Cuban government censors filter details of the Elián González case broadcast on the island, but when Leoncio Veguilla visited the United States last month, he couldn't escape the news. Now Veguilla, president of the Western Baptist Convention of Cuba, has heard all the stories, rumors, and reports:

  • That Elián's father was an unfit parent who had abused his ex-wife, Elián's mother, who perished off Miami's coast before fishermen plucked their child from shark-infested waters.
  • That Elián's grandmothers told a Miami nun, who now wants Elián to stay, of their desires to defect to the United States.
  • That the same grandmothers had behaved in a sexually inappropriate manner with the boy during their visit with him.
  • That Elián's father knew his wife was planning to flee Cuba with the child and gave his blessing because deep down he truly wants his son to live in the United States.

So knowing now what he couldn't hear in Cuba, what does Veguilla believe should be the fate of this child?

"The boy should come back to Cuba."

Veguilla's opinion stands in stark contrast to opinions in Miami, where polls show that three-quarters of the city's Cuban-American residents believe the boy should stay. Just 90 miles across the Florida Strait, however, interviews with Havana pastors and national church leaders reveal that most evangelicals share Veguilla's opinion.

But don't the details censored from Cuban media shed important new light on the child's case? Not according to Veguilla, father of three and grandfather of six.

"There's no proof of any of these accusations," Veguilla says in the perfect freedom of his son's home in Miami, where no government censors monitor phone calls for counterrevolutionary speech. "In reality, there's not much foundation ...

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