Opinion: Little Elian Gonzalez comes back to haunt Barack Obama

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Elian Gonzalez.

Remember him?

Maybe you remember his terrified picture here, when he was seized by U.S. federal agents in 2000 to be returned to Cuba as an illegal immigrant during the Clinton administration.

Elian was a Cuban refugee who made the perilous crossing from his homeland to the United States, losing his mother to the ocean in the process.

Attorney General Janet Reno decided in the spring of 2000 that the six-year-old boy must be returned to Cuba and his father.

And with that, Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore kissed Florida goodbye in that fall’s election, which was decided by -- do you remember how many? -- 537 votes.


Well, Elian -- or his cause -- is back in the news this weekend. As Democratic presidential nominee-to-be Barack Obama spoke to the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Miami, dozens of Elian protesters demonstrated nearby.

Obama foreign policy adviser Greg Craig represented Elian’s father in the custody dispute that returned the child to the communist island. Eric Holder, a member of Obama’s vice-presidential selection team, was deputy U.S. attorney general in Bill Clinton’s administration when government agents seized Elian from his relatives’ home in Miami’s Little Havana.

Our colleague Mark Silva over at the Swamp has the latest chapter in the moving story that still sends shivers of shame down some American spines.

-- Andrew Malcolm