In the mid-to-late 90s, thousands of Cuban refugees attempted to cross the Florida Straits by whatever means available - small boats, homemade rafts and inner tubes. Only one in four rafters made it to U.S. shores, with tens of thousands perishing at sea. A volunteer group based in Miami called Brothers to the Rescue was formed to patrol the Straits in small civilian aircraft, offering aid to rafters. On February 24th, 1996, in the midst of heightening political unrest in Cuba and in the wake of a revised U.S. policy toward Cuban refugees, the Cuban government authorized two military fighter jets to attack and destroy two of the volunteer planes.
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