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More People Are Fleeing Cuba Now Than During 1980 and 1994 Crises

  • Exodus this year already tops combined Mariel-Balsero outflow
  • Unrest may spread as fuel depot fire exacerbates energy crunch
Customers wait to purchase drinks in Havana. Cuba saw unprecedented street protests over shortages of basic goods in July 2021.
Customers wait to purchase drinks in Havana. Cuba saw unprecedented street protests over shortages of basic goods in July 2021.Photographer: Natalia Favre/Bloomberg
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Cuba is seeing its biggest exodus to the US in decades following a series of economic body blows that have worsened shortages and power blackouts. 

Border officials have encountered nearly 178,000 people fleeing the communist-run Caribbean nation of 11 million so far this fiscal year, according to US government data through July. Most are coming by land, after leaving the island for other Latin American nations that don’t require visas.