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15 Years Later, How Elián González Helped Change U.S.-Cuba Relations

Elian Gonzalez is held in a closet by Donato Dalrymple, one of the two men who rescued the boy from the ocean, right, as government officials search the home of Lazaro Gonzalez for the young boy, early morning, April 22, 2000, in Miami, Florida. Armed federal agents seized Elian Gonzalez from the home of his Miami relatives before dawn, firing tear gas into an angry crowd as they left the scene with the weeping 6-year-old boy. (Alan Diaz/AP)
Elian Gonzalez is held in a closet by Donato Dalrymple, one of the two men who rescued the boy from the ocean, right, as government officials search the home of Lazaro Gonzalez for the young boy, early morning, April 22, 2000, in Miami, Florida. Armed federal agents seized Elian Gonzalez from the home of his Miami relatives before dawn, firing tear gas into an angry crowd as they left the scene with the weeping 6-year-old boy. (Alan Diaz/AP)

It was a story that riveted the nation: a 5-year-old boy was found drifting in the waters off Florida after his mother drowned while trying to escape communist Cuba.

The U.S., following international law, prepared to return the boy Elián González to his father in Cuba, sparking outrage in much of Miami’s anti-Communist Cuban-American community, which demanded Elián stay in Miami with his relatives.

Tim Padgett of Here & Now contributing station WLRN in Miami reports on how the situation affected the Cuban-American community and may have ultimately led to U.S.-Cuba normalization today.

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