Exodus of Cubans by sea, air and land to the US.

A Cuban embarked on a journey through eight countries for more than a month. Another paid a small fortune to escape in a speedboat. A third decided to risk a dangerous journey aboard a rudimentary raft that he himself made.

Cubans are leaving their country in one of the largest exoduses in four decades, risking their lives on a perilous journey to the United States by air, land and sea to escape political and economic troubles.

The vast majority fly to Nicaragua as tourists and from there take a slow journey to the US border, usually to Texas or Arizona. A small minority bets on arriving by sea. Three men who survived the ordeal spoke about her to The Associated Press.

Thousands of others share that same goal. Between January and July, US authorities had 155,000 encounters with Cubans who entered through the border with Mexico, more than six times more than in the same period in 2021. In addition, between October and August, the Coast Guard intercepted more than 4,600 Cubans. , almost six times more than in all of 2020.

The vast majority are released with notices to appear in immigration court or appear before immigration authorities.

This is the largest flight of Cubans since the so-called Mariel crisis in 1980, when nearly 125,000 rafters arrived in the United States in a six-month period.

The exodus is driven by Cuba’s worst economic crisis in decades, a product of the tightening of US sanctions and the impact of COVID-19.

2021 protests

The massive protests of July 2021 led to nearly 1,400 arrests and fears of political oppression that encouraged more Cubans to flee. Another of the triggers took place in November, when Nicaragua stopped requiring visas for Cubans to promote tourism.

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Two of the three men spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of the safety of relatives still living in Cuba.

Rolando José Cisneros Borroto was a street vendor in Camagüey, in central Cuba, but he said he was tired of going hungry and in need. Hoping to find a job that would allow him to support his family, he decided to leave his wife and his three children.



A 37-year-old man worked temporarily in construction and fishing. He couldn’t pay a smuggler and he built a raft out of ten-foot-long aluminum tubes. In May 2021, he sailed for 22 hours with three friends to reach the Florida Keys.

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