In Search of Freedom


In Search of Freedom

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A Freedom Flight arrives in Miami from Varadero, Cuba
The Camarioca Boatlift ended with an agreement between the United States and Cuban governments that resulted in the Freedom Flights, an airlift of twice-daily flights between Cuba and Miami. Nearly 270,000 Cuban refugees were reunified with their…

Waiting in line for services at the Cuban Refugee Center at Freedom Tower
The verso of this photograph reads: During the heavy influx of Cuban refugees this was the daily sidewalk scene outside the U.S. Cuban Refugee Center, Miami. Some days it was impossible to close down activities until well along in the evening hours.

"Creo que lo mejor es buscar en otra parte ..."
The Cuban caricaturist Silvio Fontanillas (1913?-2000) prepared this cartoon most likely for the newsletter Oportunidades. It depicts the difficulties that many Cuban refugees faced in finding housing in crowded Miami.

International Rescue Committee waiting area at the Cuban Refugee Center
To alleviate overcrowded Miami, the Cuban Refugee Program worked with voluntary agencies to encourage arriving refugees to relocate away from the area. By 1980, 304,000 Cuban refugees, about 60% of those processed, resettled to 38 states and 24…

U.S. Coast Guard crewmen aid a refugee during the 1965 Camarioca Boatlift
In an effort to rid Cuba of political dissidents, Fidel Castro announced in September 1965 that he would allow any Cuban who had relatives in the U.S. to leave the island through the port of Camarioca. Nearly 5,000 Cubans traversed the waters between…

A Cuban refugee reflects on his rescue at sea by the U.S. Coast Guard
Commercial transportation between the U.S. and Cuba ceased in October 1962 during the Cuban Missile Crisis. With regular flights to Miami permanently suspended, Cubans seeking asylum in the United States had to do so via third-party countries or by…

Pioneering bilingual education programs
The public school system of Miami-Dade County received federal funds through the Cuban Refugee Program to accommodate the ever-increasing number of school-age children arriving from Cuba. Funding for English-language classes was prioritized at all…
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