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The Mariel Boatlift was a mass emigration of Cubans, who traveled from Cuba's Mariel Harbor to the United States between 15 April and 31 October 1980. The term Marielito is used to refer to these refugees. Also, the term Banana Boat is used to describe one of those boats that brought the immigrants, as insinuated by Elvira Hancock.

Right at the start of the Scarface film, Fidel Castro orders that those that don't want to stay in Cuba to go away, We don't want them, we don't need them. It's implied that over 100,000 cubans had migrated to Florida, and among them were criminals and political prisoners like Tony Montana, Manny Ribera, Chi-Chi, Angel Fernández, Emilio Rebenga and others.

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