Summary

Finding Manana is a multilayered memoir that documents a pivotal moment in U.S.-Cuban relations while telling the story of an immigrant's private reckoning with the life she abruptly left behind. In May of 1980, sixteen-year-old Mirta Ojito was sitting down to lunch when a knock on the door brought the call that her family had been waiting for since the early 1960s: a chance to leave Castro's Cuba for the United States. Minutes later, she and her family were escorted by two policemen away from their lifelong home, never to return. At Mariel harbor they boarded a boat named Manana and sailed to Key West, joining the more than 125,000 other Cubans who fled to the United States in the five-month-long mass exodus that came to be known as the Mariel boatlift." "Twenty-five years later, Ojito sheds new light on this widely publicized flight that dominated American politics for almost a year and changed the Cuban exile community forever. In Finding Manana, she unearths the secrets behind how Mariel came to be while filling out the shaded contours of her own life. Now a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter, Ojito tracks down the individuals in Cuba and in the United States - long forgotten by history - whose singular actions set forth the events that had such a cataclysmic impact on her life and the lives of thousands on both sides of the Florida straits."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved


Finding Ma anais a vibrant, moving memoir of one family's life in Cuba and their wrenching departure. Mirta Ojito was born in Havana and raised there until the unprecedented events of the Mariel boatlift brought her to Miami, one teenager among more than a hundred thousand fellow refugees. Now a reporter for The New York Times, Ojito goes back to reckon with her past and to find the people who set this exodus in motion and brought her to her new home. She tells their stories and hers in superb and poignant detail-chronicling both individual lives and a major historical event.

Growing up, Ojito was eager to excel and fit in, but her parents'-and eventually her own-incomplete devotion to the revolution held her back. As a schoolgirl, she yearned to join Castro's Young Pioneers, but as a teenager in the 1970s, when she understood the darker side of the Cuban revolution and learned more about life in el norte from relatives living abroad, she began to wonder if she and her parents would be safer and happier elsewhere. By the time Castro announced that he was opening Cuba's borders for those who wanted to leave, she was ready to go; her parents were more than ready: They had been waiting for this opportunity since they married, twenty years before.

Finding Ma anagives us Ojito's own story, with all of the determination and intelligence-and the will to confront darkness-that carried her through the boatlift and made her a prizewinning journalist. Putting her reporting skills to work on the events closest to her heart, she finds the boatlift's key players twenty-five years later, from the exiles who negotiated with Castro to the Vietnam vet on whose boat, Ma ana, she finally crossed the treacherous Florida Strait. Finding Ma anais the engrossing and enduring story of a family caught in the midst of the tumultuous politics of the twentieth century.

On the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Mariel boatlift, a Pulitzer Prize winner's extraordinary memoir of her childhood in Cuba and her historic journey to America