Today I bring you photos of the port that gave its name to thousands of Cubans and then fell into a long oblivion for thirty years.  “Los Marielitos” left from there and in my primary school we were told they had been looking for “drugs and perversions” on the other shore.   So I imagined them at a neverending party of alcohol and laughter ninety miles away.  At five, I couldn’t understand that the shouting in the building and my grandmother forbidding us to play in the hallway was because of the repudiation rallies.  The “farewell” was demeaning for those who were leaving an Island that had proclaimed itself a utopia.

The eggs were flying here and there, some they threw and others they smashed on their faces, doors and windows.  The word “scum,” taken from the lexicon of smelting, was awarded to those who didn’t throw themselves into the crucible of the social process.  We went back to being divided, conflicted and separated.  Parents and children were not allowed to speak because one of them had chosen the path of exile.  Letters weren’t opened and calls weren’t answered by those who stayed, believing the line about fleeing traitors.  My teacher would ask if, “Mama or Papa received gifts from their family in the North.”  More than one of my friends gave away, without knowing it, the hidden relationship their family had with the other side.

I don’ t think we’ll go back to having other events such as the Mariel Boatlift.  Emigration happens more quietly now, in rocky coves where—in the early hours every morning—someone launches themselves into the sea, and in the consulates crammed with people looking for a visa.   They no longer use the harsh adjectives of the past, now they’re called “economic emigrants,” but the property they leave behind continues to be confiscated.  To the west of Havana, however, we have the sad reminder of when thousands screamed, “Scum get out!  Go! Go!”


77 thoughts on “Mariel

  1. In most Cuban rural houses there is no running water. water is hauled from the nearest source. often a river, or the closest stream. to purify the water for drinking or to make coffee there are no 100 micron filters, or chlorine drops to kill the bacteria. The people have a basin carved out of a sandstone rock. It sits in a little cabinet in the house. Water from the river is poured into the basin and it seeps thru the rock and is collected in a bucket below. Very often the sewage from a town goes to a treatment plant that has not been in working order since the soviets left. The pipes still collect the waste water and convey it to the plant. It still goes from the plant into the river or nearby stream. the same place where the people got it in the first place, so I guess this is some form of earth friendly recycling, eh. The fact of the matter is that the poorest Mexican has access to safe clean drinking water that Cubans can only dream of. If a government cares so little for its people that it makes no effort to provide safe, clean water to drink, then it is no more than the very stuff that contaminates the water.

  2. You are only imperialism’s servants!

    You like the embargo USA for use economic difficulties against Cuban’s resitence!

    Yankys fascists no pasaran!

  3. Marco sonny, I have a link for your education, it is the HEARINGS BEFORE THE SUBCOMMITTEE TO INVESTIGATE THE

    It is the truth about the cuban “revolution” that shows it were no a revolution but a dictators SUBSTITUTION planed and performed by US Department of State.
    After that and as a payment for US help Castro developed a series of “economical”, “political” and “diplomatic” strategies that favored US’s hegemonic position in America as well as US economically and military position. Take a look:

    – Castro started to develop a series of disastrous economical policies that made disappear some of the most important industries in Cuba and made appear those industries in……….USA!!!!!!!
    This is the case of Cuba’s Sugar industry. Once the first producer of sugar in the word and owner of the biggest industry of this type in the world Cuba lost this industry because the well planed destruction project Castro put in practice since the very beginning of his tyranny. To day Cuba is no more a sugar exporter, Cuba’s former huge sugar industry exist no more. Where is this industry today???…… yes you guessed right ….. in Florida, USA. Some of Cuba’s former sugar magnates had only to move to USA and start over there conquering the market Castro left free. Today Cuba is a sugar importer, where imports Cuba sugar from???………… yes, you guess right again……… from USA!!!
    – The same happened with Cuba’s tourism industry. Castro implemented political strategies that led to the destruction of Cuba’s big tourism industry, the poorer and isolated the cuban people grew the smaller and obsolete the tourism industry became. One more time Florida state grew richer and bigger thanks Cuba’s disgrace. Cities like Miami, Tampa and Key West left behind the old quiet and sleepy style and transformed in huge tourism emporiums thanks the conversion of cities like Havana, Santiago de Cuba and Varadero in small and poor places full of ruins.
    – Other cubans industries like Citric, Coffee, Fishing, Light industry, Media, Shipping, etc, suffered the same destiny and today thrives in US territory.
    To be continued………………………

  4. dayys that cannot be forgotten

    FORTY-EIGHT years ago, mercenary forces in the service of a foreign power invaded their own homeland, escorted by a U.S. squadron, including an aircraft carrier and dozens of fighter planes. That date cannot be forgotten. The superpower to the North could apply the same prescription to any Latin American country. It has already occurred on many occasions throughout history in our hemisphere. Is there any declaration where it has been promised that such an action is never to be repeated in a direct form or via their own armies, as was the case in the Dominican Republic, Panama, Guatemala, Chile, Argentina, Venezuela and other countries?

    The cunning and surprise Girón attack [Bay of Pigs] cost us more than 150 lives and hundreds of severely wounded. We should like to hear some self-criticism from the powerful country and the guarantee that it will never happen again in our hemisphere.

    Yesterday was the seventh anniversary of the failed coup d’état against the Revolution in Venezuela.

    For the good of democracy and human rights, a voice is needed to tell us from Washington that the School of the Americas, which specializes in coup d’états and torture, is to be closed down for ever.

    We cannot forget that this April, the leader of ARENA, an oligarchic ally of Bush in the Iraq genocide, is still governing in El Salvador. With a million human lives sacrificed, there is sufficient blood to drown all the accomplices.

    I am maybe offending in recalling this, or is it also prohibited, in the name of decency, ingenuity, and complicity, to mention the subject?

    The measure to ease restrictions on travel is positive in itself, although minimal. Many others are needed, including the elimination of the murderous Cuban Adjustment Act, which is applied exclusively to just our country. We would like a response to the question as to whether the immigration privileges utilized to combat the Cuban Revolution and divest it of human resources might be also conceded to all Latin American and Caribbean peoples. But everything in Port of Spain will be secret. Prohibited to listen to the debate and the pronouncements of heads of state and government. In any event, what each one of them states will become known.

    I do not wish to hurt Obama in the slightest degree, but he will be president for one or two terms. He has no responsibility for what has happened and I am convinced that he would not commit Bush’s atrocities. After him, however, someone similar to or worse than his/her predecessor could come along. Humans pass; peoples endure.

    There are other extremely grave problems such as climate change, and the current president of the United States has decided to cooperate in that problem which is vital to humanity. We should acknowledge that.

    Enough for today. I do not wish to add another word.


  5. In Cuba there are serious economic difficulties but these are caused by criminal embargo USA!
    Despite the severe restrictions took by imperialismo yanki nobody dies of hunger because there is a socialism that in under international pressure manages to secure the food needs of first, Cuba make the public health for all and the best is exported to the other Latin American countries , (in other critical areas health is critic because it affected by embargo that Usa imposed to all countries to export machinery and materials for primary pharmaceutical chemistry in Cuba), Cuba ensures a high level of education and everyone can access without differences, (including the maid yanki Yoana), ensures that everyone can have a house!
    Several layers of the population before the great Cuban revolution in 1959 was slaves , they died of hunger, they had no access to social services including education and health, and in the poverty was the majority of the population except the privileged and corrupt bourgeois and landowners.

    This is what I described is the state of the situation in which they are still not in 1959 but in 2009 most of the states of Latin America except Cuba, and perhaps in the future, some countries like Venezuela that have some have taken the road of socialism with a cautious and gradual reformism.

    The only solution to the barbarity of capitalism is the socialism, with difficulties Cuba has taken, is the road followed by the South American countries who live far worse and have suffered the worst dictatorships in the world of Peron and Pinochet always well supported by the U.S.A. government.
    This only road to the freedom is the resistance and the revolution of oppressed peoples against destruction and misery of internationally capitalism!

  6. #56 and 57:

    You are right, it does not matter where Marco comes from, he lives in Italy but that does not mean he’s Italian. Europe is teeming with violent elements.
    With all his references to death, killing, Irag, etc., I just have this suspicion, he might come from a violent political and/or religious belief system.

  7. “History as someone who lead a REVOLUTION for the PEOPLE.”

    Pablo, that was what Fidel promise to our fathers and grandfathers in Cuba
    but he did not deliver.
    The revolution was suppose to bring democracy back to Cuba.
    Go back to the speeches in 1959
    As Fidel ask people their response was


    That is all people in Cuba wanted.
    and never got.

  8. A VOTE FOR YOANNI is a VOTE for CHANGE. That one Girl is amazing, she needs to be remebered in Cuban History as someone who lead a REVOLUTION for the PEOPLE.


  10. I have been to NAPLES in ITALY and it is a dump like REGLA. You can also get groapped in the busses as they do on the camello.

  11. Marco. the US provides 70% of the food in Cuba, today. For your own knowledge The CASTRO’s live like kings and even have dolphin pools to play with “flipper”, while the majority of the people spend all day just trying to find something to eat. What happens in Cuba is a shame and the reason some board a truck tire in search of liberty. I do thank you for coming out and expressing your pin head ideas. Do yourself a favor and spend a month in Cuba, you’ll have a new outlook on life. Cubans who flee the Island typicially say when they get out and see something different that they “WOKE UP”.

  12. I’m not sure what the problem is with the “killer” embargo, from Marco’s point of view? Surely it’s the United States that must be suffering, from its failure to welcome the Cuban cornucopia he describes with open arms? Unless … of course … there ISN’T a Cuban cornucopia?
    But, come on – what can the island subjects, so generously enriched in every way by the unelected “Wise Grandfather” in Havana, possibly need from the hapless, down-trodden masses to the north? It’s cutting the peasants of USA off from the Cuban land of plenty that must be what Castro calls, “genocide.”

  13. The TIME contest… yes… get your friends voting. I think I’ve finally reached my all time limit… they let me vote about 50 times a day before cutting me off and the next day I could do it again. Now… they tell me NO MORE. I’ll have to go to an internet cafe!

  14. I don’t usually read the English comments but I wanted to see why this Marco had decided to argue and praise a regime that he obviously hasn’t lived in and to make matters worse he’s trying to make his point in English and can’t defend that either. So since no one understands his nonsense, let’s ignore those types and force him to go back to his own problems and try to solve those first instead of interfering with our causes. Let’s not waste time on those comments.

  15. #58 Everyone calls her La Flaca except her best friends who call her La Flaquita. I am sure she doesn’t mind!

  16. 57 comments ………. this just slays me! Meanwhile Yoani , Renaldo , and others must be in stealth mode at all hours in hotels to post to their blogs. My better half (way better) in Luyano waits until 6 each day for the man who has a connection to open his doors for people to receive and send their emails for 10 CUP. If you are a little after 6 , the wait is approx. 2 hours. For all of us email is easier and faster than walking to the washroom. This poster Marco is a piece of work for sure. I remember when the term ‘waste of bandwidth’ meant something. I agree with Sickboy to ignore the cretin and he will go away ……
    Best to all the other posters here , translators , and of course Yoani ………..
    Donn in Toronto …….. looking for a cheap flight because it`s time to fill the frio en Luyano !

  17. To all,

    Lets concentrate on how we can help “La Flaca” (term of endearment for cubans like “negra” & “china”) win this TIME MAGAZINE PRIZE! Marco will LOVE THAT! Yoani, if you dont want me to refer to you as “La Flaca” let me know. You know I say it in the MOST RESPECTFUL WAY with MUCHO, MUCHO AMOR! Like Walter Mercado!

  18. I agree with silent voice, it doesn’t matter where Marco is from…
    More to the point, I think we all should just ignore his comments from here on in. It’s clear he’s loving the attention.
    Just ignore his comments and move on to something more constructive. The guy’s an idiot, we all disagree with him, so that pretty much seals the deal for me.
    Just my two cents.

  19. For his comments about italy, he seem to be italian.
    It should not matter where he is from

    Marco so far all we see is as Cold in Chicago said
    anti human ideas like

    ” killing, death, etc.”


  20. Marco,
    I’d would counter what you’re saying but obviously, you are carrying baggage you’ve accumulated overtime, perhaps in your childhood or later. Interesting, how you repeat over and over again killing, death, etc. Humm, can’t write English properly, and saw your post in the spanish blog also in English, so no Spanish either.
    Is it possible you come from the desert. Are goats, tents and swords familiar to you?

  21. The dual market is a necessity caused by embargo
    Cuba does not want alms but the end of Usakiller embargo imposition!
    statue of liberty in chains do you think that the embargo is the justice?

  22. Marco and Canadiense.
    I got to go to do something productive, it call: WORK.

  23. Canadiense, the official paper in Cuba will never mention to Cubans that last year alone Cuba bought goods in CASH from the United States in excess of $700 Millions.
    The regular folks in Cuba don’t see those goods, they are distributed in the “Fancy Tourist Hotels”. Cubans are not able to go to these fancy places that cost a fortune. Making 2.00 Cuban Pesos a day, they may be able to afford it when hell freezes.

  24. Cuba is the avanguardia of the resistence in south america.
    In palestine, Irak, Afghnistan, Usa are Killers everywhere!

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