OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE No. 1

Today, Wednesday, June 28, at 12:00 noon, the United States Supreme Court turned down the request for an interdiction filed by the attorneys of the Cuban-American mob and the U.S. extreme right.

Nevertheless, Juan Miguel, his family and the other people accompanying them will have to wait until 4:00 p.m., the exact time at which the Court of Atlantaís interdiction expires.

Updated information will be provided throughout the afternoon, including all of the details regarding their departure, itinerary and arrival.

Now more than ever, our people should behave with utmost dignity, composure and discipline.

Appeals will be made as to the way we should behave. We must remember at all times that our struggle has barely begun, and that we still have a long road ahead of us.

June 28, 2000

12:10 p.m.

 

OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE No. 2

In accordance with the plans drawn up, at one second past 4:00 p.m., Juan Miguel, Elián, and the rest of their family and companions will depart from the place where they are staying in Washington for the airport, which is approximately 35 minutes away. Upon arrival at the airport, all of the regulation procedures for departure will be met. Juan Miguel will make a brief statement to the press, but will not take questions. Farewells will be said to the comrades from the Cuban Interests Section who have been attending to them, attorney Craig, Mrs. Campbell, and others who have loyally and steadfastly supported them. According to estimates, the flight back will take of at about 5:30 p.m. The group and an official from the Cuban Interests Section who will accompany them to our country will travel in two jet aircraft with room for eight and seven passengers, respectively. Despite the intensive efforts made over the last several days, it has not been possible, as of the time when this press release was being prepared, to charter an aircraft with enough room for everyone to travel together.

Further updates will continue to be provided throughout the afternoon.

June 28, 2000

1:10 p.m.

 

OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE No. 3

The Cuban Interests Section in Washington has informed that due to weather conditions, the authorities have requested that Juan Miguel bring forward to 3:15 p.m. the time of departure for the airport, so that take-off can be scheduled for 5:00 p.m. at the latest. As a result, the estimated departure time has been brought forward by at least 30 minutes.

June 28, 2000

2:30 p.m.

 

OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE No. 4

At 4:43 p.m., Juan Miguel, Elián and their companions departed from Washington. They will arrive in Cuba approximately two hours and 50 minutes later, depending on the wind currents.

As has been announced and reiterated for several months, based on the need to ensure that Eliánís return takes place smoothly in order to preserve him from over excitement, fatigue or disturbances, there will be no official welcome or popular mobilization of any kind. Everything will be as simple as possible.

Upon his arrival, the only people on the airport tarmac will be his six grandparents, his great-grandmother, his paternal uncle and young cousin Elianne, the parents of the children accompanying him, teacher Aguedaís husband, four representatives of the Youth Organization, students and pioneers who struggled so hard for his return, and Ricardo Alarcón, in his capacity as Juan Miguelís advisor, who was not granted a visa to travel with him to the United States.

The students from Eliánís grammar school in Cárdenas and their teachers will be waiting in an orderly and disciplined manner 25 meters away.

Only two television cameras and one photographer will be on the tarmac to report to the public and record the reunion for history. The numerous representatives of the foreign press who have requested permission to cover the historic return of the boy and his family will be placed, along with the necessary technical equipment, on the balcony of the old terminal at the José Martí Airport, 60 meters away, facing the aircraft. From the height at which they will be positioned, they will be able to precisely capture and perfectly broadcast the details of the arrival. There will be sufficient illumination to ensure that light from camera flashes is barely noticeable. There will be no press conference or statements. The basic idea is to limit Eliánís time at the airport to a few short minutes.

The group will then take the vehicles accompanied by their closest family members, will travel along a discreet, unannounced route to an intermediate point. There they will be joined by numerous close relatives of the fourteen people returning; these are relatives who want to meet them upon their arrival but will not be at the airport. They will remain at this intermediate point for no more than an hour.

According to estimations, at approximately 10:00 p.m., the full group of 14 who were in Washington will arrive at the school in the municipality of Playa that was prepared months ago to accommodate Elián, his father and stepmother, his schoolmates, and the others who were with them in Washington.

In view of the great progress already made by Elián they will remain there the minimum of time necessary for him to resume his life in Cuba in the most normal and quiet conditions that are possible for Elián and his four accompanying classmates to complete their first-grade studies.

According to the information available, Elián can already read and write. It is expected that in no less two or three weeks he will be perfectly well prepared to start second grade in the next school year.

Following this short period, Juan Miguel, Nersy and Elián, together with Hianny, will spend a week resting in the vicinity of Cárdenas. It is only after this that they will travel to their beloved city whose noble and cooperative people, keeping their emotions under control, should be prepared to do everything necessary from the very first moment to ensure that the boy can live a normal life and receive an excellent education alongside the rest of his schoolmates, after the suffering that he has endured and that has made him the most famous and highly publicized child in the world.

Our dedicated teachers and education experts will then work on their masterpiece, that is, to turn him into a model child, worthy of his history, of the love he has inspired and of his talent so that he will always be not only a normal citizen but also a symbol, an example and a hero for all of our countryís children, and a source of pride for the educators of Cuba. Everything stated with regard to this point has been consulted and analyzed with Juan Miguel and his family.

Another update will be released very shortly.

Havana, June 28, 2000

4:48 p.m.

 

OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE No. 5

Juan Miguel, Elián and the other family members and companions finally departed for Cuba in two chartered jets, given the impossibility of finding a larger plane in which they could all travel together.

They will arrive at 7:00 to 7:30 p.m.

The itinerary for their arrival will be as outlined in Official Press Release No. 4, with no official welcome or popular mobilization.

Our people and our Revolution always act ethically, never like the mob or those who indulge in politicking. We have always said that the interests of the boy come before everything else, and that we would never use him as a political tool. Nor would we use his return to Cuba to stage massive mobilizations and celebrations singing the praises of our victory and humiliating the United States, our historical adversary for 41 years due to its hostile and aggressive policy. That policy has resulted in many painful episodes, including the creation of the Cuban-American counterrevolutionary mob, and the shipwreck, kidnapping and tragedy of the little Cuban boy, Elián González. We are acting in full compliance with our convictions and our word.

We have fought a clean fight for extraordinarily noble objectives. This is not the time for boasting, bragging or vanity, which are totally incompatible with our usual behavior and our revolutionary standards. We have achieved the objective of the boyís return to his homeland, where he will live with his father, his stepmother, his little brother Hianny, his paternal and maternal grandparents, and other relatives, after an arduous and unprecedented battle of ideas and masses.

We have also had the privilege of being supported by the vast majority of the American people as they gradually came to learn the truth. Also, after some time, the president of the United States admitted that the kidnapping of this boy was absolutely illegal, dishonorable and damaging to the United States.

The millions of compatriots who struggled so hard to achieve this objective will carry their joy deep down in their hearts, within their homes, or as part of a circle of their closest friends and neighbors. They will not rush into the streets carried away by enthusiasm with expressions of joy that are not what is most fitting or advisable at this stage in our struggle.

The world will judge and support us for our equanimity, our composure and dignified attitude in these moments of extraordinary and justified emotion.

It is especially important as well to do absolutely nothing that could serve as a weapon to those who are filled with hatred and frustration and who would exploit the prejudices and conditioned responses that still persist in the United States to attack and criticize the people who sided with Juan Miguel and Elián. This is particularly true amidst a climate of unbridled electoral competition.

We take pride in the fighting spirit and consciousness showed by our children, students and youth. Our people deserve to be honored and congratulated for the progress made in this hard and difficult battle.

Also those who supported us throughout the world, especially the American people, are worthy of our gratitude.

However, no one should forget for a second that the struggle to bring Elián back safe and sound, an achievement that gives us great joy at the moment, is no more than the first chapter in the long struggle we should continue to wage.

With Elián, we have saved a wonderful child but thousands of other innocent children, older or younger than Elián, equally vulnerable, face the danger of being shipwrecked, dying or suffering horrible tragedies like Elián. This could happen tomorrow, or on any one of the 365 days of the year. The same fate could befall thousands of mothers and other Cubans victims of deceptive illusions.

Eleven million of our compatriots suffer the consequences of a cruel and merciless policy imposed by our powerful northern neighbor for more than 40 years. Immediately, and without a momentís rest, we will resume the battle against the murderous Cuban Adjustment Act, the Torricelli and Helms-Burton Acts, the dozens of amendments passed by the U.S. Congress to asphyxiate our country, the blockade, the economic war, the subversive plans, destabilization and destruction of our Revolution, and the other unquestionably just objectives we have sworn to achieve.

We received news yesterday on the eventual softening of the cruel and criminal blockade. However, far from being relaxed the blockade might be even further tightened, given the conditions imposed by the counterrevolutionary mob and the extreme right. These conditions make trade impossible and totally nullify the fruits of the tenacious efforts made by noble people both within and outside of the U.S. Congress, who have acted out of conviction being aware of the monstrosity of the blockade.

As a result, if the agreement being discussed were to be passed by Congress, the blockade and economic war would remain intact. And what is worse, the few prerogatives still kept by the president, such as authorizing or not U.S. citizens to exercise their constitutional right to travel to Cuba, would be taken away from him and turned into law, an objective desperately pursued by the Cuban-American mob and the U.S. extreme right.

Nevertheless, we express our acknowledgement and gratitude to those who have fought and continue to fight to put an end to an absurd and irrational, immoral and odious policy against our people, who have demonstrated their unbreakable spirit and their capacity to resist and triumph or die.

June 28, 2000

6:10 p.m.

 

OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE No. 6

The Cuban Interests Section has just informed that due to unfavorable weather conditions, the airplanes transporting Juan Miguel, Elián and other family members and companions have been forced to make a detour that will delay their arrival by approximately 15 minutes. As a result, they will probably arrive in Cuba a few minutes before or after 7:30 p.m.

June 28, 2000

6:34 p.m.