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Dad Wants To Get Boy Back From Cuba

December 19, 2000

HAVANA (AP) _ The father of a boy taken from Florida to Cuba by his mother has flown to the island in an effort to bring the 5-year-old back to the United States.

Jon Colombini, 31, was in Havana on Monday hoping to persuade his ex-wife, Arletis Blanco, to let him return to the United States with their son, Jonathon.

On his first full day in Cuba, Colombini traveled to the western province of Pinar del Rio, where Blanco lives with the boy and spent several hours playing with his son, he said. In brief comments to reporters, he described the visit as congenial.

``Today was just a social visit,″ he said. ``There were no lawyers.″

Blanco, 29, embarked on a 21-foot fishing boat from the Florida Keys to Cuba on Nov. 12 with her son, boyfriend Agustin Lemus, 37, and their infant daughter.

Blanco has been living in Pinar del Rio with the boy and says she wants them to begin a new life. She was being investigated by Florida authorities on embezzlement charges when she left the country.

Colombini and his wife share custody of the boy, reports show, and Colombini has said he wants to raise the boy in the United States.

In Florida, the case has been dubbed ``Reverse Elian,″ in reference to Elian Gonzalez, the 6-year-old boy who was taken from Cuba to Florida last year without his father’s permission. The boy became the focus of a protracted custody battle.

Colombini said his lawyer Michael Berry would arrive in Havana Monday night and the two would return to see the boy on Tuesday.

Update hourly