Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Psychiatrist Visits with Elian, Family Doctor Says Visit from Relatives Should Be Put Off

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Psychiatrist Visits with Elian, Family Doctor Says Visit from Relatives Should Be Put Off

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON -- A child psychiatrist who interviewed Elian Gonzalez for the government recommended yesterday postponing any visit by Miami relatives until they reconcile with the 6-year-old Cuban boy's father. And the father asked a federal court to allow him alone to speak for his son.

As Elian remained secluded in rural Maryland with his father, Juan Miguel Gonzalez, stepmother and half brother, Paulina Kernberg of Cornell University Medical College reported that "Elian is doing very well" but "needs more private time with his family," Justice Department spokeswoman Carole Florman said.

"She believes that before the Miami relatives see Elian they need to work out their differences with Juan Miguel," Florman said.

Meantime, Gregory Craig, attorney for Juan Miguel Gonzalez, asked in an emergency petition for the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals "to assert his rights as a father . . . to speak on behalf of Elian, who has no other suitable representative." The father asked the court to reject a bid by the boy's great-uncle and former temporary guardian, Lazaro Gonzalez, to have his lawyers and doctors see Elian and speak for him before the court.

The Justice Department also opposed Lazaro's motion for a court-appointed guardian to examine and speak for Elian. It pledged to provide the court with regular reports from a psychiatrist and a social worker.

The 11th Circuit is considering the Miami relatives' appeal of a U.S. District Court decision that threw out the political asylum petition they filed on Elian's behalf.

On Capitol Hill, Lazaro Gonzalez and his daughter, Marisleysis, and other Miami relatives campaigned to keep the boy in this country despite his father's desire to take him home to Cuba.

Kernberg, fluent in Spanish, spent 21/2 hours Tuesday with the Gonzalez family at their new retreat at the Wye River Plantation on Maryland's Eastern Shore. She spent time alone with Elian, alone with the father and with the entire family.

"The doctor reported that Elian needs to feel there is no tension between his family and his Miami relatives before any sort of extended family meeting," Florman said. …

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