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Psychiatrist who met with Elián advises postponing relatives' visit

WASHINGTON - A child psychiatrist who interviewed Elián González for the government recommended Wednesday postponing any visit by Miami relatives until they reconcile with the 6-year-old's father.

As Elián remained secluded in rural Maryland with his father, stepmother and half brother, Dr. Paulina F. Kernberg of Cornell University Medical College reported that "Elián is doing very well" but "needs more private time with his family," Justice Department spokeswoman Carole Florman said.

"She believes that before the Miami relatives see Elián, they need to work out their differences with Juan Miguel," Ms. Florman said.

Meanwhile, Gregory Craig, attorney for the father, Juan Miguel González, asked in an emergency petition for the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals "to assert his rights as a father . . . to speak on behalf of Elián, who has no other suitable representative."

The father asked the court to reject a bid by the boy's great-uncle and former temporary guardian, Lázaro González, to have his lawyers and doctors see Elián and speak for him before the court.

"Lawyers for Lázaro González - and they are Lázaro's lawyers, not Elián's - seek to use machination and legal sleight of hand to turn this court into the arbiter of an intrafamily dispute in which the primary antagonist is too distant a relative to Elián to be considered even 'extended family' under Florida law," Mr. Craig's brief said. "This case cries out for this father's personal intervention to save his son from further manipulation."

The Justice Department also opposed Lázaro González's motion for a court-appointed guardian to examine and speak for Elián. It pledged to provide the court with regular reports from a psychiatrist and a social worker that it has hired to monitor Elián.

The 11th Circuit is considering the Miami relatives' appeal of a U.S. District Court decision that threw out the political asylum petition they filed on Elián's behalf.

On Capitol Hill, Lázaro González; his daughter, Marisleysis; and other Miami relatives campaigned to keep the boy in the United States despite his father's desire to take him home to Cuba.

The great-uncle, his daughter and other Miami relatives who came to Washington on Saturday flew back to Miami on Wednesday night, said Emilio Vasquez of the Cuban American National Foundation.

Dr. Kernberg, who speaks Spanish, spent 2 1/2 hours Tuesday with the González family at the Wye River Plantation on Maryland's Eastern Shore. She spent time alone with Elián, alone with the father and with the entire family.

"The doctor reported that Elián needs to feel there is no tension between his family and his Miami relatives before any sort of extended family meeting," Ms. Florman said.

On Capitol Hill, where Republicans planned hearings Wednesday on the raid that removed Elián from Lázaro González's home Saturday, the Florida relatives presented doctors who challenged Dr. Kernberg's conclusions. They called on President Clinton and Attorney General Janet Reno to permit Florida-based "medical professionals trusted by Elián" to evaluate him.

Dr. Kernberg was one of three doctors who interviewed Juan Miguel González and Lázaro González two weeks ago and recommended that Elián and his father be reunited quickly.

At the wooded Maryland retreat, Elián awaited visits by his former kindergarten teacher and a 10-year-old cousin who traveled to the United States on Wednesday from Cuba. The teacher and cousin flew into Washington's Reagan National Airport on Wednesday night and were driven to an undisclosed location.
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