To Our Readers: Sep. 5, 1994

Two weeks ago, when the first signs of a new Cuban exodus began appearing, TIME layout artist Edel Rodriguez decided to review the magazine's 1980 coverage of the Mariel boatlift. He expected some of the images to look familiar. But he was stunned to discover an account by correspondent Richard Woodbury of the voyage of the shrimper Nature Boy from Mariel to Florida. "I said, 'My God!' " Rodriguez recalls. " 'That was my boat!' "

For Bill Clinton, "Mariel" is shorthand for all that must be avoided this time around: another 125,000 new Florida residents courtesy of Fidel Castro. Rodriguez's...