Concerning the migration talks between Cuba and the United States which are taking place today in Havana.

Carlitos finally made it to Atlanta, after trying five times to cross the Straits of Florida. On two occasions he was intercepted by the U.S. Coast Guard and returned to the Island. For months he saved the yellow form they gave him to request – legally – a visa from the United States Interest Section. However, he preferred a faster way to leave behind the room he shared with his grandmother and the police harassment in his neighborhood. He was also captured by the Cubans, on August 13 three years ago, when the boat’s propeller broke and his trip ended in a jail in the village of Cojimar. There he was fined and a plainclothes office began visiting him to demand he find a job.

After demonstrating his few talents as a sailor, this young man of 32 managed to go to Ecuador, one of the few countries that still does not require a visa from Cubans. The South American nation was the trampoline to enter the United States, where he is now trying to start a new life. He left his GPS in the hands of some of his friends who had helped him in his journeys, along with that form he had never filled out to ask for a humanitarian visa. He did not leave for a pre-determined destiny, rather he feared turning into a frustrated forty-year-old. Not even in his most optimistic days could he foresee he would come to have his own roof, or a salary that would save him from having to divert State resources to survive.

Like so many other Cubans, Carlitos had no hope that the promises made to him when he was a child would materialize. He did not want to grow old sitting on the sidewalk in front of his house, taking the edge off his failure with alcohol and some other pill. He planned every kind of escape, but finally his uncle paid for the ticket to Quito with the illusion that he would be able to get the rest of the family out. He still dreams of boats that draw near in the middle of the night and take him back to Cuba in handcuffs, smelling of salt and oil. He wakes up and looks around to confirm that he is still in the little apartment he has rented with a girlfriend. “Once a rafter, always a rafter,” he muses, while turning over his pillow and trying to dream on solid ground.


106 thoughts on “GPS

  1. When I think of people who are waiting to leave Cuba, to leave behind a country that has bereft them of their life essentials, I think of the song by Jack Johnson: “Sitting, Waiting, Wishing.” Truth is, you must be an active participant of your own escape, otherwise, it’ll never happen. Although it may not happen for all of those who attempt to leave… it has happened for thousands of others, brave souls that leave their families, language, and ultimately, their comfort [meaning, what they know] behind for liberty [but before liberty, basic life essentials like food and healthcare]. I think Carlito is a man with integrity and passion. I’m glad that he has made it… escaped from the giant prison that is Cuba.

    “Must I always be waiting waiting on you?
    Must I always be playing playing your fool?”

  2. If you do not like what is happening in Cuba and you are there then leave like hundreds of persons have done. Stop talking about what is happening in Cuba, get out of Cuba.

  3. #97 “but the millions, MILLIONS, M I L L I O N S of readers we get monthly,”

    No wonder you call yourself Fraud.

  4. #84 “Get ready for the AVALANCHE!MULA – “Your Humbug!”

    Would that be the same avalanche of 50 years of opposition which has clearly brought the Cuban government to its knees? Or the recent avalanche that one of your colleages was organising to change Cuban monetary policy? Or the avalanche of masterbatory self interest propaganda of the Miami mafia and its fellow travellers??
    Or just the avalanche of abuse when ever ANYONE opposing these same anachronistic views posts anything? Or just the avalanche of silence when a Cuban is called e.g. a “slimeball” by people like Yobbo in #67?

    Clearly this time Humbug it was the ‘avalanche’ of silence!

  5. #96 If he lives outside of Cuba ??!! It could be from Venezuala and working for Chavez. Also it could be living anywhere. There are millions of disturb individuals with different ways of insanity.

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