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juan miguel gonzalez interview with dan rather
CBS
Juan Miguel Gonzalez, the father of 6-year-old Elian Gonzalez, sat down with CBS News Anchor Dan Rather for his first and only television interview since coming to the United States two weeks ago to claim his son.

The following portions of the interview did not air on CBS and are available exclusively here on CBSNews.com.

In these transcripts, Juan Miguel talks about finding out his son was missing, then learning he had survived the journey. He also says he would never consider moving to the United States.

When the interview was conducted, there were no Cuban government personnel in the room, in the house, or on the grounds – only Juan Miguel and the CBS News crew.

Consistent with CBS News practice, no questions or areas of questions were submitted in advance, nor was there any such request from Juan Miguel or his lawyers.

The attorney for Juan Miguel said that no questions were out of bounds. And CBS News made it clear that Dan Rather would ask any and all questions he felt appropriate.

RATHER:
You would or would not even consider living in this country with Elian?

JUAN MIGUEL:
I told you, I don't like it here. I like my country a lot.

RATHER:
So you wouldn't consider living in this country with Elian?

JUAN MIGUEL:
No, I don't like. I want to live in my country, my house.

RATHER:
Let me ask you this: if it should turn out that the only way you could get your son, the only way is to agree to stay in this country, would you consider it?

JUAN MIGUEL:
No. I want to go back to Cuba and take Elian with me.

RATHER:
What I'm trying to get a sense of is these people in Miami say they will never give Elain up.

JUAN MIGUEL:
Is he their son? That's my son. He is my son. They don't have any rights to speak for him.

RATHER:
Do you think Elian has accepted what has happened?

JUAN MIGUEL:
I imagine inside, he must be really upset. He has not had time to.... it has been so long since he has gone to school. First they started bringing tutors in for him and lately... he has either gone to school....or.... He is taken everywhere for the cameras, exhibited everywhere, put him on their shoulders, people who are not even his family exhibiting him everywhere as though he were a piece of merchandise, an object. That is why I say he must be suffering a lot. We must get him away from there as soon as possible.

RATHER:
Did you know that Elian's mother Elizabeth was going to bring him to
the U.S.?

JUAN MIGUEL:
No, I never knew that. Not at any moment. If I had known, it would never have happened. None of this would have happened. I neither knew about it nor had any inklings about it. She liked Cuba. She loved her child very much.

RATHER:
I'll tell you why I asked that. There are various reports that you knew that she was going to go and that you actually onsidered going yourself. And my question is, is there any truth to that at all?

JUAN MIGUEL:
No, I can tell you that. People are trying by any means to put me into ridicule.

RATHER:
So you never considered coming with them?

JUAN MIGUEL:
No, never. I want to stay in Cuba.

RATHER:
When did you first learn that they were on a boat coming to the U.S.?

JUAN MIGUEL:
I went to pick up my child after I got back from work....his mother had picked him up at midday....I asked my brother to go pick him up....and the house was open on Monday the 22nd....a cousin of mine who is his godmother then found the house closed....and we kept investigating. My father called one of his sisters here to have her find out.....just happen to know anything. And then when I came home from work one day, I went to the kitchen, I saw my mother, she was crying. And I asked her, "What about my baby, did she bring him?" She said, "No." My mother was crying. Tell me what happened, I asked her.

Everything seemed to indicate.....Tuesday went by, Wednesday went by, and the family here didn't know anything. Thursday I couldn't go to work. Everybody was listening to the radio, watching TV to see.... same thing in my house, some of my co-workers came. And they were crying. They hugged me and they said, "They found the child and he is
alive." There were three children on the boat....if it was my child, I didn't know, because there were three children on the boat.