Castro Calls For More Anti-American Demonstrations

July 7, 2008 - 8:02 PM

( - Cuban President Fidel Castro early Monday called on Cubans to once again take to the streets in another wave of mass protests aimed at pressuring the United States to release 6-year-old Elian Gonzalez, the Cuban boy now staying with relatives in Miami.

In a message distributed to the news media early Monday morning, Castro announced that rallies would resume at 5 p.m. EST outside the US diplomatic mission in Havana, where hundreds of Cubans demonstrated earlier this month.

Castro said, "Our people will not permit the repugnant and monstrous crime that is being so coldly and cynically committed with that boy before the astonished eyes of the world. What we are starting today is the second stage of the battle of the masses that we began on Sunday, December 5."

The Cuban American National Foundation in Miami said it hopes the demonstrations would not affect American policy toward Cuba or influence the case of Elian Gonzalez.

"We just hope that the United States does not make decisions based on how loud Castro shouts or how many people march on the streets of Havana," Nino Skaperec, a spokesperson for the Cuban American National Foundation in Miami told

Elian Gonzalez was picked up by US fishermen last month, after spending two days clinging to an inner tube when a boat full of Cubans sank. Elian's mother was among 11 of the 14 Cubans who drowned on that boat.

His father, Juan Miguel Gonzalez, who still lives in Cuba and was divorced from his mother, has demanded his son's return.

Elian remains in Miami with relatives while American and Cuban officials wrangle over his fate.

In his statement, Castro said, "Seven days have passed and the father has not received the slightest sign his rights will be recognized. No one is capable of saying at the moment when and how the boy will return. Regarding this point, there is confusion and chaos in the United States."

The Cuban leader also criticized anti-communist Cuban-American groups in Florida whom he called "the extremist and terrorist mafia of South Florida, baked by the US ultra-right." Castro has said he believes those groups are planning to form a human chain around Elian's house should Washington order his repatriation.

The Cuban American National Foundation is one group that hasn't ordered its members to form a "human chain".

"We have not told anybody to do that. But, then, on the other hand, the accusations of a dictator don't even merit a response," spokesperson Nino Skaperec told