Florida and the Mariel Boatlift of 1980: The First Twenty Days by Kathleen Dupes HawkFlorida and the Mariel Boatlift of 1980: The First Twenty Days by Kathleen Dupes Hawk

Florida and the Mariel Boatlift of 1980: The First Twenty Days

byKathleen Dupes Hawk, Ron Villella, Adolfo Leyva de Varona

Hardcover | July 30, 2014

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Winner of the Florida Historical Society's 2015 Stetson Kennedy Award

The 1980 Mariel Boatlift was a profound episode in twentieth-century American history, impacting not just Florida, but the entire country. During the first twenty days of the boatlift, with little support from the federal government, the state of Florida coordinated and responded to the sudden arrival in Key West of more than thirty thousand Cuban refugees, the first wave of immigrants who became known as "Marielitos."
Kathleen Dupes Hawk, Ron Villella, Adolfo Leyva de Varona, and Kristen Cifers combine the insights of expert observers with the experiences of actual participants. The authors organize and present a wealth of primary sources, first-hand accounts, archival research, government records, and interviews with policy-makers, volunteers, and refugees that bring into focus the many far-reaching human, political, and cultural outcomes of the Mariel Boatlift that continue to influence Florida, the United States, and Cuba today.
Emerging from these key records and accounts is a grand narrative of high human drama. Castro's haphazard and temporary opening of Cuba spurred many thousands of Cubans to depart in calamitously rushed, unprepared, and dangerous conditions. The book tells the stories of these Cuban citizens, most legitimately seeking political asylum but also including subversive agents, convicted criminals, and the mentally ill, who began arriving in the US beginning in April 1980. It also recounts how local and state agencies and private volunteers with few directives or resources were left to improvise ways to provide the Marielitos food, shelter, and security as well as transportation away from Key West.
The book provides a definitive account of the political, legal, and administrative twists on the local, state, and federal levels in response to the crisis as well as of the often-dysfunctional attempts at collaboration between governmental and private institutions. Vivid and readable, Florida and the Mariel Boatlift of 1980 presents the significant details that illuminate and humanize this complex humanitarian, political, and logistical crisis. 
Kate Dupes Hawk has published articles on medical history and the Mariel Boatlift. She has developed three museums for the Florida National Guard Historical Foundation and was awarded the Commander’s Award for Civilian Service medal for her work on the Camp Blanding, Florida, Museum of World War II. Ron Villella retired as vice-preside...
Title:Florida and the Mariel Boatlift of 1980: The First Twenty DaysFormat:HardcoverDimensions:360 pages, 9 × 6 × 1 inPublished:July 30, 2014Publisher:University Of Alabama PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0817318372

ISBN - 13:9780817318376


Editorial Reviews

“The significant contribution of this book is precisely the unique and original description of what was going on in the field day by day by all the characters involved. I do not believe this particular story has been told before. This book documents a vital moment in Florida history.” —Yolanda Prieto, author of The Cubans of Union City: Immigrants and Exiles in a New JerseyCommunity “The Mariel Boatlift, as reported by Ron and Kate, is a compelling story that had to be told. It was history in the making and these two individuals lived it from the first moment. The story of the boatlift is complex. It is a tale of local, state, and federal officials struggling to respond to the unexpected. It has political intrigue, both in the covert activities taking place with the boatlift and in the chaos that followed. Ultimately, the boatlift is a tale of compassion. . . . The people who spent those first twenty days on the front lines of history represented public service at its best. For me, it was an honor to have worked with them and to have been part of the contribution they made to our state and country. This volume is the latest extension of their contribution and helps chronicle a vital moment in Florida history.” —From the Foreword by Florida governor and United States senator Bob Graham