The Caribbean Sea Migration Collection is generously included within the Digital Library of the Caribbean with permission from the Duke University Libraries Digital Collections.  This collection contains metadata for the items and includes embedded imagery from the original collection.  Please visit the original collection at

See all Duke University Library contributions to the Digital Library of the Caribbean.

About the Caribbean Sea Migration Collection

Between 1982 and 2012, the United States Coast Guard interdicted 222,315 persons on the Caribbean Sea or the adjacent Florida Straits and Mona Passage. This number includes 69,355 Cubans; 36,536 Dominicans and 116,424 Haitians.1 Tens of thousands more reached Florida or Puerto Rico without being intercepted. Add to that the tens of thousands who died en route.

Since the early 1960s these sea farers have been setting out in a slow trickle that sometimes becomes a surging wave when political conditions in their home countries grow violent or unusually unstable. They travel in boats that are dangerously overloaded, poorly equipped and unfit for travel on the high seas.

When large numbers of Cubans were permitted by their government to set out in 1965 and 1980, they were brought directly to the United States. Following that, in the 1990s, tens of thousands of Haitians and Cubans were detained in three separate incidents at the United States Naval Station, Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

The Caribbean Sea Migration Collection documents the history of these mariners. The David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library wishes to thank the individuals who have donated materials to the Collection including Holly Ackerman, Stephen Brown, Dr. Elizabeth Campisi, Siro del Castillo, Guarioné Díaz, Mariela Ferrer Jewett, and Lourdes Zayas-Bazán.

Preferred Citation

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