09/04/13 - Miami Herald - Three decades after Mariel Boatlift repatriations continue
It was still dark when federal agents knocked on the door of a residence in
Columbus, Ohio, on an early January morning.
They told Yuneqca Bryant that they were looking for her husband, Marcos
Diaz Hernandez, a Cuban exile who arrived during the 1980 Mariel boatlift.
Diaz was not home, so the agents told Bryant to tell her husband to report
to immigration authorities as soon as he returned so they could place an
electronic monitoring bracelet on his ankle.
After Diaz returned home, he promptly went to the nearest U.S. Immigration
and Customs Enforcement office where he was placed in detention.
Today Diaz, 54, is back in Havana after being deported last month. His name
was on a repatriation list of 2,746 Cubans who either had criminal records
in Cuba or ran afoul of the law after arriving in the United States.
President Reagan and former Cuban leader Fidel Castro agreed on the list in
1984, and every year since then, small groups of Cubans who arrived during
the boatlift are deported.
Currently there are 502 names left on the list, ICE said recently in a
This means that it may take another four or five years before ICE works
through all the names on the list.
On average, about 90 to 100 Cubans on the list have been deported every
Bryant said her husband had a criminal record related to a robbery case a
year after he arrived in Florida.
The Diaz deportation provides a glimpse into how ICE officials remove some
of the names on the repatriation list.
ICE officers who put Diaz in detention told him that within 30 days he
would be back in Cuba, Bryant said. But at the end of 30 days, Diaz was
still in the United States.
Bryant, 35, said officials at first told her husband that Cuba would not
take him back, so he would be released after 90 days.
That didn't happen. Instead, Diaz was moved around to various detention
facilities and eventually wound up at Krome detention center in west
He was deported to Cuba from Krome on Aug. 7.
Bryant said she has been unable to talk to her husband since he was sent to
"I don't have a phone number where I can reach him and he has not been able
to call me," she said in a telephone interview last week from her home in
Bryant had an address in Havana for Diaz's mother and wrote her a letter.
She did not get a response.
"I don't know where he is in Cuba," said Bryant. "I've lost contact with
Besides his wife, Diaz also left behind their two young children - a son,
3, and a daughter, 1 - as well as an 8-year-old daughter from a previous
During the Mariel exodus more than 125,000 Cubans arrived aboard exile
boats that flocked to the port of Mariel to pick up relatives and friends
but sometimes left with whomever Cuban authorities decided to put aboard.
Among them were some criminals who went straight from jail to the port.
The Reagan administration pressed the Castro government to allow the
deportation of Mariel arrivals with criminal records, resulting in the
agreement that led to the repatriation list.
After the so-called rafter exodus in 1994, the United States and Cuba
reached another migration agreement under which Washington promised to
issue at least 20,000 visas annually to Cuban who wanted to emigrate to the
United States and Havana agreed to accept the repatriation of Cubans
intercepted on the high seas as they tried to make their way to the United
Original Source / Fuente Original:
CUBA-L FAIR USE NOTICE
This server contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of Cuba's political, economic, human rights, international, cultural, educational, scientific, sports and historical issues, among others. We distribute the materials on the basis of a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107. The material is distributed without profit. The material should be used for information, research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/ uscode/17/107.shtml.