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Elian Gonzalez Case: Cuban Government Presents Applications for 28 U.S. Visas

Aired April 3, 2000 - 10:50 a.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: There is movement in the Elian Gonzalez matter.

Live to Havana, Cuba, where our bureau chief, Lucia Newman, joins us by telephone now. This regarding the visa application at the U.S. intrasection there.

Lucia, what have you found out?

LUCIA NEWMAN, CNN HAVANA BUREAU CHIEF: Hello, Bill.

Yes, indeed, just a short while ago, the Cuban government presented applications for 28 people to the U.S. intrasection, the U.S. diplomatic mission here in Havana. That is three people less than what originally had been called for. We understand they are three members of the medical team that Cuba is proposing accompany Juan Miguel Gonzalez, Elian's father, to the United States.

The visa applications were not presented personally by Juan Miguel Gonzalez before the intrasection. rather they were transmitted through the Cuban Foreign Ministry to the U.S. diplomatic mission here in Havana -- Bill.

HEMMER: Lucia, in short, does that mean that delegation of 28 can travel at any time to the U.S.?

NEWMAN: Only if the United States grants them visas, and that is still very much to be seen. In fact, the U.S. State Department has indicated that it is only willing to give expedited visas to Juan Miguel Gonzalez, his wife and his young, baby son. And as we know, Juan Miguel Gonzalez has said that unless everyone can travel with him, there is no point in him going -- Bill.

HEMMER: Quick clarification, Lucia, how long typical application in terms of processing?

NEWMAN: An expedited visa can take minutes, Bill.

HEMMER: OK, all right, Lucia Newman from Havana. Lucia, thank you. We will be in touch with you as we get more information, again, on the latest in the Elian Gonzalez matter.

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