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U.S. Coast Guard pulls over Chevy truck
The National Post (Canada) ^ | 2003-07-25 | National Post news services

Posted on 07/25/2003 9:10:08 AM PDT by DTA

U.S. Coast Guard pulls over Chevy truck in Straits of Florida 12 Cubans aboard ═

National Post news services

Friday, July 25, 2003

WASHINGTON - The crew members of the U.S. Coast Guard cutter could not believe their eyes.

Chugging along at a steady 13 kilometres per hour in the Straits of Florida was a bright-green 1951 Chevrolet truck with 12 Cuban migrants aboard.

The ingenious craft was kept afloat by 12 250-litre drums strapped to its sides. The wheels were still in place and the engine was running, turning a propeller attached to the drive shaft.

There was even a captain at the wheel.

"We've seen surfboards, pieces of Styrofoam, bathtubs, refrigerators. But never an automobile," Petty Officer Ryan Doss of the U.S. Coast Guard said yesterday.

The Coast Guard was called in after a U.S. government plane spotted the truck last week in the Straits of Florida, about 64 km south of Key West, just more than halfway between Cuba and the United States.

The Coast Guard took all the passengers on board. Then they sank the vessel, deeming it "a hazard to navigation."

A photograph taken by the Coast Guard shows the craft cruising on calm seas.

Several men, all wearing bright red life jackets, sat on top of the green truck. The other travellers, who included two women and one child, were apparently riding under the bright yellow canopy that covered the back of the vehicle.

Since Fidel Castro's 1959 revolution, desperate Cubans have tried to flee the Caribbean island on rudimentary rafts, on the inner tubes from giant trucks, in stolen boats and planes, even by windsurfer.

In recent months several planes and boats were stolen or hijacked by people trying to reach Florida.

Under the U.S. immigration policy known as "wet foot, dry foot," Cubans who manage to set foot on U.S. soil are usually allowed to stay, while those stopped at sea are routinely sent back to Cuba.

This meant the 12 Cubans who had exhibited such painstaking ingenuity in turning the truck into a boat got no marks from the United States for their creativity. They were automatically barred from entering the country and were returned to Cuba on Sunday.

The following day, the United States returned a group of people who had hijacked a boat to leave the country after Havana agreed to limit jail terms to 10 years for any found guilty of illegal migration. The boat was intercepted at sea last week.

In March, six Cuban migrants landed their homemade boat on guarded U.S. Navy property in Key West, then wandered the streets downtown before authorities caught them.


TOPICS: Cuba; Foreign Affairs; US: Florida
KEYWORDS: coastguard; cuba; cubanrefugees; freedom; illegalimmigration; repatriated; wetfootdryfoot
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1 posted on 07/25/2003 9:10:08 AM PDT by DTA
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To: DTA; mhking
Don't know if this would have fit on the original "Hold muh beer" list, but it definitely fits with the "weird" theme.
2 posted on 07/25/2003 9:12:06 AM PDT by steveegg (Uday and Qusay are now reunited with their daddy; confirmation that Saddam is also there pending)
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To: DTA
They shudda declared them dry foot and let them start their own version of Monster Garage.
3 posted on 07/25/2003 9:12:12 AM PDT by dirtboy (Free Sabertooth!)
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To: DTA
I am interested to see the overall freeper reaction to this story, from a freedom seeker-immigration--champions of liberty standpoint.
4 posted on 07/25/2003 9:12:52 AM PDT by Huck
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To: steveegg
Sounds more like "Hold muh Havana Club, por favor"
5 posted on 07/25/2003 9:13:09 AM PDT by Semper Paratus
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
"Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose..."

They lost truck and probably will lose more - their lives.

6 posted on 07/25/2003 9:13:27 AM PDT by DTA
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To: dirtboy
They shudda declared them dry foot and let them start their own version of Monster Garage.

Paging Jesse James. Paging Discovery Channel.

7 posted on 07/25/2003 9:14:29 AM PDT by steveegg (Uday and Qusay are now reunited with their daddy; confirmation that Saddam is also there pending)
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To: DTA
At least the Canucs know how to spell STRAIT!

Previous posts had STRAIGHT!;^}
8 posted on 07/25/2003 9:18:44 AM PDT by SwinneySwitch (Freedom is not Free - Support the Troops.)
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To: DTA
I gotta see this one. Any Pix?
9 posted on 07/25/2003 9:18:45 AM PDT by Only1choice____Freedom (If everything you experienced, believed, lived was a lie, would you want to know the truth?)
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To: DTA
It was a Dodge Powerwagon not a Chevy truck.

Then We send them back and sink it.

I do like the Monster Garage plan:)

10 posted on 07/25/2003 9:19:04 AM PDT by ChefKeith (NASCAR...everything else is just a game!)
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To: steveegg

11 posted on 07/25/2003 9:19:36 AM PDT by DTA
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To: Only1choice____Freedom
Check Foxnews.com I saw this last night on the tube.
12 posted on 07/25/2003 9:20:12 AM PDT by ChefKeith (NASCAR...everything else is just a game!)
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To: Huck
I am interested to see the overall freeper reaction to this story, from a freedom seeker-immigration--champions of liberty standpoint.

I'd happily take these people as citizens. Anyone who would risk their life to achieve liberty is okay in my book.

13 posted on 07/25/2003 9:21:28 AM PDT by NittanyLion
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To: DTA
"Take my Chevy to the levy . . . "
14 posted on 07/25/2003 9:22:06 AM PDT by NorseWood
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To: DTA
My god that is a beautiful sight. They sank it??!! It should have been saved and put in a museum. Those crazy Cubans, they are an ingenious lot. Still have 50's cars running around the island. Monster Garage indeed!
15 posted on 07/25/2003 9:25:29 AM PDT by mc5cents
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To: NittanyLion
YES!!!

This is a shameful policy which should be terminated at once by Bush.

16 posted on 07/25/2003 9:25:46 AM PDT by americanSoul (Better to die on your feet, than live on your knees. Live Free or Die. I should be in New Hampshire.)
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To: DTA
Bummer - they sunk a classic!
17 posted on 07/25/2003 9:26:32 AM PDT by ErnBatavia (Bumperootus!)
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To: DTA
"The ingenious craft was kept afloat by 12 250-litre drums strapped to its sides. The wheels were still in place and the engine was running, turning a propeller attached to the drive shaft."

They must have been watching Monster Garage on the Discovery channel. They turned a bus into a functioning pontoon boat similar to what they did to the truck.

18 posted on 07/25/2003 9:28:25 AM PDT by rudypoot (99% of the lawyers make the rest look bad.)
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To: Huck
I am interested to see the overall freeper reaction to this story, from a freedom seeker-immigration--champions of liberty standpoint.

I can tell you that the "seal the boarders!" (sp) crowd will probably be happy...

On the other hand, people with that much ingenuity, motivation, and boldness - to take to sea in that! - ought to be welcomed to America.

19 posted on 07/25/2003 9:29:08 AM PDT by Chemist_Geek ("Drill, R&D, and conserve" should be our watchwords! Energy independence for America!)
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To: NittanyLion
I'd happily take these people as citizens. Anyone who would risk their life to achieve liberty is okay in my book.

Innovative, talented and courageous. Three strikes and you're out.

20 posted on 07/25/2003 9:29:52 AM PDT by decimon
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To: ErnBatavia
>>>>>>Bummer - they sunk a classic!>>>>>>

That's what happens when GM unhappy customer has a gun and GM vehicle to vent off.

21 posted on 07/25/2003 9:30:50 AM PDT by DTA
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To: Huck; Luis Gonzalez
This was already discussed on several threads.

The Freeper consensus, which empathetically includes me, was that they should have let them land. There is no excuse for the government's conduct in this case.

D
22 posted on 07/25/2003 9:30:51 AM PDT by daviddennis
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To: americanSoul
This is a shameful policy which should be terminated at once by Bush.

Yeah, I'm for tight immigration control and so on but anybody that really goes out of their way to do this to come to America, well, they are OK in my book and should stay. Given the fact that they were fleeing Castro and a hostile regime, they should have stayed here. Plus if these guys are that mechanically inclined, we can use them. B-)
23 posted on 07/25/2003 9:32:31 AM PDT by Nowhere Man ("Laws are the spider webs through which the big bugs fly past and the little ones get caught.")
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To: Howlin; Ed_NYC; MonroeDNA; widgysoft; Springman; Timesink; dubyaismypresident; Grani; coug97; ...

Don't you know that open containers are not permitted behind the wheel?

HMB/Bizarre PING....

If you want on or off this list, FReepmail me!

FYI: This has fast outgrown it's original "charter" and become a home for the truly bizarre. An alternative saying/phrasiology is being sought (and suggestions are very welcome!). Also, like it's "cousin list" the B/C list, it has become a high-volume list.


I'm leaning toward "Just damn," on the suggestion of quite a few folks. I won't make a decision until Sunday. (And thanks to all of you for sending your suggestions!)
24 posted on 07/25/2003 9:43:20 AM PDT by mhking
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To: DTA
Already posted here... Brave people, too bad they sent them back.
25 posted on 07/25/2003 9:46:42 AM PDT by bedolido (please let my post be on an even number... small even/odd phobia here)
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To: DTA
they been watching "Junkyard Wars". this sort of thing was done on that show.

it's a crying shame that the USCG sank the truck.
26 posted on 07/25/2003 9:47:02 AM PDT by camle (this space for rent. send cash)
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To: Ramius
Ping!
27 posted on 07/25/2003 9:47:45 AM PDT by HairOfTheDog (I know what the Hobbit Hole is.)
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To: DTA
My friend thought about getting the Chevy Optional Amphibious Package, but it was too combersome and expensive to repair. Besides, he lives in the desert.
28 posted on 07/25/2003 9:50:31 AM PDT by Consort
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To: ChefKeith
Um, judging by the pic in the post below yours, it is most definitely a Chevy.
29 posted on 07/25/2003 9:54:22 AM PDT by IYAS9YAS (Go Fast, Turn Left!)
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To: rudypoot
Monster Garage or Junkyard Wars...
30 posted on 07/25/2003 9:55:28 AM PDT by IYAS9YAS (Go Fast, Turn Left!)
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To: NittanyLion
And to do so with such ingenuity!
31 posted on 07/25/2003 10:03:21 AM PDT by El Sordo
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To: IYAS9YAS
It's a '51 Chevy, no less.

Anyone who can turn a '51 Chevy into a functioning boat has the creativity and ingenuity to stay in the US as far as I'm concerned.

32 posted on 07/25/2003 10:06:40 AM PDT by Catspaw
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To: DTA
I wouldn't doubt Old Navy would love to have gotten a hold to that one - it was an old navy truck.
33 posted on 07/25/2003 10:15:37 AM PDT by azhenfud
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To: DTA
I saw, let them stay.
34 posted on 07/25/2003 10:18:10 AM PDT by ChadGore (Kakkate Koi!)
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To: DTA
and were returned to Cuba on Sunday.

So what's the likelihood they're still alive...?

35 posted on 07/25/2003 10:27:02 AM PDT by Eala
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To: DTA
I say let them earn their citizenship with a 4 year stint in the USMC. These men appear to be able to adapt, overcome and improvise. They have what it takes to be marines.

Those trucks sure are solid. My grandfather had one. The air conditioner was a fan on the dash. The wipers sucked, literally. They were vacuum driven. They didn't work unless you drove fast, which is pretty hard to do in a 50 yr old truck.
36 posted on 07/25/2003 10:50:24 AM PDT by FreeInWV
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To: DTA
I'd take my '59 Chevy truck anywhere! Mine's not bright green though. It's turquoise green.
37 posted on 07/25/2003 10:53:24 AM PDT by TigersEye (Joe McCarthy was right ... so was PT Barnum!)
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To: daviddennis
I was busy and missed the threads. When I heard the news on the radio, I was interested to know what freepers thought.
38 posted on 07/25/2003 10:53:44 AM PDT by Huck
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To: FreeInWV
I had one of those - the wipers worked best when letting off the gas while leaving the clutch engaged.

The six volt system never quite suited me for reliability.

Sold the thing too early....
39 posted on 07/25/2003 10:54:45 AM PDT by azhenfud
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To: DTA
They pulled over the S.S. Ted Kennedy!


40 posted on 07/25/2003 10:57:04 AM PDT by COBOL2Java
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To: Huck; Chemist_Geek
They should have let them stay. I have a '49 Chevy in pieces in my mom's garage. They could fix it up for me.

All kidding aside, they should get asylum here. Mexico sucks but it ain't Cuba. No analogy can be drawn there.

41 posted on 07/25/2003 11:04:50 AM PDT by TigersEye (Joe McCarthy was right ... so was PT Barnum!)
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To: DTA
Is that a plow on the front?

If so, what would you need a snow plow in Cuba for?

It's a crying shame these guys were sent back.

You can tell there was some real engineering going on here.

Good looking truck too. Do you think that maybe they loved the truck so much that they wanted to keep it in America?

And when they sank it, I'll bet the refugees felt like they lost a friend.
42 posted on 07/25/2003 11:05:34 AM PDT by Only1choice____Freedom (If everything you experienced, believed, lived was a lie, would you want to know the truth?)
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To: mc5cents
They have to keep those cars running, there have been no replacement cars for the average citizen since Castro took over.
43 posted on 07/25/2003 11:06:21 AM PDT by Blood of Tyrants (Even if the government took all your earnings, you wouldn’t be, in its eyes, a slave.)
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To: DTA
That these resourceful people were repatriated to Cuba is a crime. Anyone with the ingenuity to build this 'boat' and the guts to go out on the open sea on it deserve to be let into the country!

44 posted on 07/25/2003 11:10:07 AM PDT by Rummyfan
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To: Catspaw
Yep, I have a '51 Chevy 3100 (1/2 ton). Good old truck. I know farmers in my area that still use them to haul crops.
45 posted on 07/25/2003 11:29:31 AM PDT by IYAS9YAS (Go Fast, Turn Left!)
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To: FreeInWV
The wipers sucked, literally. They were vacuum driven.

Tell me about it. Speed up, they slow down, slow down, they speed up...it's a riot in a downpour.

46 posted on 07/25/2003 11:30:55 AM PDT by IYAS9YAS (Go Fast, Turn Left!)
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To: azhenfud
We updated the 6-volt to 12-volts. Horn really sounds funny because it's still the old 6-volt. Put a 1958 235 in it for oil pressure (216 had a splash system that wouldn't get oil to the piston wrist pins at speed). Other than that, she's as she was 52 years ago.

Wife loves the truck, but we do really need seat belts in it. Got a little one on the way and I haven't let her drive or ride in it since she got preggers. That truck'll be around when Junior needs a driving lesson.

It's perfect for teaching standard transmissions. Get them used to the clutch with the "granny" gear. It'll learn him real quick on the gas/clutch combo too (touchy accellerator). GRIN!

47 posted on 07/25/2003 11:36:02 AM PDT by IYAS9YAS (Go Fast, Turn Left!)
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To: Blood of Tyrants
True. I read in National Geographic a few years back about mechanics who kept their vehicles running by making parts out of anything they could. Coffee can piston rings and so forth.
48 posted on 07/25/2003 11:38:21 AM PDT by IYAS9YAS (Go Fast, Turn Left!)
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To: IYAS9YAS
Move over "Junkyard Wars" You got nothing on this talented group. I say let them stay also... for most original vehicle adaption in an illegal entry attempt.
49 posted on 07/25/2003 11:44:53 AM PDT by Itchen
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To: ErnBatavia
A nine window cab version no less
50 posted on 07/25/2003 11:46:47 AM PDT by farmguy
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