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In 1980, the Cuban government opened its doors, allowing citizens to leave the country in what would become a mass exodus. The country's economy had suffered a serious downturn, and political unrest and mass incarceration was making aspects of governance untenable.
The first wave of emigrants came when the Peruvian embassy allowed Cubans to exit under its banner.
That's when Pedro Martinez and his friend decided to make the journey to Havana, and attempt to leave the country. Unfortunately, things got very complicated.
In this edition of StoryCorps Tampa Bay, Pedro's daughters Natalia and Elvia ask him about his decision to leave the country, and the troubles he encountered along the way.
Monday at 8:35 a.m. during Morning Edition and 5:44 p.m. during All Things Considered on WUSF 89.7.
For more information
StoryCorps is one of the largest oral history projects of its kind. Since 2003, StoryCorps has collected and archived more than 50,000 interviews from more than 80,000 participants, and this past January StoryCorps spent a month in St. Petersburg recording the stories from your Tampa Bay friends and neighbors. Please visit: http://storycorps.org/