Gonzalez, 26, made an announcement on Father’s Day and said his own father, Juan Miguel Gonzalez, who brought him back from the United States to Cuba, was his inspiration when he prepared to become a father for the first time.
“Soon I will begin to understand what it means to be a father,” Elian Gonzalez wrote on his Facebook page. “But what I know until now is my father and I hope to do it as well as he did with me.”
In a message to CNN on Sunday, Gonzalez said he and his fiancee were expecting to have a baby girl later this summer.
On Thanksgiving Day in 1999, a 5-year-old Gonzalez was found clinging to an inner tube off the coast of Florida. His mother and nine others sank after the rickety ship they were riding overturned as they tried to reach the United States from Cuba.
Gonzalez went to live with a relative in Miami who refused to return it to his father in Cuba. Juan Miguel Gonzalez said he was unaware of his ex-wife’s plans to take the boy on a dangerous trip to the United States.
The case sparked Cold War-era tensions between the US and Cuba when Gonzalez’s father and Miami relatives fought in US courts to gain custody of the little boy. US immigration officials finally decided that Gonzalez should be returned to the detention of his father, who had come to the United States to debate the return of his son.
Eventually armed US federal agents stormed the Miami house where Gonzalez lived with his uncle to reunite him with his father. A famous photo of Gonzalez who is frightened to see an armed US agent win a Pulitzer Prize.
Riots broke out in Cuban American communities in Miami, where many felt Gonzalez’s return to Cuba would give Fidel Castro a propaganda victory.
After the US Supreme Court refused to get involved in this case, his father and son returned to Cuba.