Elian's great-uncles have had DUI convictions

MIAMI -- Two of Elian Gonzalez's great-uncles, who are among those fighting to keep the boy from being returned to his father in Cuba, have been convicted of driving under the influence at least twice in the past decade.

State records show Lazaro Gonzalez, 49, with whom Elian has been living in Miami, was found guilty of driving under the influence at least twice from 1991 to 1997. His license has been revoked or suspended at times, records show.

Records show his 62-year-old brother, Delfin Gonzalez, also has been found guilty at least twice of driving under the influence. Delfin Gonzalez lives in Marathon but has been residing at his brother's home.

The convictions may make it more difficult for Elian's relatives in Miami to argue that they can offer Elian a better life than his father in Cuba, experts on child custody law said.

Spencer Eig, an attorney representing Lazaro Gonzalez in his effort to keep Elian from being returned to Cuba, told The New York Times in a story published Wednesday that the great-uncles' driving convictions are less troubling than comments by one of Elian's grandmothers.

In a recent interview on Cuban television, Elian's paternal grandmother, Mariela Quintana, said she had "played jokes" with the boy during a meeting Jan. 26 at the home of a Roman Catholic nun in Florida.

Quintana said she bit Elian's tongue to get him to talk and unzipped his pants.

Ricardo Alarcon, president of Cuba's National Assembly, said Wednesday that it was not in Elian's best interests to remain with the Miami relatives.

"According to my research, practically everyone surrounding him either has been, or may be in the future, joining the prison system in the U.S.," he said. "That's an additional reason, as if more reasons were needed, to immediately place the boy in a safer place."

Two other relatives who have been periodic visitors at the Miami home have had run-ins with the law.

Jose Cid, 32, a nephew of Lazaro Gonzalez, went to jail last month on a 13-year sentence for grand theft, forgery and violating probation, according to the Miami-Dade Department of Corrections. His twin brother, Luis Cid, goes on trial Feb. 18 on charges relating to a robbery last fall.