In 2005 I posted the piece below, titled Three Strikes and You’re Out or Third Time’s the Charm?
In either case, please note which direction they’re traveling every time.
Back in February of last year I posted Love that Detroit Iron! which I will repost here in its entirety:
You have to give them an “A” for effort, or at least persistence. What a way to reimport the classics!
Marciel Basanta Lopez and Luis Gras Rodriguez have again attempted to sail from Cuba to Florida, but once again have unfortunately been intercepted by the Coast Guard short of their goal. Back in July they made the journey in a specially modified 1951 Chevy pickup.
Yes, really. Here’s a picture of it:
Well, they just nabbed them (and eight of their friends and relatives) trying again. This time in a specially modified 1959 Buick!
They must have a lot of that funky green paint.
What’s next? A 1955 Ford?
Well, they must’ve run out of green paint, and instead of a ’55 Ford, they used a ’48 Mercury:
Migrants’ ‘taxicab’ boat stopped at sea (Link broken)
The Coast Guard halted a homemade craft about 25 miles off the Keys that looked like a taxi. The boat was loaded with Cuban migrants.
BY JENNIFER BABSON
KEY WEST – A blue, 1948 Mercury automobile loaded with Cuban migrants made it within 25 miles of the Keys late Tuesday before being stopped by the U.S. Coast Guard.
The unusual, homemade ‘boat’ — described by federal officials as possibly a ‘taxicab’ and sporting a white top — was stopped south of Summerland Key in the Lower Keys. It was the third time in nearly two years that Cuban migrants have tried to make it to the United States using trucks or cars specially rigged to operate as boats.
One of the men aboard the Mercury tried to make the voyage in February 2004 in a Buick but was sent back to Cuba, according to Luis Grass — the brainchild behind similar attempts who made his way to Miami this year.
I wonder what Luis “drove” on his successful attempt?
BOARDING THE CRAFT
Television footage from NBC 6 in Miami on Tuesday night showed Coast Guard officers boarding the vehicle, which appeared to have been modified with a boat prow in front.
As many as 12 Cubans voluntarily left the car late Tuesday and moved onto a Coast Guard cutter, according to numerous federal sources. It was not immediately known if they would be returned to Cuba.
The interdiction unfolded just before dusk Tuesday.
“A U.S. Customs and Border Protection aircraft detected it just before 8 p.m.,” said customs spokesman Zachary Mann. “According to our guys, it looked like a floating taxi.”
Citing U.S. policy, Coast Guard spokeswoman Sandra Bartlett said she could not immediately comment on the incident or whether the migrants would be returned to Cuba, a process that could take several days.
Under the U.S. wet-foot, dry-foot immigration policy, Cubans who reach U.S. soil are almost always allowed to remain in the country, while those caught offshore are generally returned to Cuba unless they can convince a U.S. immigration officer they have a ‘credible fear’ of persecution if returned to the island.
‘DRIVING’ THE WAY
It was the latest in a series of recent attempts by Cubans to try to ‘drive’ their way to the Keys.
In July 2003, a group of Cuban migrants — dubbed “truckonauts” and heralded for their ingenuity — attempted to flee Cuba in a retrofitted, green 1951 Chevy truck. The group was stopped off Islamorada — their truck-boat floating on a pontoon bed and powered by propellers that had been attached to the vehicle’s drive shaft.
The vessel was sunk at sea as a hazard to navigation.
Returned to Cuba, several of the Cubans tried again in February 2004 using a similarly rigged 1959 Buick sedan. At least some of those who attempted that voyage, however, were taken to Guantánamo Bay in Cuba for resettlement in a third country.
Among that group was Grass, an enterprising mechanic credited with converting the classic vehicles into seaworthy escape vessels. Grass, his wife and young son were among 20 Cuban migrants resettled in Costa Rica last November.
Grass said late Tuesday that one of his pals — who may have subsequently received a U.S. visa after failing last year to reach Florida by Buick — made Tuesday’s voyage with his two sons and his wife, who was having difficulty leaving Cuba because she is a doctor.
“He finally made a taxi from Havana to Miami,” chuckled Grass, who told The Herald he spoke with the man’s friends in Havana late Tuesday.
The group, he said, was from San Miguel Del Padron in Havana.
Grass and his family finally made it to the United States in March after crossing the Mexican border and requesting political asylum.
You have to admire their ingenuity and doggedness.
Bill Whittle noted once that if your map of idealism matches up with reality, you take note of which way the rafts are traveling when determining whether capitalism or communism works better. I can’t remember the last time anyone risked their lives getting on a raft made of an antique car, much less flotsam and jetsam, and set sail for Havana to join the People’s Paradise of Cuba.
How do you go about having a productive debate with people disconnected from reality? How do you reason with people who’ve abandoned the practice? How do you even discuss first principles with people who think words mean only what they want them to mean, and can change their definition at any time? For whom “winning” is the only priority, and are unparalleled masters at psychological projection?