In 1994, 35,000 Cubans jumped in rafts and floated for Miami. This was called ‘The Balsero Crisis’. These were people seeking a better life, and willing to risk everything for it. The Coast Guard picked up most of them and took them Guantanamo. When Guantanamo filled up, we built camps on Empire Range Complex next to Rodman Naval Base in Panama. There were four camps. Each held 1500 Cuban refugees. Camp Five was more of a jail where trouble makers were sent. This was called Operation Safe Haven. We guarded the fence line. Every 20-30 meters along the perimeter, sat two soldiers, with shotguns and riot batons, watching Cuban refugees watch them.
This went on for months.
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