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 ...