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Mariel Boat

Mariel Boatlift

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On April 20, 1980, the Castro Regime announced that all Cubans wishing to leave for the U.S. were able to do so. This was the beginning of the mass emigration of Cubans to the U.S. The next day, on April 21, 1980, the first 125,000 Cuban refugees from the port of Mariel, Cuba reached Florida. They fled Cuba in about 1,700 boats, creating large waves of people that overwhelmed the U.S. Coast Guard and created political problems for U.S. President Jimmy Carter.