The Escape – Cubans Escaping From Cuba is a 60-second film of actual pictures taken by the U.S. Coast Guard between 1994 and 2004 of a few of the many thousands of Cubans they have interdicted or have attempted to interdict at sea escaping from Cuba. Even though some of the pictures may seem unreal, they are in fact very real and demonstrate the sheer desperation of what many Cubans have done, in search of freedom and justice.
Most often, Cubans attempting to escape from Cuba by sea use home made vessels that are not seaworthy. These Cubans often attempt to cross the Florida Straits, to reach Key West, Florida, which is the closest geographical point in the United States to Cuba, located 90 miles North from Cuba.
The pictures of Cubans attempting to escape from Cuba reveal how small and overcrowded the unseaworthy vessels tend to be for the 90-plus mile journey of shark-filled waters and often treacherous ocean currents. The pictures also reveal how the makeshift boats are made from materials that are clearly not designed for the challenges that the natural elements of the ocean pose. Clearly, the journey the Cubans who attempt to escape from Cuba by sea embark on is immensely dangerous.
Nonetheless, as explained below, tens of thousands of Cubans have chosen to attempt to escape from Cuba, in an attempt to escape from Castro’s tyrannical regime, which has been in place since January 1959. Moreover, it is important to note that depending on the U.S.-Cuba policy that is in place at the time the Cubans are interdicted at sea by the U.S. Coast Guard, they are returned to Cuba or allowed to stay in the United States. Thus, many Cubans have taken these tremendous risks to their lives, and the lives of their loved ones, only to be returned to Cuba.
It is unknown how many people have escaped from the Island of Cuba since Fidel Castro fraudulently took power in January 1959. What is known, is that many thousands of Cubans have made the choice to risk their lives and the lives of their loved ones, including children, in desperate attempts to breath freedom, and escape from the brutally horrific dictatorship of Fidel and Raul Castro and the egregious injustices routinely perpetrated by the Castro regime on the people of Cuba, for more than 56 years.
It is also unknown how many Cubans die at sea in their desperate attempt for freedom and justice. Moreover, it is unknown how many Cubans are caught by the Castro regime attempting to flee the horrific dictatorship, and are subsequently tortured, imprisoned, and/or murdered for merely seeking freedom by leaving the island.
What is known is that the U.S. Coast Guard has documented interdicting 74,375 Cubans at sea between fiscal year 1982 and May 31, 2015. This number does not include Cubans that were interdicted at sea by the U.S. Coast Guard during the 22 years between 1959, when Castro imposed his dictatorship in Cuba, and 1981. Nor does the 74,375 number include the number of Cubans that have died at sea in their desperate attempt to breath freedom and escape from Castro’s horror. This number also does not include the number of Cubans that attempted to escape from Cuba, but were caught by the Castro regime. Additionally, this number does not include Cubans who have escaped to other geographical locations. Thus, the actual number of Cubans who have escaped or attempted to escape from Cuba by sea is under reported and unknown, for the aforementioned reasons.
It is important to note, however, that there was a mass migration from Cuba called the Mariel Boatlift that occurred between April 1980 and September 1980. During this 5 month period, the U.S. Coast Guard documented interdicting 124,776 Cubans. This number is in addition to the 74,375 Cubans interdicted at sea noted above. Thus, since fiscal year 1982 through May 31, 2015, The U.S. Coast Guard has documented interdicting 199,151 Cubans at sea.
What is clear is that the U.S. Coast Guard has been able to document only a fraction of the many thousands of Cubans who have risked their lives and the lives of their loved ones to escape from Castro’s egregiously inhumane government, which has been in power by brute force for 56 years.
May the people of Cuba and elsewhere, where human rights are repressed, breath freedom soon.
Additional Information About Cuba
Life In Cuba Today, by V. Santamaria
Operation Pedro Pan, by V. Santamaria
Is Castro Cuban-Americans’ Hitler?”, by Charles Garcia, CNN
Castro’s Medical Mercenaries, by Susan Kitchens, Forbes