March 22, 2009

Truck honors failed Cuban refugee attempt

A 41-year-old Cuban refugee living in Miami says he retrofitted a fluorescent green pickup truck to honor a failed Florida Straits crossing.

Luis Grass said the truck pays homage to a pickup he used in an attempt to float a group of Cuban refugees from their native land to the shores of the United States, The Miami Herald reported Sunday.

''My dream was to build a replica of the truck that was used in the first attempt, to keep it as a museum piece. And here it is, six years after the voyage, it's incredible,'' Grass said.

The 1951 Chevy Grass had retrofitted to float across the ocean sank when shot by a U.S. Coast Guard cutter during its 2003 crossing.

After the career mechanic failed in a second crossing attempt, he and his family eventually crossed the U.S.-Mexican border.

The Herald said Grass's bosses at the Miami car dealership where he works helped pay the $100,000 needed to retrofit the Chevy pickup that is now displayed outside his workplace.