Over The Years, People Devised Incredible Ways To Escape Cuba
With the potential re-opening of Cuba comes the prospect of a better life for many Cubans. Although the opening of an embassy doesn’t guarantee the end of the Castro family’s abuse of socialism, it does provide hope that America’s increased influence could change things.
Since Kennedy’s embargo of Cuba in 1960, America has been seen as a symbol of hope for many Cubans. Many people have tried to flee their home country to one that allows them to get a fair shake at prosperity.
Unfortunately, travel was limited with the embargo, so Cubans had to turn to unconventional methods to get to the states. Just a mere 90 miles of water separates Cuba and Florida, and clever refugees used rafts to cross it.
Since the 1959 Cuban revolution that put Fidel Castro in power, over a million people have fled Cuba to countries as varied as the U.S, Italy, Mexico, Canada, and Sweden.
Nearly 1 million Cuban exiles live in the City of Miami alone.
The first wave of refugees left in 1959 after Fidel Castro gained control of the country. Most were under the impression that the government was temporary. They believed that Fidel would fall in a year. Sadly, that was not the case.
Since then, Cubans have become quite good at building rafts to take them to America.
In 1995, the U.S determined that escaped Cubans found on the beaches of Florida were considered illegal immigrants.
The refugees are mostly picked up at sea by the coast guard and sent back to Cuba.
Another large Cuban refugee settlement exists in Union City, New Jersey. It is also one of the homes of the Cuban-American party, which opposes communism and supports the embargo on Cuba.
In 2003, a group of Cuban refugees made a raft out of a 1951 Chevy pickup truck and a few oil drums. The craft was found by Americans around Key West, and the refugees were sent home.
In 2004, the same group of exiles made another boat out of a fully-functional 1959 Chevy.
Their last attempt was a converted taxi in 2005. Once again, the crew was stopped and sent back to Cuba.
It is estimated that over 500 visas to the United States are processed each day in Cuba. We can only hope that these folks won’t have to brave the Gulf to get here, all thanks to the newly established relations with Cuba.