothers’ written statement follows.

To: Janet Reno

The retention of Elian in the United States adds to the tragedy of the family over the loss of Elizabeth. For us, the significance of returning Elian to his family will honor his mother's memory, return the family to normality and, more importantly, return Elian to the normality of life with his father, brother, family, friends at school, his toys, dog and parrot.

We are grateful to you for affirming Juan Miguel’s paternity rights, but we have felt frustrated over delays in complying with this right. We ask that you return Elian to his immediate family and not to his distant family where there has not been a previous relationship. This is the reason for being here, and we thank you for this interview. We only have Sunday to see Elian and we not only want to see him, but we also want to return with him to Cuba.


Mariela Quintana Garrido

Raquel Rodriguez Rodriguez

22 January 2000


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