For “Democrat Socialists” like Bernie Sanders and AOC, Cuba is a socialist paradise worthy of admiration and imitation. For Cubans who actually have to live there, the only thing they think about is how to escape. One of the most poignant legacies of six plus decades of communist rule in Cuba is that Cubans continue preferring throwing themselves into the sea over staying behind to live lives of misery, oppression, and enslavement.
Cubans are still arriving in Miami aboard rafts and speed boats
Paco sold everything he owned at home in the coastal town of Bahia Honda, west of Havana, to get out of Cuba. He also asked for help from relatives in South Florida. In an island where the minimum salary is $10 per month, it’s tough to pull together the $12,000 that people smugglers in Miami charge for the clandestine trip.
“In this town, everyone wants to leave” for the United States, he said. “Everyone wants to go.”
“In these kinds of towns, everyone knows everyone, and who are the ones who want to leave the country. The departure is organized in Miami in total secrecy, and only on the last day are the travelers told where on the coast to meet,” said Paco, who would not give his real name because leaving Cuba without official permission is a crime.
Even though the U.S. Coast Guard is under strict orders to return all would-be Cuban migrants intercepted at sea, island residents continue to try to reach the United States aboard rafts and speedboats.
Paco first tried to leave by sea in 2009, with eight other people. Barely into the trek, the homemade boat broke up and they wound up drifting for five days. He built another craft later, but had to abandon the plan after authorities were tipped off.
“It scares me. Of course it scares me. But I am more scared of spending my whole life stuck in this country, with nothing to offer my children,” he said as he looked off into the horizon. “Over there I would still have time to work hard and give them a future.”
“The key thing is not to be turned back. Nothing else. We Cubans are fighters and we always manage. The key is to get out of here,” he said.
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