Personal Work: Democracy + Communism: NYT :: Cuba: Communism Relived: Cuba_Paskova_005

Yasiel Valdivia waits for a bus with his brother, Michael Denis Fonteto (not seen,) in the port city of Mariel, on the way to visit their mother and grandmother a nearby village. Yasiel and Michael's uncle was amongst those who fled toward Florida in the Mariel Boatlift exodus of 1980. The brothers say he has not since regained permission to return, separating him from his sister (their mother) and his 93-year-old mother, for 35 years. Mariel is a town whose tranquil appearance belies its important place in both the history and future of Cuban-American interaction. It is where Russians unloaded nuclear warheads in the 1962 Cuban missile crisis, and the gateway through which 125,000 Miami-bound emigres fled during the Mariel Boatlift of 1980. The town is now the site of construction of a deepwater container port and a free-trade zone, a critical ingredient for which will be the future of the U.S. embargo against Cuba, in place for more than 50 years but now under speculation of being lifted.

Yasiel Valdivia waits for a bus with his brother, Michael Denis Fonteto (not seen,) in the port city of Mariel, on the way to visit their mother and grandmother a nearby village. Yasiel and Michael's uncle was amongst those who fled toward Florida in the Mariel Boatlift exodus of 1980. The brothers say he has not since regained permission to return, separating him from his sister (their mother) and his 93-year-old mother, for 35 years.  

Mariel is a town whose tranquil appearance belies its important place in both the history and future of Cuban-American interaction. It is where Russians unloaded nuclear warheads in the 1962 Cuban missile crisis, and the gateway through which 125,000 Miami-bound emigres fled during the Mariel Boatlift of 1980. The town is now the site of construction of a deepwater container port and a free-trade zone, a critical ingredient for which will be the future of the U.S. embargo against Cuba, in place for more than 50 years but now under speculation of being lifted.