A banquet hall in west Miami-Dade on Sunday became a time machine of sorts to the early Twentieth Century Cuba -- and the town of Mariel. One of the ``travelers'' was Gertrudis Balsindri, who was born in the coastal town 25 miles east of Havanaon Nov. 17, 1900 -- that makes her 109.
Thirty years ago, the end of the Mariel boatlift, marked end of Jimmy Carter's efforts to normalize relations with Cuba
Miami's Merle Frank never expected what followed after she asked President Jimmy Carter in 1980 how he could help her city with the mass of Cubans arriving on the Mariel boatlift.
Ezequiel Torres has made a life celebrating his ancestors.
And now the master Afro-Cuban drummer and artisan is one of nine artists to be celebrated across the United States, all recipients of the National Endowment for the Arts' National Heritage Fellowship Award. It is the nation's highest honor for folk and traditional artists.
In September 1980, I was asked to assist with a large group of students who had come from Cuba in the Mariel boatlift.
At Henry H. Filer Junior High in Hialeah, now a middle school, we took in many of these Mariel students after they had been moved there from nearby Miami Central High School.
We came in a little boat named the Tauka -- a 24-footer that carried 36 passengers.
There were two people in my party -- Luis Morera Acosta, who was 65 at the time and a political prisoner of over 15 years; and me, I'm a Chinese Cuban.
WELCOME TO AMERICA: AS A MARIELITA, I WILL ALWAYS REMEMBER THOSE WORD
My family came to the United States during the Mariel boatlift. I've included a picture of our boat, the Atila, when we were coming into Key West.
My name is Graciela Blaya Law. For the last thirty years I've been following the Mariel anniversaries, decade after decade. In all the reports there is always something missing. I have decided that after three decades, it's time for me tell it the way it was. I'm referring to my ``Little Heroes,'' my students at Miramar Elementary School 1980-81.
The FBI and the CIA were not on top of the Cuban regime's shenanigans during the Mariel boatlift. A June 15 story, Mariel Boatlift -- Dozens of Cuban migrants picked off as possible spies, might have left readers with the mistaken impression that the federal authorities had a clue.