Miami (CNN) — The words that spill out of Elian Gonzalez’s mouth now make his great uncle shrug his shoulders.
But Delfin Gonzalez says he’s not surprised by pro-Cuba comments his nephew made in an interview with CNN this week.
“He understands and says what they have taught him,” Delfin Gonzalez told CNN en Español from his Miami home on Wednesday. “He cannot understand anything else.”
Fourteen years after Elian Gonzalez made headlines as the subject of a bitter international custody battle, he spoke to CNN this week from a youth conference in Ecuador.
It’s his first trip abroad since the U.S. government removed him at gunpoint from his relatives’ home in Miami and, after a legal battle, sent him back to Cuba to live with his father.
When asked by CNN en Español to describe what his life has been like since he left Miami, Elian Gonzalez said “magnificent.”
“I have experienced unprecedented, great growth, as a Cuban revolutionary, joining the cause,” he said.
Delfin Gonzalez says he remembers when his young nephew had quite a different perception of the island.
“One time he asked me, ‘How do the cats meow in Cuba?’ I told him, ‘Well, just like they do everywhere.’ He said, ‘No, there they say, ‘Miami, Miami.'”
Elian Gonzalez now studies engineering at a military school in Cuba and appears to be emerging as a new spokesman for the Cuban government.
“I haven’t suffered any consequences because of what happened. It has not affected me psychologically, but it has been hard for my family,” he told CNN en Español this week. “Those were tough times.”
Delfin Gonzalez said family in Miami has only one consolation.
“For us,” he said, “the only satisfaction that we are left with is that he is alive.”
For their sake – and, more importantly, his – I hope he comes to his senses (or, more fittingly, can get away from the intense manipulation and control I suspect he’s under by the Cuban government), and that when he does, he can get out of Cuba and far, far away from Communism. For good.