A Hurricane that Changed Miami Forever

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Photo Credit: Craig Rubadoux/Florida Today via AP

Miami used to be a sleepy Southern retirement community. In this tropical paradise, life was peaceful and Anglo churches flourished. Everything changed in the year 1980 when President Jimmy Carter and Fidel Castro had a show down. The US Government gladly
received many professional Cubans who had fled Cuba to escape the corruptions of communism. Carter puffed up his chest and said, “See how much better America is than Cuba!” Castro called Carter’s bluff and retorted, “If you want to receive my people, let me give you some more.” So, on April 15, 1980, Castro emptied his prisons and insane asylums, put 125,000 Cubans on boats and shipped them to Miami.
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Miami suddenly awoke from her slumber with hungry Latinos looking for work. Most found honest jobs while others found their way into shady business of drug trafficking. At that time cocaine was king and Miami was the pathway into North America. Colombians and Cubans began to fight for control of the drug market and Miami was their battleground. Almost overnight, Miami became the most violent city in the United States – not the ideal place to raise a family. Meanwhile a new Miami was raised up from the laundering of drug money in skyscrapers and high-rises.

Tensions continued to rise until the tempest clouds could be seen from Biscayne Bay. This was no a metaphorical storm; this was the infamous Hurricane Andrew of 1992 that decimated much of Miami. The Anglos that lost their homes had had enough with all the Español and violence. So thousands packed their bags and moved North, telling the last American to bring the flag with him on the way out. And again the city changed overnight.

Since Hurricane Andrew, Miami has become the Capitol of Latin America. It is the only city in North America that is controlled from top to bottom by Latinos. It is a young city with an undetermined future. There is no question that it is the most strategic city for reaching the future generations of Latinos in all the Americas. And this young city is ripe for the gospel of Jesus Christ!

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