Miami... A Taste of Latin America in the USA

I lived in Fort Lauderdale Florida for several years. Thirty miles south of Fort Lauderdale was the city of Miami, a city I visited many times during my tenure in Florida.

At that time, Miami was your typical South Florida vacation spot, visited by “snowbirds," who flocked to the city in droves from December 15th through April 15th (the peak tourist season). During the rest of the year Miami was frequented by old Jewish retirees from the New York area (especially in the South Beach area), drug dealers, a sprinkling of budget minded off-season tourists and hearty locals who held on through the hot and humid summer month’s.

That all changed in 1980 because of the Mariel Boatlift. During that time, over 125,000 Cubans left Cuba and immigrated to Florida, the majority of whom ended up in Miami. The disruptions this caused to a city that, at the time, had a total population of only 346,681, were immense. Although there were major problems with displacement of...

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