A chronology of the Cuban refugee sealift: April 4-6 _...

KEY WEST, Fla. -- A chronology of the Cuban refugee sealift:

April 4-6 _ Navy Lt. Hector Sanyustiz crashes bus with 23 Cuban dissidents through gate of Peruvian Embassy in Havana, triggering a rush of 10,800 dissidents to the tiny embassy compound and a campaign by Miami exiles to gain their release.


April 21 _ Fishing boats Blanchie III and Dos Hermanos bring 40 refugees from Cuba's port of Mariel to Key West, launching freedom sealift.

April 23 _ State Department says Carter administration is 'sympathetic, but cannot condone' sealift and warns skippers they face felony charges and stiff fines.

April 28 _ Sealift claims first victims. Orlando, Fla., exiles Edward Rogue, 45, and Adolfo Martinez, 65, drown when their boat capsizes en route to Key West. Gov. Bob Graham orders first contingent of National Guard to Key West and U.S. Immigration officials confirm Fidel Castro is using sealift to 'clean our his jails.'


May 3 _ First planeload of sealift refugees are flown to Florida Panhandle 'tent city' near Eglin Air Force Base.

May 5 _ President Carter says U.S. will 'provide an open heart and open arms' to sealift refugees. Authorities stop fining sealift captains.

May 6 _ More Guardsmen sent to Key West and Carter declares refugee emergency, releases $10 million in federal aid and puts Federal Emergency Management Agency in charge of refugee processing.

May 7 _ First group of sealift refugees arrive at Ft. Chaffee, Ark.

May 14 _ President Carter orders a halt to sealift and challenges Cuban President Fidel Castro to negotiate a government-operated refugee air or sealift. Coast Guard beefs up patrols to blockade Florida Straits.

May 20 _ Castro government announces Carter's proposal for U.S. to operate an orderly refugee evacuation 'is not probable.'

June 3 _ The 118-foot freighter Red Diamond V, the largest vessel to participate in the sealift, arrives with a record 850 refugees and officials announce that as of noon, 100,083 refugees had been sealifted to Key West.

June 15 _ Nearly 120,000 refugees have crossed the Florida Straits to Key West, but Coast Guard blockade deflates sealift. The blockade, however, is only partially effective and the sealift continues at the rate of about a dozen boats a week.


July 12 _ Federal judge signs order in suit filed by 1,000 commercial fishermen releasing their government-impounded boats.

July 25 _ Homeless refugees sheltered in Miami's Orange Bowl moved to rundown hotels and a 'tent city' built under an expressway in the Miami's 'Little Havana' neighborhood.

Aug. 10 _ Refugee hijacks an Air Florida jet to Havana, triggering a wave of 10 skyjackings by disgruntled refugees. Federal Aviation Administration subsequently tightens airport security and Castro later announces air pirates face 'harsh punishment' in Cuba or return to the U.S. to face prosecution.

Sept. 2 _ Miami area public schools open and 10,700 children of sealift refugees flood already-crowded classrooms, prompting some protests by angry parents.

Sept. 17 _ Miami Police reveal statistics showing crime has jumped 775 percent with the sharpest rise following the influx of Cuban sealift refugees to Miami.

Sept. 23 _ Carter administration says it will close all refugee encampments around the nation and transfer refugees with family ties in the U.S. to Ft. Chaffee, Ark. and remaining refugees and new arrivals to Ft. Allen in Puerto Rico.

Sept. 26 _ Castro government orders all sealift boats to leave Mariel and return to the U. S. empty, ending sealift that brought 125,225 refugees from Cuba to Key West.


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