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Cuban exiles continue pressure on Obama

EliansmaRepresentatives of eight Cuban-American groups are urging Sens. Bill Nelson of Florida and Robert Menendez of New Jersey, as well as Miami Mayor Manny Diaz, to demand that Democratic Barack Obama rid his campaign of two advisers with ties to the Elian Gonzalez saga.

Greg Craig, a foreign policy advisor, represented Elian's father in the custody battle that ended with the boy being sent back to Cuba. Eric Holder, a member of Obama's vice presidential search committee, served as deputy attorney general when the federal agents seized the boy from his Miami relatives. His mother died at sea in the rafting trip to Miami.

In the letter, the Cuban-American leaders say Obama "demonstrates a shocking level of political insensitity'' by keeping Craig and Holder on his team. About three dozen protesters rallied outside an Obama speech in Miami last month.

"It is cause for indignation that these men sit so closely to a presidential contender while our families, friends and neighbors 90 miles to the South are held captive by a tyrannical regime,'' the letter says. "Had it not been for the actions of these two men, lending themselves as instruments to Fidel Castro, Elian could today be enjoying the freedom his mother died to provide for him."

Nelson, Menendez and Diaz were all Hillary Clinton supporters before Obama clinched the nomination. Diaz was on the legal team that tried to keep Elian in the U.S., while Menendez introduced legislation to make him a permanent resident.

Read the letter here: Download open_letter.doc  More on why McCain wasn't at the Cuban American National Foundation event in Miami here.