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Thursday, 20 April, 2000, 06:54 GMT 07:54 UK
Cuba reacts angrily to court ruling
Demonstration in Cuba
Cubans have held huge demonstrations in Havana
By Tom Gibb in Havana

There has been an angry reaction in Cuba to the latest US court ruling that six-year-old Elian Gonzalez must stay in the United States while his Miami relatives petition for asylum.

A government statement, read out on state television, said that the ruling put the court which is dealing with the case on the same side as what it called Elian's "kidnappers" in Miami.

The statement demanded that the US authorities carry out their promise to remove Elian from Miami and give custody to his father, who is in Washington.

This should be an administrative decision, it said, not something decided by the US courts.

"Intentional delay"

It called the latest ruling by an Atlanta appeals court that Elian must remain in the United States while the case is decided "another intentional delay".

Fidel Castro
Fidel Castro: Elian's Miami relatives are "kidnappers"

The Atlanta court is due to hold hearings next month on whether Elian would be eligible for asylum in the United States.

In particular, the Cubans criticised the US judges for suggesting that the opinion of Elian himself should have legal validity.

The boy's Miami relatives have produced a video tape of Elian saying he wants to stay in the United States.

"Brainwash"

The Cuban Government says these opinions are evidence that Elian is being psychologically tortured and brainwashed.

Cuban officials have said all along that Elian's father is the only one entitled to speak for his son.

The Cuban government has also sent a formal note to the US State Department accusing Miami exiles of deploying armed men to forcibly resist any attempt to remove the boy from his Florida relatives.

The note, read out on state television, includes a list of names of exiles the Cubans accuse of being involved in armed actions on the island and attempts to assassinate Fidel Castro.

The note gives the address of a house in Miami where, it claims, the activists have weapons.

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See also:

19 Apr 00 | Americas
Elian barred from leaving US
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
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