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Latin American & Caribbean Studies

A Selected Bibliography

Compiled by: Holly Ackerman, Ph.D., Librarian for Latin American, Iberian & Latino Studies, Duke University Libraries

Content of the Bibliography

The primary selection criterion for inclusion in this bibliography is the extent to which each item treats the subject of rafting. All or a substantial portion of the work must be dedicated to the rafter phenomenon.

Second, the material needs to be based in direct experience or, for non-participant authors, to be well grounded theoretically and methodologically.  Basically, any participant in events who has published is included. The reason for this is simply to give readers detailed description from the rafters themselves and to draw attention to hard to find materials that researchers might otherwise be unable to locate. Testimonial accounts are marked with an asterisk (*).

Formats include: non-fiction books, journal articles, dissertations, film, archives, government publications, occasional papers, reports & proceedings.

Journalistic production on this subject is so extensive that it is impossible to gather and evaluate this category. The same is true of the extensive literature on the case of rafter Elián González and on the Mariel Boatlift.  This bibliography is a living thing and readers are encouraged to submit citations that may have been overlooked to . The author will update the bibliography at intervals.  

“Diaspora,” by artist Leandro Soto.

Bibliographical Categories

Books     -     Dissertations      -     Films & Videos     -     Public Documents      -     Journal Articles      -     Occasional Papers     -     Archives


* Indicates a book of testimony written by a rafter or social service provider who worked directly with rafters or other participant in the rafter crisis.



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Most dissertations can be found in full text in the database Proquest Dissertations & Theses Global, available at many university libraries.

  • Ackerman, Holly. 1996. Mass Migration, Nonviolent Social Action, and the Cuban Raft Exodus, 1959-1994: An Analysis of Citizen Motivation and International Politics. Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Miami.
  • Álvarez, Sandra Dalis. 2001. Getting a Head Start on Assimilation: An Analysis of Cuban American Women in a Head Start Program.Ph.D. Dissertation, Kansas State University.
  • Anderson, Brown McIntosh 1996.  Negotiated transitions: The role of a voluntary resettlement agency in the labor incorporation of Cuban refugees. M.A. dissertation, Georgia State University.
  • *Campisi, Elizabeth. 2008. Guantánamo: Culture, Trauma and the Cuban Rafter Crisis of 1994-1996. Ph.D. Dissertation, State University of New York at Albany.
  • Clark, Juan M. 1976. The Exodus from Revolutionary Cuba (1959-1974): A Sociological Analysis. Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Florida Gainesville.
  • Gibbs, Jessica F.  2005. The Policy of the United States Towards Cuba from 1989-1996. University of Cambridge.
  • Greenhill, Kelly. 2003. People Pressure: Strategic Engineered Migration as an Instrument of Statecraft  and the Rise of the Human Rights Regime. Ph.D. dissertation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
  • Henken, Theodore A. 1998. Cuban and Mexican Migration to the United States: Refugee Flows and Labor Migration in the Modern World System. M.A. Thesis, Tulane University.
  • Lima, Maritza. 1997. Day Treatment Program for Cuban Rafter Refugee Children-focus: Treatment for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Prevention of Acculturation Stress. Psy.D. Dissertation, Caribbean Center for Advanced Studies. Miami Institute of Psychology.
  • Miller, Gretchen.  2003.  A Cuban Refugee Raft Memorial Museum. Masters Thesis. University of Florida, School of Architecture.
  • Navarro, Lygia. 2007. The Long Way Around: Human smuggling from Cuba to the United States. Masters Thesis. University of Californai Berkeley, Graduate School of Journalism.
  • Neske, Robert. 1999. Assumption of Adequacy: Operation Safe Haven: A Chaplain’s View. Masters Thesis. U.S. Army Command and Staff College, Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas.
  • Perez, Marta R. 1996.  The Varela Centers: An immigrant education entry program. Ph.D. dissertation, University of Miami.
  • Simantirakis, Christina. The Cuban Shoot-down of Two United States-registered Civil Aircraft on 24 February 1996: Study of a New Case of Use of Weapons Against Civil Aircraft. Ph.D. Dissertation, McGill University, Canada.
  • Timmel, Jill L. 2001. Creativity and Acculturation: Psychological and Cultural Effects on the Divergent Thinking of Cuban Preadolescent Immigrants Entering the United States. Ph.D. Dissertation., Cornell University.
  • Vicente, Andrea Cristine. 2004. The Cuban-U.S. Transnational Relationship: The Impact of Recent Migration on Cuban and Cuban-American Society. Master’s thesis. Florida State University.


Artist: Sergio Lastres, 1994, Guantánamo Bay, Cuba

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Films & Videos

  • Anton, Alex and Joe Cardona. 1996. Adios patria? El éxodo cubano.  Miami. Malecon Films (80 mins.).
  • Bosch, Charles and Josep Domenech. 2002. Balseros. Barcelona: Lauren Films, VHS & DVD. (120 mins.).
  • Dystra, Jorge. 2003. fin el mar (Finally the Sea) Spanish with English subtitles, Film. (102 mins.).
  • Gilpin, Margaret, Luis F. Bernaza. 1994. Estado del Tiempo (Changing tides) Spanish with English subtitles, VHS. (34 mins.).
  • Gutiérrez, Carlos V.  2006. Wet Foot/Dry Foot. Lazarus Productions. (18 mins.)
  • Hogar de Transito. s.n. En busca de la libertad: hogar de tránsito para los refugiados cubanos. VHS. (27 mins.).
  • Journeyman Pictures, Inc. 2003. A New Cuban Crisis. DVD. (37 min.) NYC: Filmakers Library, Inc.
  • Leff, Neil M., Mario Ortiz, Norton Rodriguez  2001. Libertad. Miami, FL : Bougainvillea Films, Video & DVD. (110 mins.).
  • Lopez, Carmen. 2003. Black & Blue: A Rafter’s Journey. Film. ( 59 mins.).
  • Mulloy, Lucy. 2012. Una noche. Video. (89 mins.).
  • Oller, Rafael. 1995. American Purgatory: 90 Days Behind the Wire at Guantánamo USNB. VHS. (90 mins.).
  • Rodríguez Ichaso, Mari and Purita F. Ichaso del Carrillo 1999. Marcadas Por El Paraíso. VHS (90 min.) Fuera del Paraíso Films. 


Drawing made by Cuban child held at Guantánamo Bay, 1994

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Public Documents


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Journal Articles

  • Ackerman, Holly, Guest editor. 2005. Special section, The Cuban Balsero Crisis Ten Years Later, Latino Studies. Vol 3:3, November, 372-428.
  • ______________. 2005. Los balseros: antes y ahora. Encuentro de la cultura cubana 36, no. Spring: 131.
  • ______________. 1996. The Balsero Phenomenon, 1991-1994. Cuban Studies 26: 169.
  • ______________. Protesta social en la Cuba actual: Los balseros de 1994. Encuentro de la Cultura Cubana 3, no. Winter 1996/97: 125.
  • Aja Díaz, Antonio. 2000. La emigración de Cuba en los años noventa. Cuban Studies 30: 1.
  • ________________. 1996. La emigracion ilegal desde Cuba hacia los Estados Unidos y sus motivaciones. Cuadernos de nuestra America. Enero-junio.
  • ________________. 1995. Agosto del '94 y el proceso migratorio cubano. Areito, Vol5.
  • Andrews, Thomas C. Et al. 1997. Self-mutilitation and Malingering Among Cuban Migrants Detained at Guantánamo Bay. The New England Journal of Medicine. 336 No.17 (Apr 24).
  • Blanco, Juan A. Emigrantes, desterrados, exiliados e opositores: la excepcionalidad de la política migratoria cubana. Encuentro en la red , no. Monday, May 17, 2004: May 23, 2004.
  • Bone, Margaret. 1994. The migrant camps - Marines at Guantanamo. Leatherneck. Vol. 77:12, Pg. 28-29.
  • Bonnin, Rodolfo, Chris Brown. 2002. The Cuban Diaspora: A Comparative Analysis of the Search for Meaning among Recent Cuban Exiles and Cuban Americans. Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences 24, no. 4: 465.
  • Brenner, G. H. (2010). The expected psychiatric impact of detention in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and related considerations. Journal of Trauma and Dissociation, 11(4), 469-487. 

  • Brenner, Philip, P. Kornbluh. 1995. Clinton's Cuba Calculus. NACLA Report on the Americas 29, no. 2: 33.
  • Campisi, Elizabeth. 2005. Guantánamo: Safe haven or Traumatic Interlude?, The Cuban Balsero Crisis Ten Years Later, Latino Studies. Vol 3:3, November 372.
  • Colomer, Josep. 2000. Exit, Voice, and Hostility in Cuba. The International Migration Review 34, no. 2: 423.
  • del Valle, Patricia, Adriana McEachern, and Maria Sabina. 1999. Using Drawings & Writings in a Group Counseling Experience with Cuban Rafter Children, 'Los Balseritos'. Guidance & Counseling 14:4:20.
  • Falcoff, M. 1995. The Other Cuba. National Review. XLVII, no. 10 (JUN 12): 34-38, 43.
  • Fowler, Victor. 2002. A Traveler's Album: Variations on Cubanidad. boundary 2 29, no. 3: 105-119. 3407.
  • Frohock, Christina M. 2012. "brisas del mar": Judicial and political outcomes of the Cuban rafter crisis in Guantanamo. Harvard Latino Law Review 15 : 39.
  • Greenhill, Kelly. 2002. Engineered Migration and the Use of Refugees as Political Weapons: A Case Study of the 1994 Cuban Balseros Crisis. International Migration 40, no. 4: 39.
  • Henken, Ted. 2005. Balseros, boteros y el bombo: Persistencia de un trato migratorio especial. Encuentro de la cultura cubana 36, no. Spring: 142.
  • Howe, James C. 1994. Coast Guard Rescues of Cuban migrants. North-South: The Magazine of the Americas 4, no. 2 (09//Sep/Oct94): 48.
  • Hughes, D.A., Honer, J.A. and J. Jones. Mental health nursing support during Operation Sea Signal: Cuban/Haitian humanitarian mission. Military Medicine. 1998 June: 163 (6):353
  • Hughes, Joyce. 1999. Flight from Cuba. California Western Law Review. Vol 39 (Fall).
  • Johnson, Dorothy T., Ronald W. Krueger, and Jennifer M. Shields. 1997. Drawing down Sea Signal. Army Logistician: 30.
  • Keeling, James H., Paula A. Vogel, Richard A. Keller, Scott A. Norton, & Christopher Sartori. 1999. The dermatologist in military operations. Dermatologic Clinics 17 (1): 209-34.
  • Kortepeter, M; Krauss, M. Tuberculosis infection after humanitarian assistance, Guantanamo Bay, 1995. Military Medicine. Bethesda, Maryland, 166, 2, 116-120 5p, Feb. 2001.
  • Kyle, D & M Scarcelli. 2009. Migrant smuggling & the violence question: Evolving illicit migration markets for Cuban & Haitian refugees. Crime, Law & Social Change 52(3):297-311.
  • Little, Cheryl. 1999. Inter-group Coalitions and Immigration Politics: The Haitian Experience in Florida. University of Miami Law Review 53, no. 4: 717.
  • Lyons, David. 1994. Asylum Rule Change Decried. National Law Journal 17, no. September 5: A6.
  • Masud-Piloto, Félix. 2005. Bienvenidos a Guantánamo: Una perspective histórica. Encuentro de la cultura cubana 36, no. Spring: 121.
  • McCready, Siobhan. 1994. The Science of Saving Rafters. Sea Frontiers 40, no. 6 (12//): 14.
  • Nackerud, Larry. Alyson Springer and others. The End of Cuban Contradiction in U.S. Refugee Policy. International Migration Review. 33, no. 1: 176.
  • Palmer, Gary W. 1997. Guarding the Coast: Alien Migrant Interdiction Operations at Sea. Connecticut Law Review. 29:1565.
  • Pelton, J; Buehrer, J; Cull, D. Surgical support of Operation Sea Signal: adaptability of the 59th Air Transportable Hospital in Cuba. Military Medicine. Bethesda, Maryland, 168, 12, 957-960 4p, Dec. 2003.
  • Pérez, Marta. 1997. The Varela Centers: An Immigrant Education Program in Response to Cuban Guantánamo Bay Crisis. Migration World Magazine 25, No 3:23.
  • Pitts, W. D. 1995. A Guantánamo Diary - Operation Sea Signal. JFQ. Autumn 114.
  • Rieff, David. 1995. From Exiles to Immigrants. Foreign Affairs 74: 76.
  • Rosendahl, Bruce. 1994. Awaiting Rafters. Sea Frontiers. 40, no. 6: 8.
  • Rosendahl, Bruce R., Thomas N. Lee. 1993. Roulette in the Straits of Florida. Sea Frontiers. 39, no. 3 (05//May/Jun93): 8.
  • Rothe, E.M., H. Castillo and others. 1998. Sintomatología post-traumática en niños y adolescentes balseros Cubanos: Una synopsis de tres estudios. Monografias de Psiquiatria. 10, no. 1: 18.
  • Rothe, Eugenio M., Hector Castillo-Matos, Kim Brinson, John Lewis. 2000. La odisea de los balseros cubanos. Médico Interamericano 19, no. 12: 578.
  • Rothe, Eugenio M., Hector Castillo-Matos, Ruben Busquets. 1996. Posttraumatic Stress Symptoms in Cuban Adolescent Refugees During Camp Confinement. Annals of the American Society for Adolescent Psychiatry. 26.
  • Rothe, Eugenio M., John Lewis, Hector Castillo-Matos and others. 2002. Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Among Cuban Children and Adolescents After Release From a Refugee Camp. Psychiatric Services. 55, no. 8: 970.
  • Ruiz, Elio B. 2007. Náufragos del verano (excerpt of a novel). Afro-Hispanic Review 26, no. 1 (/; Spring 2007): 213-222.
  • Rumbaut, Rubén G. 1976. The Family in Exile: Cuban Expatriates in the United States. The American Journal of Psychiatry.133, no. 4: 395.
  • Sartori, Mara E. 2001. The Cuban Migration Dilemma: An Examination of the United States' Policy of Temporary Protection in Offshore Safe Havens. Georgetown Immigration Law Journal. 15, no. 1: 319.
  • Solomon, B. 1994. Clinton's Fast Break on Cuba. National Journal. 26, no. 36: 2044.
  • Suarez, Virgil. 2000. The Culture of Leaving: Balsero Dreams. Hopscotch: A Cultural Review. 2:2, 2-13.
  • Turner, Elisa. 1991. Mythic Presence. ARTnews 90. no. 10: 20.
  • Uzwyshyn, Ray. Multimedia Visualization and Interactive Systems: Drawing Board Possibilities and Server Realities: A Cuban Rafter Paradigm Case." Library Hi Tech 25, no. 3 (2007): 379-386.
  • Vanderbush, Walt and Patrick J. Haney. 1999. Policy Toward Cuba in the Clinton Administration. Political Science Quarterly. 114, no. 3: 387.
  • Vicent, Mauricio. 1994. Éxodo y exilio para los balseros desde Cuba, con dolor. Crónica centroamericana. 341, no. September: 58.
  • Wester, Richard J. 2011. "Learning from Operation Able Manner." United States Naval Institute.Proceedings 137 (8): 34-39.


Rafters washed up in the Cayman Islands, 2008

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Occasional papers


Cuban camps at the U.S. Naval Station, Guantánamo Bay, 1994-1995  

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Selected Archives

Page from el éxodo, a rafter-made newspaper from the Cuban camps at the Guantánamo Bay Naval Station, 1995. Artist, Alexis Calzadilla Garcell

For a full run of el  éxodo and other rafter newspapers see, Caribbean Sea Migration Digital Collection at the Duke University Libraries.

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