HAVANA – The Cuban boy at the center of an international custody battle eight years ago has joined Cuba’s Young Communist Union.
Communist youth newspaper Juventud Rebelde quotes Elian Gonzalez as saying he will never let down ex-President Fidel Castro and his brother Raul Castro, who succeeded Fidel earlier this year.
Now 14, Elian was 6 when Miami relatives lost their fight to keep him in the United States and he was returned to Cuba in mid-2000 with his father.
Elian had survived a boating accident off the Florida coast that killed his mother, who was attempting to get to the U.S.
Juventud Rebelde says in its Sunday edition that the boy was among 18,000 people who joined the group on Saturday
Drug traffickers target chopper, apparently mistaking it for police
RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil – Not even Santa Claus is safe as the violent Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro celebrates the Christmas season.
Drug traffickers in a Rio slum opened fire on a helicopter carrying a Santa to a children’s party, apparently mistaking it for a police helicopter, police said on Tuesday.
“They thought it was a police operation and started shooting. Luckily, nobody was hurt,” a police official said.
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The helicopter had to return to its base after the attack.
Two bullet holes were found in its fuselage.
Police said the pilot, contracted to take an actor dressed as Santa to the party in the Nova Mare slum, was flying over the neighboring Vila Joao shantytown when it was fired upon on Sunday.
Santa later returned to Nova Mare by car to distribute Christmas presents.
Most of Rio’s 700-plus slums are controlled by drug traffickers and are not regularly patrolled by police, who instead go into the slums in military-style raids, often using helicopters and armored vehicles.