Balseros (Rafters, from the Spanish "Balsa", Raft) is the name given to the persons who emigrate illegally in self constructed or precarious vessels from Cuba to neighbouring states including the Bahamas, the Cayman Islands and, most commonly, the United States. The Cuban Rafters, almost always disagree with communism and the Cuban government of the Castro Family.
Mass Cuban emigration to the United States is seen as having had four waves. The first wave before the Cuban Missile Crisis ended travel. The second wave was 1965-1973. The 1980 Mariel Boatlift was the third wave.
Some scholars regard the August 1994 Cuban Rafters Crisis as the fourth wave of Cuban immigration. The 1994 Balseros Crisis was ended by the agreement of the Wet feet, dry feet policy between Bill Clinton and Fidel Castro.
- Mariel Boatlift 1980
- Wet feet, dry feet policy 1994
- Balseros - the title of a 2002 documentary about those persons and their experiences in Cuba and in the United States.
- HISPANIC AMERICAN RELIGIOUS CULTURES 2 VOLUME SET Key West, New Orleans, and New York City before 1959, the vast majority of Cuban Americans trace their U.S. residency or birth to four successive waves of immigration after 1960. ... The second wave began in 1965 and ended in 1973."Finally, the Balsero (Cuban Rafters) Crisis of 1994 almost became a repeat of the 1980 Mariel Exodus as some people stormed foreign embassies in Cuba, while thousands of others attempted to flee the island on makeshift rafts and unsafe ..That summer, over a four-day period in late August, a fleet of 16 Coast Guard cutters picked up over 8,000 Cuban rafters. ... Some scholars identify this crisis as the fourth wave of Cuban immigration to the United States, while others interpret it as part of the smaller ... Although the Cuban Rafter Crisis of 1994 was settled by an agreement between Fidel Castro and President William Clinton, the balsero"
- University of Miami's site: The Cuban Rafter Phenomenon: A Unique Sea Exodus.
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