Jan. 24, 1963 - The American freighter Shirley Lykes sailed out of Havana tonight with 1,170 Cuban refugees bound for the U.S. The ship was due at Port Everglades, Fla., tomorrow morning. A number of the refugees — relatives of the released Bay of Pigs invaders — needed medical care. Some will require surgery. Plans were for them to get it in the U.S. Originally, only 800 to 900 persons had been expected to board the ransom ship. The refugees, carrying only small suitcases, gave up their homes and other possessions for a new life. One elderly woman aboard kissed four grandsons then fell to her knees saying, “Thank God, thank God.” A member of the Cuban Red Cross standing at the top of the gangway heard her and said, “No, thank Fidel.” The ship reached Havana on Friday with more than 7,000 tons of medicines as an installment on the ransom for the 1,113 Cuban invasion prisoners who were freed last month.
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