The Narrow Width

Image taken from Diana Nyad's Internet site: http://diananyad.com/

I felt a shock on learning that Diana Nyad would make an attempt to swim across the Florida Straits. I recalled the days in 1994, when my neighborhood of San Leopoldo was swarming with people building improvised rafts on which to launch themselves into the sea. I especially remember one group that left, during that period in which the Cuban authorities stopped preventing illegal departures. A craft armed with pieces of wood, plastic tanks serving as floats, the image of the Virgin of Charity, and a patched flag that no longer knew to which nation it belonged. But the most striking thing turned out to be that on that flimsy raft were only the elderly. There was a very black lady with a colorful straw hat, a flowered dress and a smile, thanking in both Spanish and English the boys who helped her to set sail. I never knew if that rickety expedition made it to its destination, if all those seniors disposed to start again got the opportunity.

Seventeen years later, I hear the news that an American wants to try the same route, but this time protected by divers, a pair of kayaks and even a medical team. Her laudable intention was to highlight the closeness between the Island and its neighbor to the north, to help reconcile both shores. But the Straits of Florida is also part of our national cemetery, the graveyard where lie thousands of our compatriots. The omission by the athlete of such an important characteristic did not appeal to me. Nor the fact that with her nautical feat she would highlight the twentieth anniversary of a most exclusive club, the Hemingway Marina, where a Cuban, even today, cannot board a vessel and may not enter — on his own — such a beautiful landing. I would have preferred that the Gulf currents would be swum by someone who knew the pain sheltered in these waters and who would dedicate their gesture to the “unknown rafter” who died in the mouth of so many possible sharks.

When I learned, on Tuesday, that after a 29-hour effort the swimmer was unable to achieve her objective, my superstitions were confirmed. There are certain spaces, I thought, that need more than strokes or sports records to seem less sad. State television said succinctly that “insurmountable obstacles had emerged, among them winds of more than 12 miles per hour.” I can imagine Diana fighting against the waves, the sun gaining strength overheard, the intensely salty sea flowing into her mouth. I am going to go further and fantasize about the inexplicable detail of a straw hat, the colorful sombrero of woman who passed close to her, making her think herself delirious in the middle of the Florida Straits.

45 thoughts on “The Narrow Width

  1. Second escape Intent in a Buick

    In February 2004, this time on a 1959 Buick converted into a tailfinned boat, a group of 11 balseros flee the island in a second try. The interior of the car was welded to be watertight, the prow of a boat was attached to the front of the car, and it was fully functional even the tires. Like in the previous intent they were intercepted at sea, and most of the balseros were repatriated again, except the Grass couple and their 4-year-old son that were sent to the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. This car was also sunk by the Coast Guard. Eventually the Grass family were granted asylum in Costa Rica.

    Coast Guard intercepts Cubans in floating taxi.

    Video: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/8136908/ns/us_news/t/lets-grab-cab-united-states/from/toolbar

  2. Balseros and Archimedes Law

    Chevrolet pick-up truck from 1951float supported by 12 empty welded metallic tanks of 55 gallons each with a total capacity of 12×55 = 660 gallons. A liter of water weight 1 kilogram, the 12 tanks full of air are capable of supporting a weight of 2.5 MT according to Archimedes law. The weight of the truck and people on it weight approximately half that weight. Observe that the tanks are half way into the water. The transmission was connected to a propeller In this try in July 2003, the 12 balseros were send back to Cuba since they were intercepted at sea.

    An extraordinary example of Cuban balsero inventiveness can be seen in Miami, at the corner of 8th and 42. The original craft was sunk by the Coast Guard, so Chevrolet contracted the man who made the original to make this replica, shown below.

  3. Let me take your fantasies down here. The fact that sportswoman from usa wants to swim to Cuba is significant in many ways. And every single one is detrimental to the team “yoani”;

    The sportswoman wants to connect her capitalist country with socialist Cuba, not to change Cuba.

    She also wants to touch the Cuba in a very symbolical place, a very exclusive club called Hemingway marina. Hemingway was acommunist to the core, and he lived in Cuba too. Draw your own conclusions if you will, but the message is clear: the world is slowly but surely moving to the left. The concept of “some kind of practical capitalism” has long ago come to its’ end. Unlike socialism in Jugoslavia, because there were no other socialist countries in the world at the time; which we know was destroyed by the “democratic” “some kind of pragmatic capitalism”, the “some kind of pragmatic capitalism” actually soiled itself and exploded its’ own excrement directly into its’ own face and mouth.

    More and more people achieve greater levels of education and they inevitably turn away from “some kind of pragmatic capitalism”.

    Make that ANY kind of “pragmatic capitalism:.

    Not all that hard when you just need to look out on the street and see how bad is getting in that “some kind of pragmatic capitalism”, day after day.

    You have to be one of those por and always envious of others, who are never happy with what they have got and see the neighbours’ grass greener, even if there’s no grass to speak of on the other side of the fence, to still prefer the confirmed failure of “some kind of pragmatic capitalism”.

  4. UnSoricel: “Cuba is too nice and too close to a big bully.. ”

    Are you referring to Venezuela? Mexico? Or do you mean politically and not physically, as in China? Or Russia? Iran?

  5. UnSoricel

    Agosto 12th, 2011 at 05:11
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    I know……. USA has always been Cuba’s disgrace factor……. about the time to go for freedom, it can be 10 years or 10 days, totalitarian regimes always are at the border of disaster and only is needed a slight touch to produce the fall…… do you remember East Europe????

  6. @Freud… I really do hope you get your country back cos it would be a victory for most people everywhere … however coming from an ‘aborted’ revolution myself I am skeptical that could happen for more than a week or two.. look at how hard the people in Egypt are trying and how hard it is… Cuba is too nice and too close to a big bully.. that calls himself the cop of the world ie. the cop is the law!… and sharks everywhere!!

  7. Videos of Cuban Balseros escaping from Dr. Castro Island Paradise

    A picture, or video, is worth a thousand words, since it tells a story just as well as a large amount of descriptive text.

    This video shows some images of Cubans fleeing the Castro dictatorship between the years 1980 and 2008.

    Balseros Cubanos (Musica: Orishas)

    This video shows balseros fleeing Castro dictatorship in August 1994.

    Balseros 2

    Video of Campamento Charlie, Guantanamo Bay.1995.

    Balseros 1

  8. albert, what’s really weird is sometimes I post and the posts disappear into thin air. I guess there is some bug on the site. The guy who pretends to me seems to have no problems posting though, and he just did it again in Yoani’s previous article.

    Should I ignore my stalker?

  9. Friends, don’t let this “individual” distract u from what is important … Cuba Libre.

  10. Dear Moderator:
    I hope u realize this “person” who uses other contributor’s names will continue to do so to keep u occupied & distracted from ur primary work. This is one of the many tactics the defenders of the rebolution brigade have & will use to combat the “terrorismo mediatico” the “Silent Voices” direct at the rebolution …

  11. Love Cuba:
    your record speaks for itself, always polite & w/great contributions in each of ur comments, just as good as Humberto’s, Freud & many others. It has become very easy to identify the “tales” from this individual, his/her purpose is to to agitate & I am sure he/she will comeback in a while w/a different IP address & different nicks nevertheless to Moderator: thank u many, many times over for ur efforts of love!!!
    To all: VIVA CUBA LIBRE!!!

  12. What a beautiful and courageous story. I am one that left my country as a young child and still yearn to see it free.

  13. Or rather, let’s not see the last post by Comrade Komar using my nickname. Please delete.

    Raul, it’s over, are you so stupid you can’t see it? Why don’t you just call off your dogs, let the Cubans choose their own future, and ask for asylum in Saudi Arabia or Venezuela or wherever.

  14. To YFET/Moderator: You are doing the right thing, I’m sorry my soft heart got the better of me. If Comrade Komar gets away with his fraud and vandalism, it would only encourage others from the G2 crew.

  15. Oh, oh………. I am afraid our friendly translator made Habana to understand comment #23…….. I bet my tax return check to our brand new troll will come back crying about censorship…… hahahaha

  16. It means also we will maybe surpass site’s comment record if the troll remains working at same pace than today and commenter decides to engage in its nonsense……. do not account with me…..

  17. Habana

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    People…… Troll habemus…… it means Yoani is in right path.

  18. Habana says:

    “To Love Cuba.
    Why don’t You log in in ur profile?”

    I don’t understand, what do you mean? I only use one nickname here, unlike the various persona you go by. I think Freud will be happy to treat your split personalities.

  19. Hey Habana! Looks like you are NOT MODERATED NOR CENSORED NOW! OR BEFORE IF YOU STICK TO THE RULE OF “NO IMPERSONATING OTHERS” COMMENTING HERE! CAPISH?

  20. Habana, no political censorship here, just your lies. The moderator won’t allow fraud which you engage in by impersonating other readers, but none of that is related to your political opinion.

  21. Comrade Komar/ Habana / Anononimo / etc:

    There is absolutely no political censorship on Yoani’s site. In marked contrast to all the pro-Castro sites that engage in heavy-handed censorship.

    You’ll notice, since you can read, that all political opinions are welcome, including the many that insult the Cuban people and defend Castro.

    There are guidelines against fraud, such as when you post under other readers’ nicknames like you frequently do, and certain vulgarity, but none of that type of censorship is political in nature. It is as reasonable as requesting you not shout FIRE in a movie theater or not spit in the face of someone you are talking too.

    Why don’t you do the honest thing and admit that you engaged in malicious impersonation of other readers, and request to post again under your original nickname. I’m sure the moderator will be glad to have you back if you can just stick to one wacky persona.

    ========RESPONSE========
    From YFET/Moderator: To Love Cuba and others — The person you are responding to has impersonated more than one commentator on this blog and is banned and will not be allowed to return. Replies to removed comments will appear to be replies to “nothing” and for that I apologize to you and others. I repeat, again, I have discussed this person’s actions with Yoani and she is in full agreement.
    Your Friendly English Translator/Moderator

  22. 27Habana

    Agosto 11th, 2011 at 13:23
    Mr. Freud, if Your posts are moderated, they are being censored.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Dear Habana (are you the singer??), I understand moderation when a site delays the publicizing of a comment in order to avoid disrespectful, hateful or comments that violates site’s rules. I understand censure when a site does not publicize a comment in spite the comment does not is disrespectful, hateful or does not violate site’s rules. I understand a site has right to the first but not to the second, I mean, I accept moderation but not censure.
    Regards.

  23. UnSoricel

    Agosto 11th, 2011 at 11:27
    @hUmberto the clown… seem that ‘CastroFascists’ is you fave word… like a guy who knows 1 joke and that is bad!! Haven’t you lernt yet that USofA created Castro too, how much proof you need? Told you last time that these guys want their old clubs and the casinos back..!
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Unchorizon, they want their old clubs and the casinos back..!
    So what!!!!!
    I had no clubs no casinos, I had almost nothing but still so I want my country back, I want back the industries that cubans built during centuries and now are in American soil because castrofascism ( the word likes to many people) destroyed them, I don’t want canadian or spaniards profiting my natural resources but cubans in spite they afre former owners or new ones.

  24. 18Your Friendly English Translator

    Agosto 11th, 2011 at 00:32
    From Freud: “My answer to this hateful comment was censured by Huffington’s liberal moderation in spite it does not violates site’s rules and was the following:”

    ——-
    Are you sure it was censored and not just waiting moderation? Please let me know… as if they really did censor it I’d like to write to the staff and ask them why.

    Thanks.
    YFET
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Dear Friendly Translator……. sorry for delaying my answer to you ….. I was awaiting to see if my comment in Huff was just being moderated …….. this site have not too much comments, if you see that there are 5 comments when you post yours and after a while you see there are 5 comments plus a pending comment then you are sure your comment is being moderated….. but if after another while you see there are 5 comments but no pending comment then you are sure your comment have been censored….. that’s what happened with my first comment and a couple other comments i tried to place.
    Regards and thanks in advance

  25. UnSoricel ! AMIGO! Glad to have you back! If you post and address I can send you my autograph since you are such a FAN! BIG GUSANO HUGS AND KISSES TO YA!

  26. BBC MUNDO : Cuba frente al primer matrimonio de un gay y una transexual (Cuba confronts the first gay/transexual wedding, includes scenes with our Yoani helping Wendy with her dress!!)Spanish only!

    Wendy Iriepa e Ignacio Estrada tienen todo listo para casarse: el permiso de las autoridades, el vestido de la novia, la madrina…

    Aunque parecen una pareja típica cubana, tienen una particularidad: ella es una transexual que se operó en 2007 y él es gay.

    La boda, que se llevará a cabo este sábado -el día del cumpleaños de Fidel Castro-, es todo un acontecimiento en Cuba, porque allí están prohibidos los matrimonios entre homosexuales.

    La pareja podrá casarse porque, tras someterse a una operación patrocinada por el Centro Nacional de Educación Sexual de Cuba (CENESEX), Wendy recibió un nuevo carnet de identidad que la reconoce como mujer.

    Conozca a la pareja que dice estar enamorada en este video del corresponsal de BBC Mundo en Cuba, Fernando Ravsberg.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/mundo/noticias/2011/08/110804_video_matrimonio_cuba_mr.shtml

  27. @hUmberto the clown… seem that ‘CastroFascists’ is you fave word… like a guy who knows 1 joke and that is bad!! Haven’t you lernt yet that USofA created Castro too, how much proof you need? Told you last time that these guys want their old clubs and the casinos back..!

  28. It’s hard for someone who hasn’t visited Cuba not to be brainwashed. In the USA all views are permitted, even those that seriously harm our government and society, and the Cuban government (just like the KGB and Communist China and assorted terrorist groups) took advantage of our freedom to flood us with their propaganda for decades. So we live surrounded by a little bit of truth and a lot of lies.

    But at least we get to search for the truth if we want, the only alternative is to live in complete darkness like them.

    I don’t know who that swimmer is, but if she is reasonable, maybe someone can show her Yoani’s article and gently explain a few things from a Cuban’s perspective.

  29. From 1959 through 2010, some 50,000 Cubans managed to escape from the island, mostly by sea in small boats and makeshift rafts keep afloat by using inner tubes and disregards tires as floating devises. The estimate number of the victims is based in Dr. Armando Lago research, data from the Oceanographic Institute of the University of Miami and the University of Havana, and reports by the U.S. Coast Guard.

    The .U.S. Coast Guard estimates that only one in four “balseros”(rafters) who have attempted to escape has been successful, 25% have been captured and many of them send back, and 50% have died in the attempt. The estimate number of casualties that died at sea attempting to escape is over 100,000.

  30. From Freud: “My answer to this hateful comment was censured by Huffington’s liberal moderation in spite it does not violates site’s rules and was the following:”

    ——-
    Are you sure it was censored and not just waiting moderation? Please let me know… as if they really did censor it I’d like to write to the staff and ask them why.

    Thanks.
    YFET

  31. Operation USA-7421 Beverly Blvd-Los Angeles, CA 90036-Phone 323.413.2353-Toll free 800.678.7255-Fax 310.838.3477-Email
    Richard Walden
    President and CEO
    rwalden@opusa.org

  32. Freud,

    I was waiting to see if my response to Mr. Richard Walden was going to be posted on the HUFFINGTON POST but so far NOT (see Damir, you are NOT the only one) but I have a FAMOUS SCREEN SHOT that I was going to send, but in the meantime I will put his ARROGANT RESPONSE and my UNPUBLISH RESPONSE to his comment HERE NOW! THAT IS SOME RESPONSE BY THE PRESIDENT OF A “RESPECTED” NGO (but it could be Damir!) QUE COMEMIERDA! HE KNOWS NOTHING ABOUT CUBAN HISTORY EXCEPT HIS OWN ARROGANT PERSPECTIVE!

    HUFFPOST BLOGGER
    RichardWalden
    President & CEO, Operation USA,a Los Angeles-based
    69 Fans
    Become a fan
    5 hours ago (1:09 PM)
    I thought Diana’s attempt was inspiratio­nal and angry “Calle Ocho” Cuban-Amer­icans as well as Yoani ought to leave it alone. You act like she was swimming in your grandmothe­r’s pool in Miramar which was turned into a children’s recreation­al center in 1960….or was that the Bacardi hacienda?

    This comment has not yet been posted
    AND YOU SIR! Are ANOTHER Castrofasc­ist APOLOGIST! It is the CUBAN people who you should apologize to! By the way, you sound NOTHING like the charitable NGO that you represent, only like another LEFT WINGER who cannot say IM SORRY to the CUBAN PEOPLE after kissing “THE MUMMY’S” you-know-w­hat!

  33. Huffington Post is a liberal media site where Yoani posts articles. Under her post of this very article in this site a commenter (that is a Huffington Post’s bloogger too) posted following comment:

    HUFFPOST BLOGGER
    RichardWalden
    President & CEO, Operation USA,a Los Angeles-based .70 Fans
    Become a fan Unfan .8 hours ago (1:09 PM) I thought Diana’s attempt was inspiratio­nal and angry “Calle Ocho” Cuban-Amer­icans as well as Yoani ought to leave it alone. You act like she was swimming in your grandmothe­r’s pool in Miramar which was turned into a children’s recreation­al center in 1960….or was that the Bacardi hacienda?

    My answer to this hateful comment was censured by Huffington’s liberal moderation in spite it does not violates site’s rules and was the following:

    1. Yoani cannot answer your comment because she is a so called blind blogger, she does not have internet access…….. but I can give you an answer.
    2. Yoani like most Cubans in “Calle 8” comes from poor families that never had access to Miramar.
    3. The only rich Cubans in Miami are the first thousands that arrived in the 60s, the rest; the couple of millions that left Cuba after the first wave are poor Cubans.
    4. Never a residence in Miramar was turned into a children’s recreation¬al center but all them were occupied by castrofascist elite.
    5. Nyad was swimming over the bones of thousands of Cubans. Every single Cuban family lost a member in the waters of Florida Strait. That’s why your comment is so, is so, ……..
    6. What kind of hate makes a person state a comment like yours????
    7. You are suspiciously ignorant about “Calle 8” because anyone knows that Cubans are actually a very small % of Little Havana inhabitants and most of this small % is very poor people……. And you are suspiciously cunning about Havana as to know that Miramar is a luxurious neighborhood.
    8. More suspicious yet is the fact that you don’t try to discuss the idea or feelings in Yoani’s article but you go direct to discredit her……… to kill the messenger if it is no possible to kill the message……. It is a habit too “castrist”.

    I exhort all you to go there to Huffington Post and give an answer to this castrofascist agent…….. Thanks in advance.

  34. Interesting article Humberto, but I believe, as Freud (the poster here, not the shrink) and others have often expressed, that the only economic system is capitalism. Everything else is the politics of what to do with capitalism. Marxist regimes just played word games while creating a dysfunctional monopoly capitalist system and called it “dictatorship of the proletariat” while stripping the proletariat of their rights.

    I respect Marxists like Pedro Campos pushing for more freedom in Cuba and for democracy, but if they intend to keep suppressing free labor and enterprise (say, by allowing only cooperatives), they will discover the same problems of corruption that now exist in Cuba will persist. Not everyone wants to work in a co-op, and once you start forcing the majority to do what they don’t want to do, you’re back to square one.

    The paradox is that the Marxist dream of worker liberty and wealth has so far been best served by Western democracy, the exact opposite of Marxist dictatorships. I credit Pedro Campos with speaking the truth about the past failures of Marxism, and wish him well. Hopefully other Marxists can learn the benefits of democracy and stop defending fascism.

  35. INTERESTING AND LONG ARTICLE ! RECOMMENDED BY YOANI ON HER TWITTER!

    HAVANA TIMES : Cuba: The True Counter-revolution- Pedro Campos- August 8

    “Only we revolutionaries can destroy the revolution,” said Fidel Castro in 2005. “Our worst enemy is not imperialism and much less its hired hands in our native land – but our own errors,” added Raul Castro this past Monday, August 1, in addressing the Cuban parliament on what is impeding the implementation of the Sixth Communist Party Congress agreements.

    In this way — putting the imperialistic enemy, its blockade and home-grown opposition on the second plane — both positions left it clear as to what is the principal enemy of revolutionary advancement in Cuba: true counter-revolution.

    It’s now impossible to conceal the most dangerous counter-revolutionary forces because they have the capacity to hold back the necessary changes. They are within the very own bureaucracy of the party/government. They are the forces that speak of change but don’t change anything, those who oppose the slightest basic change. They are the sectarians and exclusionists who accuse all those people of being counter-revolutionaries and agents of imperialism who propose an alternative for getting us out of this stagnation into which we’ve sunk due to a half century of statist and ultra-centralized government.

    It’s now impossible to conceal the most dangerous counter-revolutionary forces because they have the capacity to hold back the necessary changes. They are within the very own bureaucracy of the party/government. They are the forces that speak of change but don’t change anything, those who oppose the slightest basic change. They are the sectarians and exclusionists who accuse all those people of being counter-revolutionaries and agents of imperialism who propose an alternative for getting us out of this stagnation into which we’ve sunk due to a half century of statist and ultra-centralized government.

    Raul just criticized immobility and inaction, and already there are articles in the party’s press attacking the bureaucracy. They are calling for respect for people’s right to be informed and for journalists to report. They’re even criticizing the bureaucratic mentality and the obstacles that are preventing the approved limited measures from advancing.

    However it’s necessary to recognize that the phenomenon has a systemic character and that the bureaucratic mentality and the obstacles erected by the functionaries do not change with speeches, exemplary pronouncements or good intentions. This stratum is not the cause but the consequence of the collection of concepts and state-centric norms upon which the current bureaucratic and dirigiste model was established.

    That structure is in fact what has to be changed so that it changes the mentality. We cannot forget that the predominant social conscious is a derivation, the consequence of a way of producing and living. “Social being determines social conscience,” as Marx noted. The ultraconservative-bureaucratic mentality is the result of the bureaucratic and paralyzed structure and the form in which production and socio-political life in the country are organized.

    Bureaucratic immobility

    Fifty-five years since the “Secret Speech” by Nikita Khrushchev to the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union — criticizing Stalinism and its methods — many people here still continue in essence following the same canons and deviations. This stems from them continuing to confuse socialism with the creation of a state directed by a “dictatorship of the proletariat” administered by a “communist” party that concentrates the ownership of the means of production and decisions of all type. In addition it divides society into two principal classes: the directing-bureaucratic-exploiters and the directed-exploited-workers: a form of disguised monopoly state capitalism

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE!

    http://www.havanatimes.org/?p=48314

  36. Here is something to think about, something to research & see how the rebolution responds to requests for change …

    The Varela Project was a proposal of law advocating for democratic political reforms within Cuba, such as the establishment of freedom of association, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, free elections, freedom of religion, freedom to start private businesses, and amnesty for political prisoners.

    However … no results came of it …

  37. Nicola, you really believe no generation is innocent? Perhaps nobody is completely innocent on this planet, but we are not all equally guilty, especially those who live under dictatorships. Would you punish Yoani?

  38. Thank you albert. The word silly can mean many things, among them that the leaders are foolish, which is my opinion.

  39. #@5
    You are right is not silly as silly is, but perhaps Love Cuba uses the term silly to express all our bitterness & the acumulated pain of over 50 yrs …

  40. To Love Cuba (1)

    The Castro regime is NOT SILLY so don’t you even try to whitewash, minimize the atrocities, the acts against humanity perpetrated by that bunch of criminals from all ages for which they have to be held accountable now and in the future,once more they are not SILLY the whole system is rotten, is evil,vile, iinhumane and they have to pay for all crimes without distinction or privilege- how you dare to call silly the atrocities tolerated, instigated and condoned by FIDEL CASTRO, RAUL and all the rest- no generation is innocent, only the little children-

  41. My father was in Key West in the mid-sixtys. He was aware of the swell of empathy for the hundreds of survivors from the migration attempts. He also knew Capt Tony who was arrested for helping Cubans to cross the straits. The boil on the face of the US government still exists. Dad was in awe of the talent that keeps the ancient US vehicles alive. We pray for fresh water for Havana. S.

  42. The Cuban Rafter Phenomenon: A Unique Sea Exodus.

    Welcome to The Cuban Rafter Phenomenon: A Unique Sea Exodus. In this digital archive you can explore the experiences of tens of thousands of citizens who have left Cuba in small boats, homemade rafts and other unusual craft. Currently the site focuses on those who precipitated and participated in one specific sea exodus – the raft crisis of 1994. Through photos, videos, bibliography, primary documents and narratives the site examines the 1994 crisis and, by extension, begins to investigate the nature of the larger theme of post-1980 Cuban migration. Over time, the site will grow to include many aspects and incidents in post-1980 migration including the Mariel boatlift, visa lottery and internal population shifts in Cuba. (1)

    The site currently documents the most recent episode in a frequently treated aspect of Cuban historiography – the post-1959 migration that has resulted in a Cuban-American population of over 1.2 million. (2) For forty five years, Cuban migration has attracted social scientists in universities internationally. They ask: What is Cuban migration a case of? Is there a single explanatory variable or a consistent set of necessary and sufficient factors that account for the flows? If so, does one explanation cover the entire post-revolutionary situation from 1959 to the present? If not, how and why have explanatory variables shifted over time? And, is the Cuban case an exception or does it follow universal rules that help us understand migration in all times and places?

    http://balseros.miami.edu/Mainnavigation.htm

  43. YOTUBE : Balseros Cubanos (Musica: Orishas)- Cuban “Rafters”
    Images of Cubans fleeing the Castro dictatorship between 1980 and 2008.

  44. I like the idea of a monument to the Unknown Rafter, in memory of all those around the world who risked their lives to flee tyranny.

    I hope one day when this silly regime ends, they will restore some of the monuments (such as to the Maine) that were destroyed after 1959.

Comments are closed.