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NPR's original documentary podcast unearths the stories behind the headlines. Police shootings. Towns ravaged by opioids. The roots of our modern immigration crisis. We explore what's been sealed off, undisclosed, or never brought to light. We return with a deeply-reported portrait of why these stories, and the people behind them, matter.

Support in-depth storytelling that matters by subscribing to Embedded+ and unlock early access to new episodes and sponsor-free listening. Learn more at plus.npr.org/embedded

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A boat arrives in Key West, Fla., with more Cuban refugees in April 1980 from Cuba's Mariel Harbor after crossing the Florida Straits. The historic Mariel boat lift brought over 100,000 Cubans into the United States. Tim Chapman/Miami Herald/Getty Images hide caption

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Tim Chapman/Miami Herald/Getty Images

White Lies: The Boatlift

The story of the men on the roof didn't start with that prison takeover in 1991. It didn't start when they were detained in federal prisons. And it didn't start when the government made a secret list of their names in 1984. Instead, it started in the spring of 1980, with one of the largest refugee crises in American history: the Mariel Boatlift. Want to hear the next episode of White Lies a week before everyone else? Sign up for Embedded+ at plus.npr.org/embedded.

White Lies: The Boatlift

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Cuban detainees stand on the roof of the Federal Correctional Institution in Talladega, Als., after a take over of the prison in 1991. Joe Songer/Birmingham News/Donated by Alabama Media Group/Alabama Department of Archives and History hide caption

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Joe Songer/Birmingham News/Donated by Alabama Media Group/Alabama Department of Archives and History

White Lies: The Men on the Roof

It all started with a photograph. A photograph from 1991 of a prison takeover in rural Alabama. A photograph of a group of men on the roof of that prison holding a bedsheet scrawled with a message: "Pray for us." In the first episode of the new season of White Lies, hosts Chip Brantley and Andrew Beck Grace go searching for answers to the questions raised by this photograph. Who were these men? What on earth had made them want to take over that prison? And what became of them after? As they search, they uncover a sprawling story: a mass exodus across the sea, a secret list, and the betrayal at the heart of this country's ideals. Want to hear the next episode of White Lies a week before everyone else? Sign up for Embedded+ at plus.npr.org/embedded.

White Lies: The Men on the Roof

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Jesse Brown / NPR

White Lies: Season 2 Trailer

In 1991, a group of men took over a federal prison in rural Alabama. But these men weren't prisoners, they were immigration detainees, all of them from Cuba. And none of them were serving time for a sentence; they were being indefinitely detained. Who were these men? What in the world had brought them from Cuba to a prison in rural Alabama, and what became of them afterward? On the new season of White Lies, hosts Chip Brantley and Andrew Beck Grace set out to find the men who took over the prison and, in the process, unspool a sprawling story of a mass exodus across the sea, back-channel cold war communiques, family separation, and a secret list.

White Lies: Season 2 Trailer

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LUSAIL CITY, QATAR - DECEMBER 18: Lionel Messi of Argentina celebrates with teammates after the victory in the penalty shoot out during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Final match between Argentina and France at Lusail Stadium on December 18, 2022 in Lusail City, Qatar. (Photo by David Ramos - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images) David Ramos - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images hide caption

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David Ramos - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images

The Last Cup: Postscript

The 2022 World Cup has ended. With his left foot, Messi wrote a more spectacular finale than we could have imagined. In the final installment of The Last Cup, Jasmine Garsd reveals the magic of Argentina's first World Cup victory since 1986.

The Last Cup: Postscript

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Lionel Messi of Argentina during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Round of 16 match between Argentina and Australia at Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium on Dec. 3 in Doha, Qatar. Alex Pantling/Getty Images hide caption

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Alex Pantling/Getty Images

The Last Cup: Bonus Episode

Argentina has made it to the quarter finals of the 2022 World Cup, but the road has been a winding one. In our bonus episode, we take a moment to reflect on the scores and stumbles of the qualifying rounds, and speculate on what's to come for our hero, Lionel Messi. Host Jasmine Garsd discusses Argentina's anxiety with producer Julieta Martinelli and sports reporter Fidel Martinez.

The Last Cup: Bonus Episode

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Messi and the Argentine team at the World Cup María Jesús Contreras for NPR hide caption

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María Jesús Contreras for NPR

The Last Cup: Part 5

After a falling-out with the Argentine national team and a shaky reconciliation, Messi eventually finds his way back to play at the 2021 Copa America for yet another chance at redemption. And then it's on to Qatar for the 2022 World Cup, his last shot at the most coveted trophy. In the final chapter of Lionel Messi's journey, we catch up to the present. Our host Jasmine Garsd reflects on what a win would mean for Messi and for Argentina - and what it really takes to come home.

The Last Cup: Part 5

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María Jesús Contreras for NPR

The Last Cup: Part 4

With the disappointment of the 2010 World Cup behind them, Argentines are hopeful that Lionel Messi might break their losing streak at the 2011 Copa America, the largest tournament in South America. Messi is prepared to give his all, looking for a way to deliver a victory for his home country. Meanwhile, host Jasmine Garsd makes the long journey back to Argentina after many years away and faces an unexpected tragedy.

The Last Cup: Part 4

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María Jesús Contreras for NPR

The Last Cup: Part 3

Lionel Messi finally gets a chance to put on Argentina's national jersey, but something is off. His time abroad has fundamentally changed the way he plays. Things get even more complicated when the Argentine soccer legend, Diego Maradona, becomes coach of Messi's 2010 World Cup team. With Messi under increasing scrutiny, the hometown crowd begins to question if he can ever get out from under Maradona's shadow.

The Last Cup: Part 3

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Teen Lionel Messi plays soccer in front of a younger version of himself getting on a plane to leave Argentina. María Jesús Contreras for NPR hide caption

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María Jesús Contreras for NPR

The Last Cup: Part 2

From his earliest goals on the soccer fields of his hometown in Argentina to his arrival in Spain's Barça Football Club, host Jasmine Garsd follows the journey of a gifted kid who would go on to become one of the best. In Argentina, where the national sport is a fierce obsession, Lionel Messi was the one that got away.

The Last Cup: Part 2

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María Jesús Contreras for NPR

The Last Cup: Part 1

NPR and Futuro Studios present The Last Cup, a podcast series about soccer and the immigrant experience.

The Last Cup: Part 1

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