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The Sea is History: Bibliography: Cuba

An Brief Bibliography of Key Sources on Caribbean Sea Migration, 1960-2009

Camarioca, Mariel and the Rafter Crisis

Restaurant, Key West, Florida, 1994


Camarioca, 1965: Unfortunately no detailed history has yet been written on the Camarioca boatlift of 1965 but see two items below.

Mariel Boatlift, 1980: Below is a SHORT and PARTIAL bibliography of English and Spanish materials on the Mariel boatlift of 1980. These works provide a starting point for those who would like to learn more and are not intended to be exhaustive.

The Rafter Crisis, 1994: There is both a digital archive on the 1994 crisis and an extensive online bibliography

We welcome your comments below. To suggest additions to the bibliography contact:


Camarioca: Two interesting items

Researchers should search newspapers from 1965 for day-to-day accounts of the boatlift.


Noble, Dennis L. “Lessons Unlearned: The Camarioca Boatlift.” Naval History. Aug 2009, Vol. 23 Issue 4, p44-49.

The article discusses the 1965 Camarioca Boatlift, in which Cuban President Fidel Castro allowed Cubans to leave the country from Camarioca, Cuba, and the U.S. Coast Guard rescued refugees. Topics discussed include the Coast Guard's law enforcement, search and rescue, and observation operations, and the U.S. failure to draw lessons from the experience before the larger Mariel Boatlift of 1980.


Chaple, Sergio. “Camarioca la bella” in Narrativa de la joven Cuba: Antología. Ed. by, Bernardo Subercaseax. Santiago de Chile: Editorial Nascimento, 1971.

This is a short story about a father whose wife and children leave post-revolutionary Cuba and then return during the Camarioca boatlift to pick him up. He refuses to leave.


Mariel: A Short Bibliography


Boswell, Thomas D., Manuel Rivero, and Guarione M. Diaz. 1988. Bibliography for the Mariel-Cuban Diaspora. Caribbean Migration Program. Vol. 7. Gainesville, FL: Center for Latin American Studies, University of Florida.

Fernández, Gastón. 2002. The Mariel Exodus Twenty Years Later: A study on the politics of stigma and a research bibliography. Colección Cuba y sus jueces. Miami: Ediciones Universal.  

Gonzalez Kirby, Diana. 1991. A Survey of the Literature on the Cuban Immigration to the U.S. Before and Since the Mariel Boatlift. Inter-American Review of Bibliography. 41, no. 3: 504-517.


Bertot, Lillian. 2000. La imaginación literaria de la generación del Mariel [The Literary Imagination of the Mariel Generation]. Miami, FL: Fondo de Estudios Cubanos.

Calderón Urtecho, Félix. 2002.  Alerta roja!: fugitivos en La Habana: historia de la invasión a la Embajada del Perú en 1980. Berlín.

Cros Sandoval, Mercedes. 1986. Mariel and Cuban National Identity.  Miami, FL: Editorial SIBI.

Doss, Joe Morris. 2003. Let the Bastards Go: From Cuba to Freedom on God's Mercy. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press.

Engstrom, David Wells. 1997. Presidential Decision Making Adrift: The Carter Administration and the Mariel Boatlift. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

Garcia, Maria Cristina. 1996. Havana, U.S.A.: Cuban Exiles and Cuban Americans in South Florida, 1959-1989. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Hamm, Mark S. 1995. The Abandoned Ones: The imprisonment and uprising of the Mariel boat people. Boston: Northeastern University Press.

Larzelere, Alex. 1988. The 1980 Cuban Boatlift. Washington, D.C.: National Defense University Press.

Lauret, Mari. 2005. La odisea del Mariel: un testimonio sobre el éxodo y los sucesos de la embajada de Perú en la Habana. Madrid: Betania.

Parker, Robert C. 1993.  Did the USCG Use the Lessons Learned from the 1980 Mariel Boatlift from Cuba in Dealing with the Haitian Migration Crisis of 1991-2?. Newport, RI: U.S. Navy War College.

Pérez-Cruz, Ignacio Hugo. 2004. Odisea del san-d-bee en el llamado de la sangre (flotilla del Mariel). Miami, FL: Ediciones Especiales.

Rivera, Mario. 1991. Decision and Structure: U.S. refugee policy in the Mariel crisis. Lanham, MD: University Press of America.

Torres, María de los Angeles. 2003. By Heart/de memoria: Cuban women's journeys in and out of exile. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.


Anton, Alex and Joe Cardona. 1990. Adios Patria?  VHS (80 mins.), Miami, FL: Malecón Films.  This documentary depicts the plight of those who have left Cuba since the 1960s with footage on the Mariel Boatlift of 1980 and the "rafter" crisis of 1994.  It features the views and analyses of authors, journalists, political figures and scholars.

Bravo, Estela. 1994. The Cuban Excludables. VHS (57 min.). Directed by Prodoc and Richter Productions. New York, NY: Cinema Guild.  Depicts the plight of the detainees and the human rights abuses they suffered after the 1980 Mariel Boatlift. 

Burroughs, Jim and Suzanne Bauman. 1981. Against Wind and Tide, a Cuban Odyssey. VHS (58 min.). New York, NY: Filmakers' Library.

Pérez-Rey, Lisandro. 2003. Mas allá Del Mar Una Historia Del Exodo De Mariel = Beyond the sea: a history of the Mariel Boatlift. DVD (80 min.). Florida International University, Cuban Research Institute, and Gato Films. Florida. Combines first-hand accounts with historical footage and images from present-day Cuba to recreate the Mariel Boatlift in 1980.

Zaldívar, Juan Carlos. 2003. 90 Miles. DVD (53  mins.). Frameline. San Francisco, CA. A Cuban-born filmmaker recounts his exit from Cuba in 1980 during the Mariel boatlift.


Alina Fernandez Papers: This is a finding aid for an archive on those who came during the Mariel boatlift containing papers on the official and unofficial operations of the Cuban refugee camps at Ft. Chaffee, Arkansas; Ft. McCoy, Wisconsin and Ft. Indiantown Gap, Pennsylvania. Along with summary reports, of the Cuban Haitian Task Force, the collection contains English lesson plans, taped interviews and anecdotes by the Cuban refugees, and photographs.

In 2005, the UNIVISION Spanish language TV station in Miami produced a week-long series called Mariel 25. It contains video and data on the causes of the boatlift and the people involved.