Fat Albert is a constant presence in the skies over the Lower Keys, supposedly keeping an eye out for unauthorized traffic, boats smuggling Cubans or planes bringing drugs. Or vice versa, because smugglers are cunning devils.
Mind you, people have lived by smuggling for the longest time in the Keys. During the unpleasantness with the Northern States,Confederates ran the Union blockade even though Key West, a critical port, was kept in the Union by the garrison if not by the local populace. Then there were all the revolutions going on in Cuba that resulted in a lively trade across the Straits of Florida.
Prohibition was a blessing for the Keys as there was much alcohol to be smuggled. This weekend Key West attracts visitors with Captain Tony days and one of Tarracino's accomplishments in a long and varied life was a close shave with gun smuggling, which by his own account didn't quite come off.
These days smugglers, paid by wealthy Cubans in Miami (the Miami Mafia, the Cuban government calls them) bring relatives over in fast boats which is illegal all round. Cubans that make it across under their own steam, not smuggled, get to stay if they set foot inn the US, and their reward under this absurd "dry foot" policy is $8,000 to help them settle inn the US. Haitians need not apply as they are black and not fleeing communism.
For such calm waters inside the reef, this can be a wild and crazy place, out on the water.
The whole Cuban embargo thing is daft, rather like getting in the middle of a family spat. Fidel Castro married Mirta Diaz Balart in 1948, had a son with her and later got divorced. It may come as a surprise but her family were supporters of the Cuban president Castro ousted and over they came to Miami where they got elected to Congress and have been leading lights in the virulent exile community. Hence the continued and pointless embargo and the prolongation of the Castro government who blames all bad things on the US.
For all that the surface is placid inside the reef these can be wild and wooly waters. I like my ocean nice and flat and calm, but that's easy for me to say as I am not really the gun smuggling, dope running type.
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad