Cuban Refugee - Haiti Observer Blog

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Old Cuban Consulate, Villa Paula in Little Haiti

The United States and Cuba are moving toward normalization of relations for the first time in more than fifty years. They are re-opening their diplomatic ties, and their embassies have reopened on Monday, July 20, for the first time in 54 years. Miami was once a hotbed of diplomacy with Havana, even today, Miami-Dade County is home to almost a million Cubans, the largest concentration in the country and second only to Havana in the world. Now that Cuba has an embassy again in Washington, D.C., consulates would be coming to serve its people, most of whom live in Florida. But don't expect an old lovely building known as 'Villa Paula', a vintage platform in the Cuba-U.S relation, will have any role in it. It is unlikely ever to return to its use as a Cuban consulate.

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Operation Sea Signal saved Haitian/Cuban Refugees

Around the time Haitian President Aristide returned to Haiti from exile in the U.S. violent opposition forces forced Haitians to flee the country to sanctuary in the U.S. To deal with the migration, the U.S. formed Operation Sea Signal, using its U.S. Coast Guard and Navy units to rescue migrants bobbing in the ocean and transport them to Guantanamo Bay Naval Station.

Army Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Poll, a young but already seasoned soldier, worked with the Joint Task Force 160 (JTF), responsible for the welfare of over 50,000 migrants. The resettlement camp operated from August 1994 up until February 1996.

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