Sunday, April 09, 2006

The First Freedom Flight

In 1965 the US sponsored airlifts out of Cuba called "Freedom Flights". These flights brought around 260,000 Cubans to the US, with the first flight landing in December 1st. Whatever happeded to the people in that flight? The Miami Herald tracks 32 of the people on that first Freedom Flight to find out what became of them.

Some highlights:
'I became a free man again the day I left Cuba,'' said Marrero, who made the trip with his wife, Esther, and two daughters, 3 and 13.

For Antonia Chapelin Villanueva, the day she learned her future would move to the United States is frozen in time. Her family almost missed the flight.

Eloina Gonzalez was to be reunited with her husband who had already gone to New York, but her heart was breaking. She was leaving behind her 15-year-old son with relatives because the Cuban government prohibited males eligible for the military -- those 15 and older -- from leaving.

''We had the opportunity to raise our children in a free country and accomplished all we wanted in life with hard work,'' said Norma Tabares in an e-mail from California.

Rebeca Anorga's sister, Maria, was also supposed to be on that flight. But she gave up her seat at the last minute because she, too, was pregnant and feared losing the baby.
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