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City of Jersey City

Office of the Mayor
December 17, 1999

Mayor Bret Schundler to Start Legal Defense Fund for Elian Gonzalez,
The Cuban Boy Rescued Off of the Florida Coast

Jersey City
On Monday, December 20, at 1:00 p.m., Mayor Bret Schundler will announce the implementation of a trust fund in support of Elian Gonzalez, in cooperation with Armando Gutierrez, spokesperson for Elian, and Stanton Levin, the boy's attorney.

Elian is a Cuban boy who escaped the oppressive rule of Castro. Elian lost his mother in their attempt to flee the horrors of growing up under communism. She drowned in their search for freedom while Elian remained clinging to a raft in the Atlantic Ocean.

A struggle has persisted between the United States and Cuba over whether the boy should remain here or be returned. Mayor Schundler, who believes the boy should remain in America, will use the newly created fund for filing fees, translations, depositions, and psychiatric evaluations.

"No one should be subjected to the horrors of growing up in a communist regime. In America, the boy will have opportunities and choices that he will not find in Cuba. We cannot trust Castro to treat Elian properly if we return him. He deserves a Christmas in America after the struggle he's been through,' said Mayor Schundler.

Mayor Schundler believes it is important that Castro allow Elian's father to appear before an American court, free of any intimidation he might find in Cuba, to testify on the boy's behalf.

"In this effort, it is critical that all New Jersey elected officials especially Senators Torricelli and Lautenberg and the entire New Jersey congressional delegation, support Elian's quest for freedom," said Schundler.

Mayor Albio Sires of West New York and Assemblyman Rudy Garcia, D-33 have expressed support For the mayor's efforts on behalf of Elian.

The mayor also hopes that many concerned citizens will show their support for Elian by attending this event on his behalf at city hall and contribute financially to his legal defense fund.

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Documents from the Office of Jersey City Mayor Bret Schundler

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