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Elian appears with Castro at children’s performance

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The most famous boy in Cuba, 7-year-old Elian Gonzalez, stood by Fidel Castro's side in a rare public appearance Tuesday at a colorful and politically tinged children's performance in Havana.

"Socialist Children," thousands of boys and girls in school uniforms sang during a meeting of the Pioneers, the island's Communist group for schoolchildren. "Steadfast! Steadfast!"

Eliansmiled as he walked into a Havana amphitheater with his father, Juan Miguel Gonzalez, and his 2-year-old half-brother Hianny.

Sitting in the front row, they watched series of children in colorful costumes sing, dance and perform skits on a stage built outside the U.S. Interests Section — the American mission here — during Gonzalez's battle for his son's return from the United States.

Castro, who embraced Gonzalez's fight for his son last year and made it a national cause that captured the world's attention, sat in the same row and greeted Elian with a kiss after the performance wrapped up an hour later.