30 years Later, Looking Back at the Mariel Exodus

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Cubans coming to Florida during the Mariel Boatlift, in 1980 (flickr user cristee12 (cc:by-nd))

On April 20th, 1980, Fidel Castro announced the port of Mariel opened to anyone wishing to leave Cuba. A massive exodus ensued in the following six months, with as many as 125,000 Cubans making the journey to Florida.

Thirty years later, we talk to participants about their memories, their first impressions of South Florida and how they changed the culture around Miami.

If you live in Miami, we're asking, How did the Mariel boatlift change your city? You can call us at 877-8-MY TAKE or leave a comment here.

We hear from two Cuban immigrants about their journey, their first impressions of South Florida, and how they changed the culture around Miami.

Mirta Ojito is a reporter, and author of “Finding Mañana: A Memoir of a Cuban Exodus.”

We also speak with Ivonne Cuesta, who was seven when she arrived in Miami. Now an attorney, Ivonne could become the first sitting Miami-Dade judge who came to the United States during the exodus.



Ivonne Cuesta and Mirta Ojito

Produced by:

Marine Olivesi

Comments [3]

amy cobb from Bangor,maine

im from maine but my dad was on that boat and i thank god everyday that he was because im alive

May. 30 2010 10:40 PM
Kevin from NYC

In August of 1980 I was with the military and my unit was deployed there to guard Cubans and support the MPs with the riots that were going on there. So the part about the riots in the opening scenes of "Scarface" were a reality for us at Fort McCoy in Wisconsin.

Apr. 21 2010 09:39 AM
Rhonda from Miami

Miami had plenty of good music and restaurants prior to the Mariel Boatlift. Yes, it continued the evolution of South Florida culture, but it was by no means a defining moment. Please restrain flippant and ignorant comments about the place of my birth, where I am often made to feel like an outsider.

Apr. 21 2010 09:16 AM

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