The idea was
simple: take a 1959 Buick, replace the wheels with a
propeller, seal it up, fill the fenders with foam, add a steel
bow — then launch it from Cuba, navigating the sea to Florida.
Luis Grass Rodriguez, the main engineer and pilot, took
along his wife, four-year-old son, and two other families in
that green Buick. And he would have succeeded, too, if it
weren't for the U.S. Coast Guard.
The Coast Guard stopped them ten miles off of Marathon,
Florida. In early reports, the Coast Guard gave the excuse
that the vehicle wasn't seaworthy. But when they tried to sink
it, they had to ask the makeshift boat's designers for help;
it was extremely hard to scuttle.
The U.S. usually allows Cubans fleeing their country to
stay — but only if they make it to U.S. soil. So the Coast
Guard patrols the waters, making sure few reach land. This
collaboration with totalitarian Cuba puzzles many Americans.
And even the staunchest anti-immigrant Americans were a bit
shocked at how quickly eight of the eleven autonauts were
returned to Cuba.
It's sad: the only reason Luis Grass and his family were
sent to Guantanamo rather than Cuba proper was because the
last time he tried this he started a legal process of gaining
a legit emigre status.
The American government was not effectively moved by the
genius and perseverance of these Cubans. Only paperwork
Well, I'm more impressed by ingenuity and courage. Aren't
This is Common Sense. I'm Paul Jacob.
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