Guest: Fausta Rodriguez Wertz, the editor of Fausta’s Blog……….we will look back at Mariel 1980 and the events that sent 100,000 Cubans to the US this week…….the runaway Mexican governor………….Mexicans returning to Mexico….King Felipe & PM Rajoy to visit Cuba……Colombia the ELN and economy………….no recount in Ecuador……total chaos in Venezuela………..plus more stories………
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Thirty-seven years ago, the Mariel boatlift began:
“On April 20, 1980, the Castro regime announces that all Cubans wishing to emigrate to the U.S. are free to board boats at the port of Mariel west of Havana, launching the Mariel Boatlift.
The first of 125,000 Cuban refugees from Mariel reached Florida the next day.”
The whole story was a perfect storm that started when President Carter authorized talks with the Cuban government. It created a “detente” that brought Cuban exiles to the island and made Latin American embassies candidates for asylum.
By the way, the Castro-Carter romance ended when Castro sent troops to Africa and President Carter cancelled the talks.
Down on the island, Cubans began to walk into embassies and request political asylum.
By April 1980, the embassies of Argentina and Peru were flooded with Cubans looking for a way out of the island.
It became an international crisis and President Jimmy Carter issued a statement about the situation. He expressed concern about the safety and well being of the 10,800 Cubans at the Peruvian embassy.
Fidel Castro responded by calling on Cubans to leave if they didn’t support the revolution. Immediately, more Cubans rushed to the embassies.
It quickly became an embarrassment, as well as a logistics problem for embassies protecting hundreds of Cubans.
Fidel Castro responded again and told Cubans to leave the island. And thousands did. Suddenly, Americans saw boats full of Cubans landing in Florida. It soon became a humanitarian crisis of unprecedented proportions.
Then-Rear Admiral Benedict L. Stabile, USCG related the story years later:
The size of the refugee flotilla was staggering.
Trailered boats were lined-up 50 to 100 deep at Key West, waiting their turn to be launched. This went on for 36 to 48 hours; local residence could hear the activity around the clock.
Hundreds of trailers were scattered throughout Key West.
One thousand craft were observed southbound on the afternoon of the 24th.
For the most part, these were Cuban Americans who owned their own boat, typically a 20 to 40 footer relatively well equipped for local pleasure boating.
Reportedly, the tanks in numerous craft had inadequate fuel capacity and the vessels were carrying additional fuel in portable containers.
This, the first wave, resulted in the transit of 1,000 to 1,200 boats to Mariel in relatively short order.
It went on for weeks!
Mariel brought thousands to the U.S. and most of them turned out to be very good additions to Florida. Unfortunately, there were some criminal elements but they were a very small number. Don’t judge “Marielitos” by Tony Montana of Scarface!
Years later, most of the “Marielitos” have contributed much to Miami and the U.S.
For me, Mariel was a turning point in rediscovering my Cuban roots. It reconnected me with the Cuban cause, especially since I saw boats and people leaving the same island that I left as a kid in 1964.
Guest: Marcos Nelson Suarez, who left Cuba at that time and remembers the timeline of events ………we remember the Mariel incident that sent 100,000 Cubans to the US this week in 1980……..North Korea is still in the news…….a few thoughts about the special election in Georgia on Tuesday……..there is a runoff coming in June……….we wish President Bush a speedy recovery………plus more stories….
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Most of you may have heard the expression: “Mi casa tu casa”. It’s the ultimate expression of hospitality in Spanish. It means my home is your home. It’s often used when you visit someone’s home.
Well. Mexico is changing it a bit to “tu casa tu casa”, or your home is still your home.
Don’t look now but Mexicans are going home and President Pena-Nieto went to the airport to greet them:
Mexico’s president dashed to the airport to greet a planeload of deportees.
The education minister rushed to the Texas border to meet Mexicans being kicked out of the United States.
Mexico City’s labor secretary is urging companies to hire migrants who abruptly find themselves sent back home.
“Unlike what’s happening in the United States, this is your home,” the labor secretary, Amalia García, told deportees in the audience at a recent event for the city’s jobs programs.
For years, as the Obama administration sent back thousands of Mexicans each week — more than two million altogether — Mexico’s establishment barely reacted. All but invisible, the deportees were left to cope on their own with divided families, uncertain job prospects and the poverty that had pushed so many north in the first place.
Now, Mexican politicians are eagerly embracing them, portraying deportees as the embodiment of President Trump’s hostility toward their country and their people — even though deportations of Mexican citizens actually fell in the opening months of his term.
Frankly, this is pure cosmetics.
First, no one welcomed the millions deported by the Obama administration. No one in the Mexican political class called Obama a “racista” or “anti-mejicano”.
Instead, they said nothing publicly and went along, for whatever reason.
This is not about greeting the new arrivals. This is about President Trump, the only thing that all parties in Mexico agree on.
As the article points, returning is not as easy as it sounds. The new arrivals need jobs and schools. Can Mexico provide the new arrivals with new jobs or schools? No simple answers! Why do you think they left in the first place?
Second, the real issue is the 10 or so million who are here sending funds back home. They are still sending the money, as we see in this CNN report:
Between January and November of 2016, $24.6 billion flowed back to the pockets of Mexicans from friends and relatives living overseas, according to Mexico’s central bank.
That’s even higher than what Mexico earns from its oil exports — $23.2 billion in 2015.
And almost all of that cash comes from the U.S.
The average remittance from Mexico is about $300.
Essentially, Mexico’s most lucrative natural resource are the people who leave home.
Remittances help drive Mexico’s economy, from paying for new home construction to schools, especially in low-income areas.
The cash transfers from the U.S. have also been growing faster than wages and inflation.
This is the group that Mexico will have a lot of trouble welcoming back. Unfortunately, Mexico has become so dependent on these billions of dollars that the only thing they can hope for is that they are legalized in the U.S. and continue the remittances.
“Tu casa tu casa”! We will see how long that lasts!
Guest: Barry Jacobsen, military historian and blogger, joins us for a another episode about World War II: The Doolittle Raid, the Battle of the Java Sea and the Battle of the Coral Sea…………..
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Joey Norris, political observer, will talk about today’s special election in Georgia……plus the problems with North Korea….a new baseball stadium for the Atlanta Braves……..plus more stories…
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