WASHINGTON - A child psychiatrist who interviewed EliÃ¡n GonzÃ¡lez for the government recommended Wednesday postponing any visit by Miami relatives until they reconcile with the 6-year-old's father.
As EliÃ¡n remained secluded in rural Maryland with his father, stepmother and half brother, Dr. Paulina F. Kernberg of Cornell University Medical College reported that "EliÃ¡n 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 EliÃ¡n, they need to work out their differences with Juan Miguel," Ms. Florman said.
Meanwhile, Gregory Craig, attorney for the father, Juan Miguel GonzÃ¡lez, 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 EliÃ¡n, 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, LÃ¡zaro GonzÃ¡lez, to have his lawyers and doctors see EliÃ¡n and speak for him before the court.
"Lawyers for LÃ¡zaro GonzÃ¡lez - and they are LÃ¡zaro's lawyers, not EliÃ¡n'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 EliÃ¡n 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 LÃ¡zaro GonzÃ¡lez's motion for a court-appointed guardian to examine and speak for EliÃ¡n. It pledged to provide the court with regular reports from a psychiatrist and a social worker that it has hired to monitor EliÃ¡n.
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 EliÃ¡n's behalf.
On Capitol Hill, LÃ¡zaro GonzÃ¡lez; 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 GonzÃ¡lez family at the Wye River Plantation on Maryland's Eastern Shore. She spent time alone with EliÃ¡n, alone with the father and with the entire family.
"The doctor reported that EliÃ¡n 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 EliÃ¡n from LÃ¡zaro GonzÃ¡lez'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 EliÃ¡n" to evaluate him.
Dr. Kernberg was one of three doctors who interviewed Juan Miguel GonzÃ¡lez and LÃ¡zaro GonzÃ¡lez two weeks ago and recommended that EliÃ¡n and his father be reunited quickly.
At the wooded Maryland retreat, EliÃ¡n 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.