TIME People

Elian Gonzalez, 15 Years Later

The April 17 2000 Cover of TIME
The April 17, 2000, Cover of TIME TIME

Nov. 25, 1999: Cuban refugee Elian Gonzalez, just shy of his 6th birthday, is rescued off the coast of Florida

Elian Gonzalez’ mother was so desperate to escape Cuba and raise her son in the U.S. that she risked the 90-mile ocean crossing in a rickety aluminum boat. When it capsized, drowning her and nine others, 5-year-old Elian clung to an inner tube until he was rescued by fishermen on this day, Nov. 25, in 1999, and later reunited with relatives in Miami.

Elian’s father, meanwhile, wanted to raise his son closer to Castro. What followed was an international tug-of-war between Elian’s father, Juan Miguel, and the relatives who struggled to keep him in the country his mother had died trying to reach.

Elian became a poster child for the troubled relationship between Cuba and the U.S. — and, some said, a pawn in their political posturing. The drama made headlines because it combined a bitter political divide with a fundamental parenting question: Is it possible to be both a good father and a communist.

After more than four months of legal wrangling and a one-on-one meeting between Juan Miguel and Attorney General Janet Reno, the U.S. government reluctantly conceded that yes, it was possible. According to a 2000 TIME story about their meeting, Reno wanted to give Miguel every possible opportunity to recant: “She wanted to see for herself: Was he really a loving father — and did he really, truly want to raise his child in a country where milk is rationed for children over 7 and soldiers drown citizens who try to flee?”

But Miguel managed to convince her of both his love and his genuine desire to raise his son in Cuba. Elian’s return was a new trauma for the boy, who had already suffered unthinkable trauma. To get past the crowds of protesters who surrounded the Miami home where he was staying with relatives, armed federal agents were sent to forcibly seize the boy.

He was separated not just from his Miami relatives — and a new puppy — but from an American lifestyle that included unlimited chocolate milk, trips to Disney World and a growing collection of toys. His relatives feared that when he returned to Cuba, he would be subjected to high-pressure political indoctrination. According to the BBC, Cubans countered that “Elian ha[d] already been indoctrinated in the U.S., and [was] being turned into a ‘toy-obsessed’ capitalist.”

Back in Cuba, however, he quickly put capitalism behind him. By age 12, he addressed Fidel Castro as “my dear Grandpa Fidel,” according to a get-well letter he sent the Cuban leader in 2006. At 14, he was inducted into the Communist Party.

And last year, at age 20, he railed against the American embargo of Cuba, which he blamed for his mother’s death.

“Their unjust embargo provokes an internal and critical economic situation in Cuba,” forcing people like his mother to flee, he proclaimed at a youth rally in Ecuador.

When a CNN reporter at the rally asked Elian what his life had been like since his repatriation, he answered: “magnificent.”

Read TIME’s Apr. 17, 2000, cover story about Elian Gonzalez: I Love My Child

TIME People

Woman Who Got Cosby Money Orders Says They Were Just ‘Generosity’

Former NBC employee says he regularly brought women to Cosby's dressing room

A former NBC employee has shown NBC News receipts for money orders that he says he sent to women at Bill Cosby’s direction.

Frank Scotti, now 90, says he also regularly brought women to Cosby’s dressing room. He told Kate Snow in an interview that aired on TODAY Monday that the job made him feel “like a pimp.”

But one of the women whose name appears on several money orders says the gifts were purely the product of Cosby’s “generosity” and were intended to help pay for her son’s boarding school…

Read the rest of the story from our partners at NBC News

TIME People

Washington D.C. Mourns Its ‘Mayor for Life’

Marion Barry died Sunday at age 78

Flags are flying at half-staff in Washington, D.C., as the city mourns former mayor Marion Barry, who died Sunday at age 78.

A spokesperson for current mayor of the nation’s capital, Vincent Gray, said he ordered that the flags be lowered in Barry’s honor, the Associated Press reports. “Marion was not just a colleague but also was a friend with whom I shared many fond moments about governing the city,” Gray said in a statement. “He loved the District of Columbia and so many Washingtonians loved him.”

There was a notable outpouring of tributes from members of the Washington media, many of whom emphasized his community contributions rather than the more notorious chapters in his life. People are expected to gather outside his home in Southeast D.C. at 5 p.m. Sunday for a vigil.

President Barack Obama also issued a statement Sunday remembering Barry’s commitment to civil rights and combatting poverty.

“Marion was born a sharecropper’s son, came of age during the civil rights movement and became a fixture in D.C. politics for decades,” he said. “During his decades in elected office in D.C., he put in place historic programs to lift working people out of poverty, expand opportunity and begin to make real the promise of home rule.” A key part of Barry’s legacy was his summer jobs program.

Barry served as the city’s second elected mayor from 1979 until 1991. In 1990, the FBI and Washington police busted him in a drug sting, and video footage of him smoking crack cocaine was widely circulated. He served six months in prison on a possession conviction but was re-elected mayor in 1995 in a remarkable political comeback. The longevity of his career earned him the nickname Mayor for Life.

He went to work in consulting after leaving the mayor’s office in 1999, but he returned to politics again in 2004 when he was elected to the D.C. Council, representing part of Southeast Washington until his death.

[AP]

TIME People

Former DC Mayor Marion Barry Dies at 78

(WASHINGTON) — Divisive and flamboyant, maddening and beloved, Marion Barry outshone every politician in the 40-year history of District of Columbia self-rule. But for many, his legacy was not defined by the accomplishments and failures of his four terms as mayor and long service on the D.C. Council.

Instead, Barry will be remembered for a single night in a downtown Washington hotel room and the grainy video that showed him lighting a crack pipe in the company of a much-younger woman. When FBI agents burst in, he referred to her with an expletive. She “set me up,” Barry said.

Barry died Sunday at 78. His family said in statement that Barry died shortly after midnight at the United Medical Center, after having been released from Howard University Hospital on Saturday. No cause of death was given, but his spokeswoman LaToya Foster said he collapsed outside his home.

Speaking at a 4 a.m. press conference at United Medical Center, the city’s mayor-elect Muriel Bowser called Barry an “inspiration to so many people and a fighter for people.”

“Mr. Barry, I can say this, lived up until the minute the way he wanted to live,” said Bowser, who had served with Barry on the D.C. Council.

The year was 1990, and crack cocaine had exploded in the district, turning it into the nation’s murder capital. In his third term, the man known as the “Mayor for Life” became a symbol of a foundering city.

Federal authorities had been investigating him for years for his alleged ties to drug suspects, and while he denied using drugs, his late-night partying was taking a toll on his job performance.

The arrest and subsequent conviction — a jury deadlocked on most counts, convicting him of a single count of drug possession — was a turning point for Barry. He had been elected to his first term as mayor in 1978 with broad support from across the city. With his good looks, charisma and background in the civil rights movement, he was embraced the dynamic leader the city’s young government needed. The Washington Post endorsed him in each of his first three mayoral runs, although the 1986 endorsement was unenthusiastic.

Barry’s six-month term in federal prison was hardly the end of his political career. But it forever changed how it was perceived. To some, he was a pariah and an embarrassment. But to many district residents, particularly lower-income blacks, he was still a hero, someone unfairly persecuted for personal failures.

Barry returned to the D.C. Council in 1992, representing the poorest of the city’s eight wards. Two years later, he won his fourth and final term as mayor. The electorate was starkly divided along racial lines, and Barry advised those who had not supported his candidacy to “get over it.”

“Marion Barry changed America with his unmitigated gall to stand up in the ashes of where he had fallen and come back to win,” poet Maya Angelou said in 1999.

Barry’s triumph, though, was short-lived. In 1995, with the city flirting with bankruptcy from years of bloated, unaccountable government, much of it under Barry, Congress stripped him of much of his power and installed a financial control board. Barry held authority over little more than the city’s parks, libraries and community access cable TV station. He decided against seeking a fifth term.

Barry spent a few years working as a municipal bond consultant, but he couldn’t stay away from politics. In 2004, he returned to the council, again representing Ward 8, where he remained beloved. Many constituents still referred to him as “Mayor Barry,” and he was re-elected in 2008 and 2012.

Barry was born March 6, 1936, to Marion and Mattie Barry, in the small Mississippi delta town of Itta Bena, and was raised in Memphis, Tenn., after the death of his father, a sharecropper.

While an undergraduate at LeMoyne College (now LeMoyne-Owen College), Barry picked up the nickname “Shep” in reference to Soviet propagandist Dmitri Shepilov for his ardent support of the civil rights movement. Barry began using Shepilov as his middle name.

Barry did graduate work in chemistry at Fisk University in Nashville, Tenn., earning a master’s degree. He left school short of a doctorate to work in the civil rights movement.

His political rise began in 1960, when he became the first national chairman of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, which sent young people into the South to register black voters and became known as one of the most militant civil rights groups of that era.

Barry’s work with the committee brought him to Washington, where he became immersed in local issues, joining boycotts of the bus system and leading rallies in support of the city’s fledgling home rule efforts.

In 1970, The Post wrote: “Four years ago widely considered a young Black Power Militant with almost no constituency, (Barry) has become a man who is listened to — if not fully accepted — on all sides.”

Barry’s activism propelled him into local politics, first as a member of the Board of Education and then in 1974 as a member of the first elected city council organized under home rule legislation.

In 1977, he was wounded by a shotgun blast in the Hanafi Muslim takeover of D.C.’s city hall. A young reporter was killed. The shooting was credited with strengthening him politically.

In 1978, he defeated incumbent Mayor Walter Washington — the city’s first home rule mayor — in the Democratic primary and went on to easily win the general election.

Barry’s early years in office were marked by improvement in many city services and a dramatic expansion of the government payroll, creating a thriving black middle class in the nation’s capital. Barry established a summer jobs program that gave many young people their first work experience and earned him political capital.

In his second term, the district’s finances were rockier, and some of his appointees were caught up in corruption scandals.

The city’s drug-fueled decline mirrored Barry’s battles with his personal demons, leading to the infamous hotel room arrest on Jan. 19, 1990. The video of Barry was widely distributed to the media and made him infamous worldwide.

A few months after his arrest, long-time civil rights advocate and educator Roger Wilkins, a past supporter, wrote in The Post: “Marion Barry used the elders and lied to the young. He has manipulated thousands of others with his cynical use of charges of racism to defend his malodorous personal failures.”

Even after his comeback, controversy continued to dog Barry. Several times after his 1990 arrest, Barry sought treatment or counseling for problems with prescription medications or other substances. In 2002, he made an attempt to seek an at-large seat on the D.C. Council but abandoned his bid amid allegations of renewed illegal drug use.

In 2006, Barry was given three years of probation after pleading guilty to misdemeanor charges for failing to file tax returns from 1999 to 2004. As part of a plea bargain, he agreed to file future federal and local tax returns annually, a promise prosecutors later said he had failed to keep.

In 2010, he was censured by the council and stripped of his committee assignments for steering a government contract to a former girlfriend. The council censured him again in 2013 for accepting cash gifts from city contractors.

Barry played the role of elder statesman in his later years on the council, but he sometimes exasperated his colleagues with his wavering attention at meetings and frequent, rambling references to his tenure as mayor.

He suffered numerous health problems over the years. In addition to kidney failure, he survived prostate cancer, undergoing surgery in 1995 and a follow-up procedure in 2000. In late 2011, he underwent minor surgery on his urinary tract. In early 2014, he spent several weeks in hospitals and a rehabilitation center battling infections and related complications.

In a statement Sunday, current Mayor Vincent C. Gray expressed deep sadness after learning about Barry’s death. Gray spoke with Barry’s wife, Cora Masters Barry, late Saturday and shared his condolences and sympathies with her. The couple was long estranged but never divorced.

“Marion was not just a colleague but also was a friend with whom I shared many fond moments about governing the city,” Gray said. “He loved the District of Columbia and so many Washingtonians loved him.”

Mayor Gray said that he would work with Barry’s family and the Council to plan official ceremonies “worthy of a true statesman of the District of Columbia.”

Barry was married four times and is survived by his wife, Cora, and one son, Marion Christopher Barry.

TIME People

Watch This 100-Year-Old-Woman See the Ocean for the First Time

Her birthday wish was to go to the beach

Ruby Holt had one wish for her 101st birthday: to see the ocean for the very first time.

She had spent most of her life working on a farm and raising four children in rural Tennessee and could never afford to take a 400-mile trip to the coast, the Associated Press reports.

But when Holt’s assisted-living center got in contact with the Wish of a Lifetime organization she was whisked away on an all-expenses-paid trip to the Gulf of Mexico.

“I’ve heard people talk about it and how wonderful it was and wanted to see it, but I never had the opportunity to do so,” she said.

Holt had been provided with a motorized wheelchair with thicker tires to roll on the sand. She was also able to take a walk along the beach and feel the sea on her toes.

Her reaction? “It’s cold,” she said.

Read more at the Associated Press.

Read next: This Couple Tricked Everyone Into Being in Their Pregnancy Announcement

TIME People

TIME’s ‘Sexiest’ Men Alive (and Dead)

In honor of PEOPLE crowning a new Sexiest Man Alive, here are TIME's "sexiest" men past and present

So Chris Hemsworth is PEOPLE’s Sexiest Man Alive. PEOPLE has been making this pronouncement since 1985, but sexy men were around long before that — so, to celebrate our sister publication’s announcement, we’ve rounded up some of the men dubbed “sexiest” something-or-other by someone-or-other throughout TIME’s history. Click on “MORE” in the gallery captions to find out how each guy made the list.

TIME Food & Drink

Starbucks Says It Has Nothing to Do With a High-Profile GMO Lawsuit

Sandy Roberts
Sandy Roberts, Starbucks strategy manager for global coffee engagement, pours samples of coffee for shareholders and other guests at Starbucks' annual shareholders meeting in Seattle on March 19, 2014 Ted S. Warren—AP

Coffee chain issues denial after rocker Neil Young urges boycott

Starbucks has announced that it has nothing to do with litigation being brought against the state of Vermont over the labeling of genetically modified ingredients (GMOs).

Canadian rock legend Neil Young attempted to launch a boycott of Starbucks on Sunday, accusing it of joining forces with Monsanto “to sue Vermont, and stop accurate food labeling.”

Last spring, Vermont passed a law requiring all products containing GMOs to be properly labeled by July 1, 2016, reports People.

Young’s belief that Starbucks was part of a suit to have the law declared unconstitutional prompted him to declare on his website: “I used to line up and get my latte everyday, but yesterday was my last one.” He then appealed to the public to join him in a Starbucks boycott.

However, it looks like it could all be a storm in a coffee cup. The coffee giant released a statement denying that it is involved in the litigation.

“Starbucks is not a part of any lawsuit pertaining to GMO labeling nor have we provided funding for any campaign,” the statement says. “Starbucks is not aligned with Monsanto to stop food labeling or block Vermont State law.”

Young has yet to respond.

[People]

TIME People

Kim Kardashian’s Nude Photos and Saartjie’s Choice: History’s Problem with Fascinating Bodies

Kim Kardashian (L) on the cover of Paper Magazine and an illustration of Saartjie Baartman (R) Jean-Paul Goude—Paper; Library of Congress

Linking Kardashian's recent Paper Magazine portrait to another famous body raises some serious questions

Saartjie Baartman’s is the body that launched a thousand revolutions. Kim Kardashian’s is the one that tried to break the Internet—and this week, when a nude photo of the latter made the cover of Paper magazine, many commenters made note of the striking similarities between Kardashian West’s nude profile and that of Baartman’s several centuries ago. In the 19th century, Saartjie Baartman’s striking proportions took her from Africa to Europe, where she performed as a curiosity. Her legacy in feminist circles is well known; she’s a worldwide symbol of racism, colonization and the objectification of the black female body. However, while many historians have pieced together what they believe to be the life and times of the “Hottentot Venus” during her stint as a performer in Europe, relatively little is known about the real life circumstances of Baartman herself.

In fact, even many people who are somewhat familiar with Baartman likely only recognize the 1810 illustration of the profile of her semi-nude body that once served as an advertisement for her performances in Europe. But seeing those advertisements as part of a whole life lends another dimension to her story—and to Kardashian West’s.

As researcher Bertha M. Spies detailed this summer in a piece about Baartman’s life that appeared in the journal African Arts, Baartman was born in the 1770s, about 50 miles north of the Gamtoos Valley in the Eastern Cape of what is now South Africa. She became a domestic worker, a slave employed by a Dutch farmer, before being sold to a wealthy German merchant in Cape Town. Baartman worked for the merchant until his death in 1799, at which point she moved to the home of the Cesar family, who were registered in the census as free blacks. She would give birth to three children during this time, all of whom died in infancy.

Baartman was nearly 30 years old by the time she left for Europe in 1810 with a British Army surgeon named Alexander Dunlop. As described by a 2010 biography of Baartman by Clifton Crais and Pamela Scully, Dunlop saw the attention that Baartman’s body attracted, so he worked with the Cesars to bring her to London. There, Baartman’s nude body was exhibited to the public, and she sometimes played instruments and performed dances native to the Khoikhoi tribe of her origin. Baartman would be made available for private showings in the homes of the wealthy where at extra cost, patrons would be allowed to touch her.

Baartman only ever granted one recorded interview, in October of 1810, which is now available only as a paraphrased Dutch translation. The interview was recorded in response to abolitionist’s claims that Baartman was being exploited and enslaved. In the interview, taken to England’s highest court, Baartman stated that she was happy, came to England of her own free will and was being paid for her work.

Due the constraints of language and the lack of other personal accounts, little is known about the reality of that happiness. Was she exercising her own free will in choosing what to say? Was she coerced into lying to the court? In either case, Baartman’s life and interview bring up a greater issue: is it possible to separate a person’s choices from the world in which they live? Baartman said she was showing off her body by choice, but what other choices did she have? Kardashian West is a powerful modern woman who presumably could have said no to the photo shoot, but she still lives in a culture that objectifies female bodies; how much free will can she really have? Are Baartman, Kardashian West and the bodies between doing the acting, or being acted upon?

Eventually, when his English audiences raised objections, Dunlop changed aspects of the show to make it more respectable. Namely, Baartman’s body stocking, which gave the appearance of nudity, was scrapped and she wore a tribal costume instead. But the change backfired for Dunlop: public interest waned and viewers complained. It turned out they hadn’t wanted respectability at all. The interest, unsurprisingly, had been prurient, rather than anthropological, all along.

So Baartman’s show moved to Paris, where she was on display for ten hours a day, and illness and alcohol abuse made it difficult for her to perform. During this time, interest in Baartman’s body shifted from the spectacle to the scientific; scientists used her large buttocks and extended labia to compare Blacks to orangutans. Baartman died in poverty in 1810, and her body became the property of scientist Georges Cuvier. It was displayed in a Paris museum until 1974, when activists successfully petitioned to have Baartman’s remains returned to her birthplace in South Africa.

There’s something to be said about confronting the respectability politics that deny women the agency to choose how and when they will display their bodies and the social policing that says modesty is best, but the story and legacy of Saartjie Baartman complicate these issues in ways few are able to reconcile. Unlike Baartman, Kardashian West has been able to capitalize on the public’s fascination with her body and likeness both financially and socially—but when we consider that that fascination is rooted in the same (perhaps perverse) curiosity that turned Baartman from a human being into a museum display, it is not unfair to wonder just who is exploiting whom.

Read next: I Can’t Help But Admire Kim Kardashian’s Devotion to Staying Famous

TIME movies

Bradley Cooper Ate Every 55 Minutes to Bulk Up for American Sniper

Bradley Cooper and Clint Eastwood on the set of 'American Sniper' in Malibu, California on June 4, 2014 in Los Angeles.
Bradley Cooper and Clint Eastwood on the set of 'American Sniper' in Malibu, California on June 4, 2014 in Los Angeles. TSM/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images/Getty Images

He plays the most lethal sniper in American military history

Anyone who has seen the Hangover movies knows Bradley Cooper was already in great shape. But in order to play the most lethal sniper in U.S. military history in American Sniper, he needed to add 40 pounds of muscle.

“He was eating about every 55 minutes or something like that, and I want to say it was about 8,000 calories a day,” the film’s writer-producer Jason Hall recently told People. The actor also worked out four hours a day for several months and trained with a Navy SEAL sniper to learn to shoot.

American Sniper follows the real-life story of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, who completed four tours in Iraq and earned the nickname “Legend” before being killed by a fellow vet in 2013. It’s directed by Clint Eastwood and hits theaters on Christmas Day.

[People]

TIME People

What Made Carly Simon Decide to Marry James Taylor

Carly Simon and James Taylor
Carly Simon and James Taylor performing Richard E. Aaron—Redferns / Getty Images

There's nothing quite like a magazine cover

In the new issue of TIME, music legend Carly Simon discusses Taylor Swift’s career — and revealed a surprising story about her own history:

“In 1971, I was walking down the street with my sister, we had just crammed Indian food into our mouths and were walking home. And I looked at the cover of TIME Magazine and it was James Taylor, whom I’d never met. And I looked at him from fairly far away, and I said to my sister, ‘I’m gonna marry that man,'” Simon told TIME’s Jack Dickey.

“What were they thinking?” Simon asked about the cover’s psychedelic composition, “But it did have a supernatural quality, at least in getting the message to me.

Simon and Taylor, fans will know, married in 1972. They met, according to Rolling Stone, just about a month after Simon would have seen that fateful magazine. The two divorced in 1983.

Here’s that magical cover:

James Taylor (Mar. 1, 1971) J. H. BRESLOW

Read the 1971 cover story, here in the TIME Vault: The New Rock: Bittersweet and Low

Read TIME’s new cover story about Taylor Swift: The Power of Taylor Swift

 

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