saving elian
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a chronology of the elian gonzalez saga

November 25
1999
A five-year-old Cuban boy, Elian Gonzalez, is found on Thanksgiving Day clinging to an inner tube three miles off the coast of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Fishermen rescue him and he is taken to a hospital for treatment. But his mother and 11 others on the raft had drowned in their attempt to come to the U.S. from Cuba.
November 26
1999
Elian is released from the hospital into the custody of his uncle, Lazaro Gonzalez, and other relatives in Miami. The Cuban government sends a note to the U.S. mission in Havana requesting Elian's return to Cuba.
November 28
1999
Juan Miguel Gonzalez, Elian's father, files a complaint with the UN to get attention for his custody demands.
November 29
1999
The U.S. State Department recuses itself from considering the custody of Elian. It is left up to the Florida courts.
December 10
1999
Attorneys for Elian's relatives in Miami file a request for his political asylum.
January 5
2000
INS Commissioner Doris Meissner announces a decision that Elian's father in Cuba is responsible for his custody, and that arrangements will be made to return Elian to Cuba by January 14.
January 7
2000
Elian's relatives in Miami file suit in state family court to have Lazaro Gonzalez declared the boy's guardian.
January 10
2000
A Circuit Court judge grants emergency custody of Elian to Lazaro Gonzalez.
January 12
2000
Attorney General Janet Reno rejects the family court jurisdiction, tells the Gonzalez family it must file in federal court and she lifts the January 14 deadline to return Elian to his father in Cuba.
January 28
2000
The U.S. government asks the judge to dismiss Miami relatives' federal lawsuit.
March 9
2000
U.S. District Judge dismisses political asylum lawsuit.
March 30
2000
Vice President Al Gore, the Democratic candidate for President, says he supports legislation that would allow Elian to remain in the U.S. while the lawsuit is resolved in family court.
April 3
2000
The U.S. State Department approves visas for Juan Miguel Gonzalez and other close relatives to come to the U.S.
April 6
2000
Juan Miguel Gonzalez arrives in the U.S.
April 7
2000
After meeting with Juan Miguel Gonzalez, Attorney General Janet Reno announces that U.S. officials will move to transfer Elian to his father.
April 12
2000
Reno meets with Elian's relatives in Miami about the process for transferring the boy to his father, but there's no agreement from the relatives. Over the next several days negotiations continue between the family, Reno and representatives on both sides.
April 19
2000
The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals grants a request by Elian's Miami relatives to block his return to Cuba.
April 22
2000
In a pre-dawn raid, armed U.S. federal agents seize Elian Gonzalez from the home of his Miami relatives. Elian is reunited with his father a few hours later. But it will take two months before Eilan and his father would go back to Cuba--two months of court procedures and demonstrations and counter-demonstrations in Miami.
June 1
2000
A federal appeals court upholds the U.S. government's authority to deny Elian a political asylum hearing.
June 28
2000
Elian Gonzales and his father, stepmother and half brother arrive in Cuba to a jubilant reception. Their return comes just hours after the U.S. Supreme Court rejects a last-ditch effort by the Miami relatives to keep him in the U.S.


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