The Reagan Years and Beyond

  • Robert M. Levine


The 1980 Mariel boatlift brought tens of thousands of desperate Cubans to Florida and further hardened the anti-Castro policy of the United States. Mariel was not only difficult for its participants, but also for the Cuban families who stayed behind while family members left. In the mid-1980s, Cuba again shut its doors, refusing to honor its 1978 agreement of permitting exiles to visit. Some Cubans committed suicide in despair over the departure of their children or other close relatives, and Cubans who lined up to apply for visas at the height of Mariel were insulted by hecklers, splattered by eggs thrown at them, and in some cases were forced to wear signs reading, “I am a worm.” Many received beatings, and one or two were beaten to death.1 Many Mariel arrivals initially fared badly in the United States, too, although over time they adjusted.


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  1. 1.
    Wayne S. Smith, The Closest of Enemies (New York: W W Norton, 1987), 212.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    María de los Angeles Torres, In the Land of Mirrors (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2001), 112–113.Google Scholar
  3. 24.
    See Edwin Meese, With Reagan (New York: Gateway, 1992).Google Scholar
  4. For a more skeptical view, see Johnson Haynes, Sleepwalking Through History (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1991).Google Scholar
  5. 28.
    See Donald T. Regan, For the Record: From Wall Street to Washington (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1988), 368–73.Google Scholar

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© Robert M. Levine 2001

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  • Robert M. Levine

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