The Boy on the Raft

Elián González was just five years old when he was found clinging to an inner tube off the coast of Florida on 25th November, 1999. His mother, step-father, and all the other Cuban migrants who had been attempting to cross to the United States with him were lost at sea.

Elián’s future then became a matter of high-stakes diplomacy between the two Cold War countries: should he be granted residency with his extended family in Little Havana, or returned back to actual Havana to the arms of his father?

In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly revisit the intense 24-hour news cycle that took hold over this seemingly small story; explain why even Gloria Estefan got caught up in the furore; and reveal how Alan Diaz went about taking his Pulitzer prize-winning photo of the FBI raid on Elián’s uncle’s home…  

Further Reading:

• ‘Elián González: How Cuba and the U.S. fought over a child in an international tug-of-war’ (The Washington Post, 2019):

• ‘Opinion | The Future of Elián González’ (The New York Times, 1999):

• ‘Elián González Believes He Would Have Been Used To Make Cuba Look Bad’ (CBS, 2015):

#US #90s #Cuba

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The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Sophie King.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2022. 

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