Guide to the Caribbean Sea Migration Collection, 1959-2014


Materials from (or related to) the migration by sea of Cubans, Dominicans, and Haitians, including the refugee camp for Cuban and Haitian rafters that existed in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, largely dating from 1991-1996. Collection includes camp newspapers and artwork created by refugees held at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba; materials from the U.S. Coast Guard and other military sources, such as newspapers written in Haitian Creole, photocopies of camp rules and refugee intake procedures, and a transcript from an introductory video shown to refugees arriving at the camps; magazines and media coverage of refugee situations, including some material on Elián González; photographs and slides of refugees, Coast Guard personnel, and conditions in the camps in Cuba. Refugees arriving in Miami are included as are photographs of the work of the Guantanámo Refugee Assistance and Services Program in Miami and in the camps in Guantánamo Bay.

Collection Details

Collection Number
Caribbean Sea Migration collection
3 Linear Feet, 600 Items
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Material in English, Haitian Creole, Spanish

Collection Overview

Materials include newspapers, artwork, clippings, U.S. military publications aimed at camp residents, camp notes, reports, and photographs from a variety of sources. Newspapers are one of the largest formats within the collection, which includes the complete run of éxodo, a newspaper with color issues printed from November 1994-September 1995 from Camps Kilo and Charlie Village in the Guantánamo Bay camps; issues of El Bravo, El Balsero, and El Futuro from 1994-1995; Sa K'pase, N'ap Boule, and Qué Pasa, newspapers printed by the U.S. military in Creole and Spanish and designed for Haitian and Cuban refugees at the camps; as well as newspaper clippings and some magazine issues covering the refugee crisis of 1994-1995 and the plight of Caribbean refugees in general.

Photographs are another significant component of the collection. U.S. Coast Guard photographs and slides of rafters and rescuers date from 1980 to the 1990s or 2000s, and are accompanied by photocopies from the U.S. Coast Guard's Historian Office detailing refugees assistance as early as 1959. The collection also includes unsorted and largely unlabeled photographs from the camps; those that are labeled date from 1994.

Other materials in the collection include some refugee artwork, publications about Cuba, a folder of Cuba information including some materials on Elián González, and other ephemera mentioning Cuban refugees. In addition, 8 CDs with photographs and other materials have been transferred to Duke's ERM server and are in the custody of the Electronic Records archivist.

More Biographical / Historical Info

Using These Materials

A majority of collections are stored off site and must be requested at least 2 full business days in advance for retrieval. Contact Rubenstein Library staff before visiting. Read More »

warning Access to the Collection

Collection is open for research.

Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection.

All or portions of this collection may be housed off-site in Duke University's Library Service Center. The library may require up to 48 hours to retrieve these materials for research use.

Please contact Research Services staff before visiting the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library to use this collection.

warning Use & Permissions

The copyright interests in this collection have not been transferred to Duke University. For more information, consult the copyright section of the Regulations and Procedures of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

More copyright and citation information

How to Cite

[Identification of item], Caribbean Sea Migration Collection, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.

Contents of the Collection

El Éxodo, Editions 1-25, November 1994-September 1995

Cuban newspaper from Guantánamo camps. Donated by Mariela Ferrer Jewett.

Box 1
Qué Pasa newspaper, Cuban, from Guantánamo Camps, 9 editions, 1995

Includes issues 44a, 45a, 46a, 65a, 68a, 80a, 86a, and 119. This is a newspaper in Spanish and English published by the U.S. military for circulation to Cubans detained at Guantánamo, 1994-1995. Donated by Holly Ackerman, Elizabeth Campisi, and Mariela Ferrer Jewett.

Box 2
Cuban camp, Guantánamo, refugee artwork, 1994-1996 and undated

One oversize poster from the Dominican Republic has been removed to an oversize folder.

Postcard from Cuban Camp at Guantánamo, 1994
Box 2
9-year-old child's drawing by Yainy Guillama Gutierrez, Camp Bravo-4, undated
Box 2
5 pages of a photocopied collage made by Oscar Viqueira Canales, Camp Kilo-20, 1995
Box 2
Colored pencil drawing of skeletal rafter at sea being blown by Fidel with razor wire and Uncle Sam. Unsigned and undated.
Box 2
Photocopy of cartoon by W. Kelley Lucas, 1996
Box 2
Original drawing of rafter logo by Ramón Móntalbon, undated
Box 2
Original black-and-white pen and ink drawing by Juan Avilés Castaigne (PoLO) showing Bill Clinton as a spider with rafters caught in net, dated March 14, 1995.
Box 2
Newspaper clippings about the Cuban rafters, 1994-1996

Includes special section of El Nuevo Herald, Odisea por la libertad.

Box 2
El Futuro newspapers, Cuban, from Guantánamo Camps, 1995 Jul-Aug

Contains issues 11 and 13. This is a camp newspaper prepared by Cuban rafters detained at Guantánamo. Donated by Elizabeth Campisi.

Box 2
El Bravo newspaper, Cuban, from Guantánamo Camps, 1995

There are two complete sets of the total run (5 editions) of this paper prepared by Cuban rafters in Camp Bravo at Guantánamo, as well as 1 sheet of handwritten letterhead paper; 1 sheet of paper with Christmas Greetings; and 1 sheet of paper with the editorial staff of El Bravo. Donated by Mariela Ferrer Jewett.

Box 2
N'ap Boule newspapers, Haitian camps, Guantánamo, 1992

Contains issues 26, 27, 29, 30. This newspaper began after Sa K'pase ended. Written in Kreyòl with English translation.

Box 2
Sa K'pase newspapers, Haitian camps, Guantánamo, 1992 Jan-Mar

Contains issues 1-15, 17, 19-22, 24, 26-28, 30, 31, 33, 34, 35, 37, 38, 39, 41, 42, 44, 53-56. This is a camp newspaper produced for Haitians detained at Guantánamo. It was published by the U.S. Army Military Information Support Team (MIST) led by Dr. Stephen Brown, a military intelligence analyst specializing in Haiti. It is written in Kreyòl with some editions containing an insert in English giving English translation of the Kreyòl articles. Donated by Stephen Brown.

Box 2
Camp notes, reports on conditions and activities, and drafts for Sa K'Pase, Haitian camps, Guantánamo, 1992 and undated

Donated by Stephen Brown, U.S. Army, who was editor of Sa K'pase.

Box 2
USCG Historian's Office, photograph from Camarioca Boatlift, Cuban, 1965
Box 3
USCG Historian's Office, photographs from Mariel Boatlift, Cuban, 1980
Box 3
Various publications on Mariel Boatlift, Cuban, 1980-2005

Tercer Aniversario/Puente Mariel-Key West, 1983; Mariel Injustice, 1987; Mariel, 2003; Mariel 25 Years Later, 2005.

Box 3
Cuban camp lists of detainees from Guantánamo, 1994-1995
Box 3
Cuban ephemera, bumper stickers, postcards, undated
Box 3
Cuban information folder on Elián González and other Cuban refugees
Box 3
Cuban camp, Guantánamo, Photographs, 1994-1995
Box 3
2 art catalogs from exhibits in Miami of art made by Cuban rafters in Guantánamo, 1995
Box 3
Idealmagazine, 1994-1995

Contains issues 263, 265, 266, 267, and 269.

Box 3
Mariel Ferrer Jewett, correspondence related to Cuban rafters, 1996
Box 3
Miscellaneous newspapers, Cuban camps, Guantánamo, 1994-1995
Box 3
Publications regarding Cuba, 1965-2003
Box 3
USCG 7th District, Miami, slides of Cuban rafters, 1990s
Box 3
Elian González miscellaneous materials, Cuban
Box 3
Cayman Islands Camp for Cuban Rafters, 1994-1995
Box 3A
USCG Historian's Office, Photocopies of USCG Refugee Assistance Logs, Cuban and Haitian, 1959-1967
Box 3A
Photographs by Gary Monroe of Krome Ave. Immigration Detention Center Camp for Haitians, 1983
Box 3A
USCG photographs of Haitians at sea, 1981
Box 3A
USCG Photos of Haitians, 1980-1981 and undated
Box 3A
Haitian Refugee ingest and repatriation materials, 1991-1992

Donated by Stephen Brown, U.S. Army.

Box 3A
Photographs of Haitians attempting exit by sea from Haiti, 2010
Box 3A
USCG Puerto Rico Sector, Photographs of Dominicans at sea and ephemera from D.R./U.S. government public relations campaign to stop sea exits, dates unknown
Box 3A
Photographs of monuments and protest movements related to sea migration

Includes monuments in Lampedusa, Italy, and Miami, Florida.

Box 3A
Photo album of Cuban rafters in Guantánamo and South Florida, 1994-1996

Donated by Mariela Ferrer Jewett.

Box 4
Photos and negatives of Cuban rafters in Guantánamo and South Florida, 1994-1996

Donated by Mariela Ferrer Jewett.

Box 4
Photo album of Cubans in Guantánamo, Florida, Venezuela and Haitians in Bahamas

Donated by Lourdes Zayas-Bazán.

Box 4
Miscellaneous publications on Haitian sea migration, 1995-2003
(2 folders)

Includes Operation Uphold Democracy oral history transcripts and reports; a report from Florida Rural Legal Services about Haitian children repatriation; and a Miami Herald publication on Haitian children.

Box 5
Box 5
"McCalla II: Haitians Disturbance: Operation Take Charge," DVD
Box 5
"General Wells..." DVD
Box 5
Oversize-folder 1
"El Mar," artist book by Steve Daiber. Published by Red Trillium Press (Florence), 2014
Box 6

Historical Note

Materials in this collection largely deal with the years 1991-1996 as the U.S. coped with large numbers of Haitian and Cuban rafters who were held in Guantánamo Bay refugee camps. Beginning in 1991, the U.S. naval base was designated as a receiving point for Haitian migrants who had been intercepted by the U.S. Coast Guard in the Caribbean Sea. Guantánamo Bay was outfitted with semi-permanent camps for the refugees while they waited for a decision from U.S. Immigration on whether they would be returned to Haiti or allowed to enter the United States. This program was expanded in 1994, when Cuban president Fidel Castro retired his Frontier Guards, resulting in a wave of Cuban rafters who were also intercepted by the Coast Guard and brought to Guantaánamo Bay. Between 1994 and 1996 about 50,000 people lived in the Guantánamo Bay camps. Cuban refugees in the camps were granted admission to the United States in 1995-1996, while most Haitian refugees were eventually returned to Haiti.

Click to find related materials at Duke University Libraries.


The Caribbean Sea Migration Collection was received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library as a gift beginning in 2009. The 2010-0041 accession was a gift from Mariela Ferrer Jewett. Other portions of the collection were gifts from Holly Ackerman, Lourdes Zayas-Bazán, the Cuban American National Council, Elizabeth Campisi, the Miami Medical Team, and Stephen Brown.

Processing Information

Processed by Holly Ackerman, December 2010

Encoded by Meghan Lyon, December 2010

Materials may not have been ordered and described beyond their original condition.

Accession(s) described in this finding aid: 2009-0280, 2010-0041