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HAVANA – The latest on the death of former Cuban leader Fidel Castro (all times local):
The Cuban who as a boy survived a shipwreck and became the center of an international custody battle in Florida in 2000 says Fidel Castro will still be with Cubans even after his death.
Elian Gonzalez says in an interview with Cuban state television that it's "not right to talk about Fidel in the past tense ... but rather that Fidel will be." He says Castro "is the present and the future."
Gonzalez said Sunday that Castro was a friend to his family at a difficult moment and made it possible for him to return to Cuba and be reunited with his father.
Gonzalez was a young boy when he, his mother and others attempted the sea crossing between Cuba and Florida nearly two decades ago. His mother drowned on the voyage, but he survived and was taken to Florida.
A bitter dispute broke out between his relatives in the United States, who wanted him to stay there, and his father back home in Cuba.
Castro made the issue a national cause and led huge demonstrations demanding the boy be returned to his father. U.S. authorities eventually sent Gonzalez back.