In 1980, there was a mass exodus of Cubans who left their homes for the United States as part of the Mariel Boatlift. It was a rare opportunity for people to leave the island, as President Fidel Castro opened his borders and allowed people to be reunited with family, find new opportunities and even leave prison. The event was mired in politics, stereotypes and, at times, chaos and trauma.
Of the 125,000 Cuban people who left, almost 15,000 of them were sent to Fort McCoy in Sparta, Wisconsin.
In this podcast, Cubans who remained in Wisconsin and became family to one another share untold stories about their early lives, moving to the U.S. and what life has been like in Wisconsin. Spoiler alert: it hasn’t always been easy. They dream of returning to Cuba, but can’t because many have been living in legal limbo for about 40 years.
Hosted by Wisconsin Public Radio’s Maureen McCollum and University of Wisconsin-La Crosse professor Omar Granados, the eight-episode podcast will debut Oct. 12.
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