The history of the Cuban exodus began in 1959 with the overthrow of the Batista government. Individuals fled the new regime, led by Fidel Castro, in search of economic opportunities and political freedom. Housing and job shortages caused by the downturn in the economy further increased internal tensions on the island. On April 20, 1980, the Castro regime announced that Cubans who wanted to emigrate to the U.S. could board boats at the port of Mariel west of Havana. The first of the refugees reached Florida the next day.