MIAMI (CBSMiami) – It was 15 years ago when the battle over Elian Gonzalez set off an international custody battle–and South Florida was smack in the middle of it.READ MORE: Jury Reaches Verdict In Dayonte Resiles Murder Trial
Elian, at the age of 6, was taken from his family’s home in Miami on April 22, 2000. He was seized by armed federal agents during an early morning raid that took place while negotiations continued between the boy’s Miami family and his father, who wanted Elian returned to Cuba.
Elian’s mother died during a voyage to escape the island. Elian survived the journey and was found on Thanksgiving Day clinging to an inner tube off the coast of Fort Lauderdale.READ MORE: CBS4 Nat Moore Trophy Talk With The Dolphins Legend Himself
Elian is now a 21-year-old industrial engineering student at a university in Cuba. He is a staunch supporter of Cuba’s communist government and of former Cuban leader Fidel Castro.MORE NEWS: South Florida's Lane and Cameron Bess Set To Become First Father-Son Duo To Travel To Space Aboard Blue Orbit Spacecraft
During an interview last year, Elian said he does not feel any lasting psychological trauma as a result of the experience he lived through, but he said the ordeal has been difficult for his family.