Mariel märēāl´ [key], town, Artemesia prov., W Cuba, on sheltered Mariel Bay, 27 mi (43 km) WSW of Havana. A port in an agricultural region, Mariel has a special development zone designed to attract foreign investment; the container port is well developed. Manufactured products include cement and cigars; there is also fishing. Nearby are Cuba's principal asphalt reserves and a power plant. The Cuban naval academy was located on Mariel's outskirts for most of the 20th cent. In 1980 the town was the site of the Mariel boatlift, when over 100,000 Cubans left for Florida through its port.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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