I mentioned the Mariel boatlift in last week’s post on Margaux Hemingway. It was the mass emigration of 125,000 Cubans to Florida in 1980 (from April to October). All the boats leaving Cuba sailed from the port of Mariel — the port closest to the United States.
So far I’ve discovered two Cuban refugee babies who were given names related to the event. The first was a baby girl named Reina Mariela:
A steady stream of refugee boats returning from the Cuban port of Mariel swelled the 35-day total past 71,000 Friday, including the youngest refugee, Reina Mariela Miranda. She was born about eight hours before the 80-foot “Reef Queen,” packed with 308 refugees, docked here early Friday, said Dr. Armando Cruz. The baby’s name means Queen Mariel.
The second was a baby boy named Valiant:
During the 1980 Mariel Boatlift, James M. Loy commanded the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Valiant and rescued a Cuban woman clinging to a sinking piece of Styrofoam. She soon gave birth on the ship’s deck and was evacuated to a hospital. Days later, he went to see her at the hospital. She had named the baby Valiant.
- Sewell, Dan. “Cuban refugees now top 70,000.” Telegraph [Nashua, NH] 24 May 1980: 28.
- Davidson, Joe. “Loy Departs With Praise And ‘Priceless Moments’.” Washington Post 27 Feb. 2005.
- Mariel boatlift – Wikipedia
Image by Raymond L. Blazevic under CC BY 2.0.