Elian Gonzalez, who made headlines 14 years ago when his mother died while journeying from Cuba to the United States — sparking an international custody battle — said America was to blame for his loss.
"Just like her, many others have died attempting to go to the United States," he said, CNN reported. "But it's the U.S. government's fault. Their unjust embargo provokes an internal and critical economic situation in Cuba."
He made the comments during a youth conference in Ecuador earlier this week.
He also said, CNN reported: "But despite that, Cuba — even with all its problems — has progressed over the years. The progress we've made is all thanks to Cuba's courage, our dignity, our continued fight for a more just model."
Mr. Gonzelez was only 6 years old when he was found at sea, clinging for life to a raft. His mother drowned during the trip, but he was rescued by U.S. authorities and placed for a time with relatives in Miami. His father, Juan Miguel, ultimately won the right to bring him back to Cuba.
Mr. Gonzalez has recently spoken out about his return to Cuba, praising the decision and expressing gratitude. The Christian Post reported he said: "Wherever I go, there's always a child, an old woman that comes to me and wants to meet me, not because I am famous, but because they suffered with my family. Fidel Castro for me is like a father. I don't profess to have any religion, but if I did, my god would be Fidel Castro. He is like a ship that knew to take his crew on the right path."
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