WASHINGTON -- Anticipating a decision by the Immigration and Naturalization Service to send 6-year-old Elian Gonzalez home to Cuba, U.S. officials have asked the Cuban government to help arrange for the boy's father to travel to Miami to pick him up.
American authorities hope the appearance of the father, Juan Miguel Gonzalez, and his clear desire to take custody of his son, will limit a legal and emotional backlash from Florida's large Cuban-American community, according to a U.S. official. Elian has become a cause celebre among militant exiles opposed to Cuba's Communist government who have demanded that he be allowed to remain with relatives in this country.
The appeal to Cuba came after INS officials met for a second time with Gonzalez -- a meeting that took place in Havana on New Year's Eve. Cuba responded that it would take ''under advisement'' a U.S. request that it facilitate an exit visa for the father, according to the U.S. official.
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