Elian Gonzalez: What the Boy Once in the Middle of a US-Cuba Tug of War Is Up to Today

What Gonzalez, now 21, has been up to lately.

In the early morning hours of April 22, 2000, agents burst into his room, guns drawn, and scooped him up and out before the Cuban exile community could stop them.

His mother died while trying to escape the harsh economic situation on the island by boarding a homemade raft with 10 other people and Elian.

It sank, killing her and the other adults, but Elian was found floating on an inner-tube by himself some 60 miles north of Miami.

Where is the 21-year-old now?

In a recent interview with ABC News, the Cuban foreign minister Bruno Rodriguez said Elian is “a terrific student right now, having a very happy and normal life ... like any university student in Cuba.”

Elian’s case is viewed in Cuba as historic and symbolic of Fidel Castro’s refusal to buckle to America’s power or, more specifically, to the Cuban-American exile community in Miami.

Elian’s father, Juan Miguel, who so eloquently fought to have his son returned to him in Cuba is now a member of the National Congress, and Elian himself has spoken out against the U.S. embargo.

“Cuba, even with all its problems has progressed over the years,” Gonzalez said.

Elian remains close to Fidel Castro, who for years attended Elian’s birthday parties in the boy’s hometown.

Elian has yet to make made any public comment about the new, friendlier relationship between the U.S. and Cuba.