mounted machine guns pointed firmly upon them pulled them to a stop.
“Oh, hello senor presidente,” the captain of the gunboat called out to #3. “How are you doing?”
“We are doing very well, thank you,” #3 answered, gun in plain sight. “We are going further north for el marlin.”
“Well then, have good luck,” the gunboat captain answered, and Rey realized that he alone had been in the dark as to the sport of that day. The gunboat turned off, and Rey and his party continued north where they were met by waiting U.S. Coast Guard boats that escorted them to Miami where an enormous demonstration and celebration by Miami Cubans-americans was underway on the docks. Rey realized he might have been in a minority in the Carribrean as to what had been planned that day. #3 had been “liberated” from Cuba. To the Miami community and to the incumbent administration this was a diplomatic coup of the highest order. #3 was a “hero” in the war against Castro and Communism. And Rey was a hero for having driven the boat that had liberated him.
The next two months were nonstop parties in the Cuban community. They would give Rey anything he wanted. Wine, women, meringue. Rey was offered a job, a house, a new life.
But by the end of two months, Rey decided he didn’t want it. His old life was back in Cuba, and it wasn’t, for him, that bad. He was used to the pace, and he had family there, and if he returned with the boat, perhaps they would let him keep his old job, or perhaps one even better. After all, he had been forced at gunpoint. And, after all, who could be more trusted, after returning, than Rey?
The Miami Cubans tried to dissuade him, but Rey was resolute. He would return. Putting the best face on the situation, they continued to honor Rey for the role he had played, and asked him what they could do for him. Rey thought for a moment and then answered, “give me cigarettes.” So they filled his boat with crate upon crate of american cigarettes, and Rey reved up his engines again and headed south across the Gulf Stream.
All went well until he reached the international border where he was met by Cuban gunboats with deck mounted machine guns, again pointed at him.
“What are you doing?”, they asked.
“I’m coming back”
The captain and the crew looked at one another in disbelief. This was a situation which they had never faced before. There were no practiced rules and regulations to be followed. No one had ever before come back.
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