On April 1 1980, five individuals seeking political asylum crashed a bus through the gates of the Peruvian embassy in Havana, Cuba. In the following days, 10,000 people stormed that ... See full summary »

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On April 1 1980, five individuals seeking political asylum crashed a bus through the gates of the Peruvian embassy in Havana, Cuba. In the following days, 10,000 people stormed that embassy's grounds, signifying wide-spread disdain for Cuba's dictatorship. Fearing that continued civil unrest might cause further violence, Fidel Castro proclaimed that any Cuban wishing to immigrate to the United States could board a boat at the nearby port of Mariel. In what some considered a bold move, Castro forced prisoners and street indigents to board these same boats. While only a small percentage of the 125,000 Mariel refugees were actually criminals, Castro succeeded in tarnishing the image of those fleeing the country. However, for the vast majority of those who left Cuba, this was the beginning of a costly journey to freedom. The exile would begin not only with a parting of personal possessions, but a separation from family that for many would last a lifetime. But for the Marielitos the cost ... Written by James Carleton

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26 March 2011 (USA)  »

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Gripping
26 October 2011 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Having grown up in Miami in the 80's I thought I knew everything there was to know about "el Mariel", but this documentary brought the stories of myriad personalities to life. From those leaving in search of religious freedom to those seeking to express their sexuality freely to those who hungered for a chance to make a better life for themselves - each person spoke with candor, and sometimes even humor about the odyssey they took part in. The contrast of black and white footage of Cuba during the "glory days" shortly after Catro's victory juxtaposed with the faded colos of modern day Havana are the perfect backdrop for this tale of joy and anguish. I felt that the movie's handling of the "criminal element" that arrived via Mariel was fair and objective. Both my teenage daughter and myself were mesmerized!


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