Appeal Filed In Elian Case; Castro Hints at Invasion of Miami

By Jim Burns | July 7, 2008 | 8:07 PM EDT

( Attorneys representing the Miami relatives of 6-year-old Elian Gonzalez met a Monday Justice Department deadline and filed a motion to allow Elian to remain in the United States after a Miami judge dismissed an appeal against the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) decision to return Elian to Cuba.

The motion was filed with the 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta. The court that has jurisdiction over much of the South, including Florida. A ruling in the matter could come as early as this week.

"They have filed an emergency motion to set a schedule for briefings and for oral arguments. It is pending with the court. We have received a ruling on the matter," a spokesperson for the 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta told

The Justice Department late on Friday told Elian's Miami relatives that they had until noon today (Monday) to agree to an expedited appeal or Elian would be returned to his father in Cuba.

Last Thursday, at her weekly news conference, Attorney General Janet Reno said Elian was "legally cleared" to return to Cuba.

Meanwhile, in a speech broadcast in Havana on Sunday, Cuban President Fidel Castro said many of his countrymen were urging him to stage an armed assault to "rescue" Elian from his relatives in Miami.

During a five-hour speech before student leaders in Havana, Castro read a sampling of what he said are an average of 3,400 letters that the Cuban government receives every day concerning Elian.

One letter, according to Castro said, "it would be good to rescue Elian through an armed assault on Miami's worm nest. There are men here capable of doing it."

Another letter said, "Fidel should already have armed some men to go get Elian," according to Castro.

Castro also read letters criticizing the silence of Pope John Paul II on the Elian case, and he read one letter that suggested that Elian's father go to the Vatican and remain there until Elian is returned to Cuba.

Castro confidently declared that Elian's Miami relatives had run out of legal challenges. "They are capable of killing him rather than returning him safe and sound to the country."

"The Cuban mafia", Castro said, could expose Elian to a serious illness in an act of vengeance against Elian's father or the Cuban government. He also said, "according to reliable sources in Miami," the child's "kidnappers" had discussed moving him to another locations or even a third country to prevent his return to Cuba.