On the morning of August 21, 1991, a group of Cuban detainees took over a federal prison in Talladega, Alabama, and demanded their freedom. But how did they get... More
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NPR's Pentagon Correspondent, Tom Bowman, receives a shocking tip from a trusted source: A deadly explosion during the Iraq War was an accident—friendly fire, covered up by the Marine Corps—and the son of a powerful politician may have been involved. Listen to the full story in NPR's Embedded podcast.
In our final episode of the season, we start researching the names on the secret list of 2,746 Cuban excludables. What we find confirms many of our suspicions about the arbitrariness of how the U.S. government created the list. Our reporting takes us — where else? — to Cuba, to finally track down the men on the roof and hear them tell their own stories. What had they hoped to find in this country and what had they found instead? Finally, our journey takes us to one last interview in a high rise in Vancouver, Canada, where we hear from the man who led the uprising at Talladega, and made the decision to take to the prison's roof to display banners made from bedsheets that read, Pray for Us and Please Media: Justice, Freedom, or Death. Want to hear the first episode of Embedded's next series a week before everyone else? Sign up for Embedded+ at plus.npr.org/embedded.
Since we began reporting this story, we've been after a list. A secret list. On it are the names of 2,746 people whom the US government deemed excludable, including the men on the roof. The government has kept this list so secret that at one point it went so far as to classify it. None of the Mariel detainees knew if their name was on the list or not. In fact, nobody knew what names were on the list. Until now. In Episode 7, the story of a list that sparked uprisings, separated families, and changed the trajectory of U.S. immigration policy. And the story of what we learned when we finally got our hands on it. Want to hear the next episode of White Lies a week before everyone else? Sign up for Embedded+ at plus.npr.org/embedded.
In Episode 6, we sneak into the graveyard of the Atlanta federal penitentiary with a radical peace activist to learn more about what happened in the prison in late 1984. A peaceful protest by detainees held in the Atlanta pen resulted in a violent crackdown, and one of the detainees, a man named Jose Hernandez-Mesa, was charged in federal court with inciting a riot. We tell the story of his trial — and the surprising verdict that began reshaping public opinion about the Mariel Cubans who were being detained. Want to hear the next episode of White Lies a week before everyone else? Sign up for Embedded+ at plus.npr.org/embedded.
On May 18, 1980, a man named Genaro Soroa-Gonzalez arrived in Key West from the port of Mariel. With no family waiting to sponsor him, he was sent by plane to a resettlement camp at an army base. There he was interviewed by the INS and, a few days later, he boarded another plane, this one bound for the federal prison in Atlanta. But wait - he'd committed no crime, so why was the US government detaining him? And how long could they hold him? In Episode 5, the story of Genaro Soroa-Gonzalez and the beginning of the indefinite detention of Mariel Cubans. Want to hear the next episode of White Lies a week before everyone else? Sign up for Embedded+ at plus.npr.org/embedded.
On the morning of August 21, 1991, a group of Cuban detainees took over a federal prison in Talladega, Alabama, and demanded their freedom. But how did they get here? And what became of them after? In season two of NPR's Pulitzer-finalist show, we unspool a decades-long story about immigration, indefinite detention, and a secret list. It's a story about a betrayal at the heart of our country's ideals. And in charting a course to our current moment of crisis at the border, we expose the lies that bind us together.
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