While there already was -largely successful- Cuban emigration to the USA before the 80's, the third and most well-known wave of Cuban emigration was in 1980. The Cuban government permitted some 125,000 Cubans to board an impoverished fleet of boats in Mariel Harbor. However, estimates assert that this last wave of Cuban refugees included some 2,700 hardened criminals (fewer than 3% of the total).
Marielito crime gangs consist of generally male Cubans. Many of the original Marielitos have specific tattoos, displaying patron saints, names, words or arcane symbols. Marielito gang members, White as well as Afro-Cubans, are members of Afro Cuban religious cults engaged in religious rituals often resulting in self-inflicted bodily scars. While the original Marielito gang members came to the USA in the 80s, younger Cuban-Americans living in impoverished neighborhoods may imitate the rituals of the original Marielito criminals.