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Reno: Show of Force Necessary

April 27, 2000

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Attorney General Janet Reno said today that agents seizing Elian Gonzalez had to have a ``show of force, not a use of force, to show we were in control.″ A psychiatrist who examined the 6-year-old Cuban boy said it’s likely he suffered no lasting harm from the armed raid.

Reno said the pre-dawn hours of Saturday were ``the most appropriate time with the least crowd″ for immigration agents to conduct the raid. ``This appeared to be the safest time possible to effect the transfer,″ she told reporters.

Elian, she said, ``has had a lot of bad luck along the way. He’s still resilient, he’s still strong, he’s still a smiling little boy.″

``My hope is that the pieces of Elian’s life can come together in a way that will be most positive for him, most enduring, and so he will look back on this time with as little pain as possible,″ she said.

Reno sidestepped a question on whether the Justice Department would intervene to set up a meeting between Elian and the Miami relatives who cared for him after his rescue from the Atlantic Ocean on Thanksgiving Day. Elian’s great-uncle Lazaro Gonzalez and cousin Marisleysis were the main caregivers.

``I can’t imagine that Marisleysis will be out of his life,″ Reno said. ``You could look at them and see a connection.″

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