July 20th Show : Blog Of The Nation In our first hour, The Mariel Boatlift, 30 years later, and Daniel Clowes' "Wilson". In our second hour, adjusting to widowhood, and decriminalizing cocaine.
NPR logo July 20th Show

July 20th Show

In his new book, Tom Feiling goes inside the columbian coca fields, inner city drug markets, police stations and prisons, and argues for the legalization of cocaine. hide caption

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The Mariel Boatlift: 30 Years Later
In April of 1980, two large commercial lobster boats sailed into Key West, Florida, carrying refugees from Port of Mariel in Cuba. Cuban leader Fidel Castro declared the port "open", permitting Cubans to freely depart to the US. Within weeks thousands of boats floated into South Florida's waters. For the next six months, an estimated 125-thousand Cubans arrived in a massive wave on American shores. While the majority of the boats carried families, the Mariel boatlift became synonymous with criminals, prisoners and mentally ill patients, after Castro mandated they also be released on the boats. Neal Conan talks to "Marielitos" on the 30th anniversary of the Mariel boatlift.

Daniel Clowes' "Wilson"
In Daniel Clowes' newest alternative comic, Wilson, he creates a portrait of the modern egoist -- and it's safe to say that it's a rough world out there for them. Meet Wilson, an opinionated loner who loves his dog and possibly no one else. He's on a quest to connect with others. Wilson nags strangers in a series of one-sided conversations, by adding his own two cents on issues, punctuated by his own sense of humor. But after his father passes away, the middle-aged misanthrope tries to reconnect with his family, and live a meaningful life.

Adjusting to Widowhood
According to a report by the Loomba Foundation, at least 245 million women worldwide have been widowed -- almost half living in poverty. Many are cheated out of their husbands' assets and property, and even banished from their family home, leaving them suffering from discrimination and abuse. And a struggle to balance many tasks at hand after a husband passes away -- such as a social life, dealing with friends, figuring out finances, and explaining -- can make it hard to move on. Gwen Romagnoli and Anne Roiphe each talk about learning to be a widow, and the daily challenges they face without a spouse in their lives.

Decriminalization Cocaine
The drive to decriminalize medical marijuana in the U.S. has gained traction in recent years: even the Justice Department has chosen not to prosecute medical marijuana users who comply with state law.  But calls from some health advocates, and even former law enforcement officials to decriminalize "hard drugs" like cocaine remain political non-starters. In his new book, Cocaine Nation: How The White Trade Took Over The World, Tom Feiling traces the growth of the cocaine industry worldwide, from Latin American coca fields to America's inner cities. Feiling argues that the war on drugs has been an abject failure and that it's time to take decriminalization seriously.