Can I join refugees on their boat trip?
Posted: 14 September 2005 10:50 AM   [ Ignore ]
less than 10 posts
Total Posts:  1
Joined  2005-09-14

Do you think I have a chance as a foreign journalist to join refugees on their boat trip to Florida / the Keys from Cojimar or at the new route to the Cayman Islands and Honduras from somewhere along the southern coast of Cuba’ eastern province of CamagŁey? How could I connect with them?

Posted: 14 September 2005 01:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
less than 10 posts
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Joined  2005-01-20

My brother, what you are suggesting is very, very risky; if not completely insane.

I flew numerous missions searching for Cuban refugees in the early 90’ and back then the USCG estimated 3 out of 4 that tried making it to freedom, DIED!

I have video of empty rafts, home made boats and the like adrift in the Florida Straits.

I personally witnessed shark attacks on rafter’ dead bodies and those that wished they were dead when the attacks began…many rafters rescued told me if the sea or the sun didn’t get to them, the sharks were always NEXT to try. 

Trust me when I tell you, it is not a “boat trip” to the Florida Keys or the Cayman Islands”, it’ a last ditch, despirate attempt to gain freedom; one that literally means “risking it all!(Every single rafter I’ve ever interviewed has told me the same thing, “I’d NEVER try it again.”)

While I appreciate your desire to gain the first hand experience of the rafter refugees plight, I caution you and beg that you reconsider your desire of “the experience.”

If you do succeed in making contact and planning your journey, please leave notification with your next of kin, as the odds of you making it and telling your tale, are very much against you.

Perhaps you’d like to visit my website ( and go to the Media Links page. 

There are two photos that tell the balsero story graphically. One of a lone balsero on an inner tube at sea.  (His eyes are hauntingly EMPTY)  The other is of three women in a small boat.  The facial expressions at rescue tell a horrid story also.

God speed to you Hans,
Matt Lawrence, Author
Dying to Get Here: A Story of Coming to America

Posted: 11 July 2007 03:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
Total Posts:  992
Joined  2005-11-19


Any update or advice?


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