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NCC Supports Elian Gonzalez's Return To Cuba

Note to Editors and Reporters: Contrary to rumor and some media reports, the National Council of Churches has not chartered the aircraft that is waiting to take Elian Gonzalez, his family and others in their party to Cuba. While we are delighted that Elian and his family are on their way home, we have no involvement in the travel arrangements for their return.

A Statement by the Rev. Dr. Robert W. Edgar, General Secretary
June 28, 2000

We are delighted that Elian Gonzalez is on his way home at last, in the company of his loving father. The courts of our land have done the right thing in saying that Juan Miguel Gonzalez is the only one entitled to speak for his son. We regret that it has taken so long for there to be a resolution that will enable the boy and his family to be reunited in their own home.

The National Council of Churches became involved in the plight of this child at the request of the Cuban Council of Churches. The primary concerns of our churches were family bonds and positive human values and our goal was to provide a non-governmental means of reuniting a small child with his family. That was not to be.

We pray that this little child now will have time, in familiar surroundings, to get on with his life, to come to terms with the loss of his mother, and to reconnect with friends and family following these many months of forced separation.

The National Council of Churches hopes that a positive aspect of the struggle over this little child’s future will be to make dialogue possible between the United States and Cuba. There also is a wider consideration. Many Americans are in the same situation as Juan Miguel Gonzalez. Their children are withheld from them in other countries and they want them to come home. May the return of Elian Gonzalez to his father be a sign of hope for these other families.

We pray for a happy life for Elian Gonzalez in the warm embrace of his family. And we pray that all who are separated by these many decades of animosity between our country and Cuba may find a renewed relationship.

As it says in the Bible, a little child will lead us.



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