Two for Tuesday: The Southernmost Point

90 Miles to Cuba; Southernmost Point, Continental U.S., Key West, FL.

Amongst tourists flocking from much more than 90 miles away, I visited the Southernmost Point of the U.S. in Key West this past winter. I thought like a tourist—I posed for a picture and maybe even took a selfie in front of the anchored, concrete, colorful buoy. For an American citizen, the buoy is a Facebook-upload; for Cubans, the 90-mile distance marked by the buoy encourages the possibility of a fresh start in America.

Outside Key West’s Mel Fisher Maritime Museum sits a chug that carried 23 men and one woman to freedom from Cuba via the Straits of Florida. The small boat was rusted, damaged, and worn. Amidst the boat’s damages, the exterior very clearly reads “Mariana.”

Monday, August 3, 2015 at 4 a.m. marks twenty-four Cubans successfully enduring a 90-mile voyage to the U.S. aboard Mariana.

The twenty-four Cubans travelled, by boat, the distance from Chicago’s Loop to Rockford, IL or even to South Bend, IN. How, then, is it possible that Cuba and the southernmost point of the U.S. are so close in proximity yet so different in terms of ideals, ways of thinking, and even culture? How is it possible that the divide between the two is so large yet the physical divide is only 90 miles?

I look forward to visiting Cuba in the not-too-distant future and seeing these differences for myself. In the meantime, stay tuned for the next installment of “Two for Tuesday” Cuba-edition next week!

Elizabeth is a Junior Executive Intern at SJG. She earned her BA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison this past May. Outside the office, she enjoys bike riding, listening to music, and hanging with friends and family.