Ecumenical leaders who took part in efforts to reunite 6-year-old Elián González with his Cuban father have criticized the use of force to remove the boy from his Miami relatives. But they expressed relief that Elián had finally been reunited with his father.Robert Edgar, general secretary of the US National Council of Churches (NCC), said that he lamented "that it had come to that." Edgar was referring to the early-morning raid April 22 by armed federal personnel at the home of Elián's Miami relatives. A photo of a US official in the home holding a gun has added to the long-standing controversy over the boy's future.But Edgar added in an interview with Ecumenical News International (ENI) that he was pleased that the boy was finally in the custody of his father, Juan Miguel González, and away from what he described as "a circus atmosphere" in Miami. "I hope that they can finally become a family again," Edgar said of the Easter weekend reunion between Elián and his father. "This is a time for Juan Miguel and Elián to be alone. My hope is that now he'll be able to deal with the death of his mother."Elián was rescued off the coast of the US state of Florida last November. He, his mother—who had divorced Elián's father—and other Cubans were fleeing to the US, but Elián was the only survivor. Since then, the boy had been at the center of a bitter battle as his Miami relatives argued that he would be better off in the US than in communist Cuba. But the US government determined that, under US immigration law, the boy belonged with his father.Joan Brown Campbell, Edgar's predecessor at the NCC and an unofficial adviser to Juan Miguel González, spent two hours with the González family shortly after Elián was reunited with his father ...1
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