Cuba: The Freedom Flood

When Fidel Castro started promoting an airlift to evacuate Cubans to Miami last October, Washington figured that as many as 75,000 refugees might take him up on it. Fidel talked in terms of 100,000, then later 150,000. Both sides underestimated the Cubans' desire to flee the bleak little Communist isle. Last week Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Robert M. Sayre told Congress that Cuban refugees in the U.S. have applied for the evacuation of no fewer than 900,000 relatives—fully one-seventh of Cuba's population.

Since the twice-a-day flights began between Miami and Cuba's Varadero last December, more than 14,000 refugees have left,...

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