Tyler Bridges writes for The New Orleans Advocate:
Thirty-five years ago, Joe Doss helped load 473 political prisoners on a World War II-era ship bound for the United States.
Doss, then an Episcopal priest in New Orleans, had spent two weeks in Cuba organizing the rescue as part of a church mission authorized by both nations’ governments. The vessel, dubbed “God’s Mercy,” was part of the Mariel boatlift, in which 125,000 Cubans unwanted by Fidel Castro’s government were allowed to flee the country.
On Saturday, Doss, 71, made his first return to Cuba since then, heading an 80-person delegation of south Louisiana business, education and civic leaders.
“I’m expecting to see a very different place,” Doss said before setting out. “Then, it was tyrannical. There was no good food. Cubans were afraid to talk to us. It was not a fun trip. Now, I’m expecting to see a country that’s opening up in many ways.”
Photo of Bishop Joe Morris Doss from I Want to Serve