June 14: Cuban young militant Elian Gonzalez, right, accompanied by a fellow militant, smiles as he attends an event marking the 80th anniversary of the birth of the Cuban National hero, Argentinean Ernesto "Che" Guevara in Havana. Gonzalez, the Cuban boy at the center of an international custody baAP
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.