Just before dawn – Checkpoint Charlie Berlin, 1962. Several East Berliners make it over the wall to freedom, and hurry to enter the American sector. A group of passersby spot them and wave them forward, offering assistance. Nearby, U.S. military guards notice the disturbance, rush to the scene, and quickly assess the situation. Making a quick decision, they push the refugees toward the wall, telling them to go back. The refugees plead with the guards, asking them to just let them go. One refugee breaks down, it is his fifth attempt to escape from communism. The guards ignore their pleas, and force the refugees back over the wall into communist East Berlin where an unknown fate awaits them.
Pure fiction of course; here’s a modern version of the story from the Miami Herald:
The scene played out as it has so many times before: Cubans on a flimsy inflatable raft begged Carnival Cruise Line officials not to interrupt their journey to ”freedom” while passengers tossed them water bottles and shot video.
Adlin Sukhwani, of Kendall, was on the last leg of a seven-day cruise, about 45 miles from Key West, when she spotted the small raft on Saturday and her husband started videotaping the 10 men — an effort to get their faces splashed in the news media and help their families identify them.
Dozens of tourists leaned on the verandas aboard Carnival’s Valor to spot the men traveling on what appeared to be an inflatable raft of blue rubber, ropes and wood, she said. ”Americans, Cubans, Colombians, we were all trying to help them, and throw them bottles of water,” Sukhwani said.
The tourists and the men shouted back and forth in Spanish. When one of the tourists asked what they needed, the men responded: “Please tell them to keep on going. Don’t stop!”
Under the U.S. wet foot/dry foot policy, Cubans intercepted at sea are generally sent back to the communist island, while those who make it to American soil are usually allowed to stay.
”It was a very emotional moment for all of us,” said Sukhwani, of Cuban and Indian descent. “We felt powerless.”
Following U.S. Coast Guard procedure, the cruise ship intercepted the raft about 45 miles off Key West, said a Carnival spokesman.
Before the cruise ship crew took the men aboard, ”one of the Cuban men said with despair he had risked his life and this was his fifth time being returned,” Sukhwani said.
The men said they were from El Cotorro, a town on the outskirts of Havana.
Sukhwani’s husband, Dhiraj Sukhwani, filmed the moments before the crew took the men aboard, hoping close-ups of the men’s faces will help family in South Florida identify the men, who appeared to be in their 20s and 30s.
Carnival later turned the men over to the U.S. Coast Guard. The tourists arrived in Miami on Sunday.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents are questioning the men and processing their return to Cuba, a Coast Guard spokesman said.
When did Carnival Cruises become castro’s gatekeeper?
Update: (Val) Dont get stuck on stupid obsession here, folks. “Maritime law” notwithstanding, the balseros requested they be left alone in order to possibly reach the freedom of US shores. They risked their lives for it and now that they have been “saved” by Carnival Cruise Lines, they’ll be repatriated back to their island prison. Focus on the reality of their situation: their oppressed lives, the absurd wet foot/dry foot policy, their probable encarceration at being repatriated, the absolute dismal and dire circumstances they must have lived under to risk it all to change. That’s the real focus here, and not what some petty racist leftist says about Cuban-Americans on some whiny little blog that just cant wait to move to Colorado. Do something constructive with your time instead.