Watch CBSN Live

Elian's Father Pleads His Case

The father of the six-year-old Cuban refugee met with U.S. Immigration officials in Cuba, while the boy spent the day at an amusement park. The emotional case may be heading toward a resolution, CBS News' Byron Pitts reports.

In a town that sags from the weight of poverty, on a street Castro's revolution never reached, the father of Elian Gonzalez finally met with U.S. immigration and made his case to bring his oldest boy back home.

"I gave them birth certificates and documents from my work. He misses his family in Cuba," Gonzalez said about his son. "He cries. He wants to see me."

Gonzalez said the U.S. officials were encouraging, reports CBS News Correspondent Byron Pitts.

"They have always been in favor of us. I think they agreed the child should be returned as soon as possible," he said.

Meanwhile, six-year-old Elian spent a second day at amusement parks in Orlando, where reminders of a nightmare endured. As he was about to get on one ride, the boy asked, "Will this boat sink?"

Led by an escort who got him onto the rides without the usual half-hour wait, Elian was followed by an entourage of 30 relatives, journalists, security guards and sheriff's deputies.

Other visitors to the park also seemed to know who he was: On a carousel, the riders began a chant of "Elian, Elian."

On Thanksgiving Day, Elian was found clinging to an inner tube off the coast of Fort Lauderdale after the boat carrying him, his mother and other Cubans sunk in the Atlantic. His mother and stepfather died in the crossing.

While relatives in Miami say the child would be better off in the U.S., neighbors in Cuba insist he should be with his father. Augustin Serrano raised four children on the street where Juan Gonzalez lives. The oldest is now a doctor. Elian, Serrano says, needs to be here.

The residents here aren't blind to the obvious, deep poverty, Serrano said, But we do know that we are living for the future. In the U.S., you live worrying, 'how will I pay for all this when I die?'"

So the fate of one boy is now in the hands of U.S. Immigration in Washington. While relatives in Miami could file for a delay in U.S. court, American sources tell CBS News this case could be resolved by the weekend.

National Security Adviser Sandy Berger said Sunday that Fidel Castro should not use Elian's situation for political gain.

"This boy should not be a political football; he should not be a political pawn," Berger said. "There is a legal process which will determine who speaks for this boy."

View CBS News In