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The BBC's Malcolm Brabant in Miami
"The family's last chance to work out a compromise with the government came and went"
 real 28k

The BBC's Philippa Thomas in Cuba
"Eleven million Cubans want their boy back"
 real 28k

Saturday, 15 April, 2000, 05:46 GMT 06:46 UK
Relatives denounce Elian's father
Family spokesman Armando Gutierrez
Armando Gutierrez holds the affidavit
The Miami relatives of six-year-old Cuban shipwreck survivor Elian Gonzalez are accusing his father of having beaten Elian's mother while they were living in Cuba.



Juan Miguel is of a violent nature, impulsive nature

Miami family spokesman Armando Gutierrez
The family spokesman, Armando Gutierrez, produced an affidavit, signed by the only man to survive the journey that left Elian floating in the ocean, alleging that Juan Miguel Gonzalez attacked Elizabeth Brotons so severly that she needed hospital treatment.

The accusations came shortly after the relatives missed another deadline to hand Elian over to the authorities to be reunited with his father in Washington.


Juan Miguel Gonzalez
Juan Miguel Gonzalez has remarried and has another son called Hianny
Elian has been at the heart of a bitter custody battle since being rescued off the Florida coast after surviving a shipwreck in which his mother and 10 other people died while trying to cross from Cuba to the US.

Our correspondent in Miami, Malcolm Brabant, says this new attack on the character of Elian's father suggests that the Miami relatives are in no mood to voluntarily reunite the boy with Juan Miguel Gonzalez - the main US Government demand.

In the past few hours a truck has delivered a large stockpile of food and fresh water to Elian's temporary home. Witnesses said there were sufficient stores to last for several days.

Promise

The US Justice Department began new legal moves on Friday aimed at getting Elian's relatives to hand him over to his father.


The Elian saga
27 Nov: Rescued off Florida coast
29 Nov: Cuba accuses US of kidnap
11 Dec: Lawyers file for asylum for Elian in US
5 Jan: INS decides Elian should return to Cuba
11 Jan: Miami judge grants great-uncle temporary custody
26 Jan: Elian's grandmothers meet him in Miami
21 Mar: Judge rejects Elian asylum application
6 April: Elian's father arrives in Washington
12 April: Janet Reno orders relatives to hand over the boy
13 April: Handover deadline ignored
The department asked a federal appeals court in Atlanta to order the relatives to give up the boy - a day after they won a temporary ruling from the court barring anyone from taking Elian out of the country.

The Justice Department's new effort to re-unite the boy with his father includes a promise to issue a "departure control order", which would meet one of the Miami relatives' demands by preventing Elian leaving the country until the court finishes its review of his case.

But the relatives were given a 2100 EDT (0100 GMT) deadline to respond to the offer, which they failed to do.

If they continue to resist, the government may be forced to send in federal marshalls to get Elian, and Juan Miguel will be free to take his son back to Cuba.

Enforcement

A panel of three judges will meet in the coming days to consider whether to uphold the temporary ruling won by the relatives on Thursday, and the government's latest response.



Video footage featuring the boy has infuriated the authorities
A full hearing on the Elian case is scheduled for 11 May.

The US Immigration and Naturalisation Commissioner, Doris Meissner, said on Friday that action would be taken to enforce this ruling.

"There will be action taken. We are now in a situation where we need to enforce an order and a family is not in compliance with the law," she said on NBC's Today programme.

Elian's father is reportedly becoming increasingly frustrated with the delays. His lawyer has accused the Miami relatives and their supporters of unlawfully detaining Elian and of exploiting him.

Video

His lawyers were infuriated by a video, released by the Miami relatives on Thursday, showing Elian telling his father he did not want to go back to Cuba.

Speaking in Spanish on a home video, Elian said: "I don't want to go to Cuba. I want to stay here."

Whatever the judges' decision, the Miami relatives' Cuban-American supporters are unlikely to allow Elian to leave quietly.

On Thursday, hundreds of protesters who gathered at the family's house in Little Havana promised to form a human chain to prevent government agents from going in to take the boy.

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See also:

14 Apr 00 | Americas
Elian video sparks controversy
12 Apr 00 | Americas
What awaits Elian in Cuba?
09 Apr 00 | Americas
Miami divided over Elian
14 Apr 00 | Americas
Janet Reno: From Waco to Elian
04 Apr 00 | Americas
High emotion in Havana and Miami
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