StoryCorps Tampa Bay: The Feeling of Liberty
In 1980, the Cuban government opened its doors, allowing people to leave the country in a mass exodus that would come to be known as the Mariel Boatlift. The country's economy had suffered a serious downturn, and political unrest and mass incarceration was making aspects of governance untenable.
The first wave of emigrants came when the Peruvian embassy allowed Cubans to exit under its banner.
That's when Pedro Martinez and his friend decided to make the journey to Havana, and attempt to leave the country. But things got very complicated.
In this edition of StoryCorps Tampa Bay, Pedro's daughters Natalia and Elvia ask him about his decision to leave the country and the troubles he encountered along the way.
StoryCorps Tampa Bay airs every Monday on WUSF 89.7 at 8:35 a.m. during Morning Edition and at 5:44 p.m. during All Things Considered.