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The BBC's Malcolm Brabant reports
"The political row has alienated many whites, blacks and other non-Hispanics in a city dominated by Cuban exiles"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 3 May, 2000, 03:07 GMT 04:07 UK
Miami police chief seeks reconciliation
Cuban-American demo
Cuban-Americans have kept up their protests in Miami
Miami's new police chief has appealed for the city's ethnic communities to put aside their differences in the aftermath of the divisive operation to reunite Cuban shipwreck survivor Elian Gonzalez with his father.

Raul Martinez was sworn in on Tuesday to replace Chief Bill O'Brien, who was forced out of office by Miami Mayor Joe Carollo because he had failed to give warning of the federal raid on the home of the boy's Miami relatives.

Mayor Carollo has been a vocal supporter of the relatives' attempts to keep Elian in the US.

However the bitter political battle that has engulfed the city continues. The appointment of Police Chief Martinez was strongly opposed by Mayor Carollo.

Coming together

In common with the mayor, Mr Martinez is a Cuban-American. He came to the United States when he was 12.

"I pledge to all of you to be the chief of police for the entire community," Mr Martinez said.

"I ask that the many communities which make up this wonderful city to come together and put away their differences and see how much we have in common in the great city of ours."

Mayor's opposition

Mayor Carollo has described Chief Martinez's appointment as unethical and immoral because he was selected by Miami's city manager, Donald Warshaw.

Mr Warshaw was sacked by the mayor in the aftermath of the government raid.
Mayor Carollo/Gloria Estefan
Mayor Carollo with Cuban-American singer Gloria Estefan

BBC Miami correspondent Malcolm Brabant says the dismissal of Mr Warshaw and the departure of police chief Bill O'Brien has alienated many whites, blacks and other non-Hispanics in a city dominated by Cuban exiles.

The raid by federal agents was roundly condemned by South Florida's large Cuban-American community, as well as by some conservative members of Congress.

Legal appeals

After the raid, Elian was reunited with his father Juan Miguel Gonzalez, who wants to take him back to Cuba.

The boy survived a voyage from Cuba to Florida in late November during which his mother drowned.

Elian and father
Elian and his father were reunited last week
Father and son must stay in the United States pending an 11 May appeals court hearing.

Elian's Miami relatives have demanded a political asylum hearing for the child.

If the asylum claim is allowed to go through the case could take months to settle.

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See also:

01 May 00 | Americas
Millions demand Elian's return
29 Apr 00 | Americas
Elian protests split Miami
28 Apr 00 | Americas
Police chief quits over Elian row
27 Apr 00 | Americas
Elian's father enters court battle
26 Apr 00 | Americas
In pictures: Elian strike
22 Apr 00 | Americas
Analysis: Elian divides America
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