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SCOTT JAGOW: Cuba’s government says Fidel Castro is in stable condition this morning, but many Cuban-Americans believe he’s on his death bed and, quick frankly, they’re ready to celebrate. But if Castro dies, there could be another exodus of Cubans to Miami. The question is: can the city handle it? From the Americas Desk at WLRN, Dan Grech reports.
DAN GRECH: During the 1980 Mariel Boatlift 125,000 Cubans landed in Miami. They were given shelter, food and medical care at a cost of $100 million to the local and state governments.
DePaul University historian Felix Masud-Piloto estimates one to two million people living in Cuba now would like to come to Miami. And he says history shows these newcomers would be a good investment.
FELIX MASUD-PILOTO: “The Mariel Boatlift was quite positive to Miami. What the country gave out at that moment in time to bring them in and feed them for the time they were in retention paid for itself.”
Marielitos, as they are called, now earn on average above $30,000 — $10,000 more than the average Miami resident.
In 1994, 50,000 refugees fled Cuba on rafts. Most quickly became part of Miami’s economic landscape. Experts believe any new wave would be equally assimilated.
In Miami, I’m Dan Grech for Marketplace.
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