One step forward, hundreds of kilometres back for Cuban refugee

World

One step forward, hundreds of kilometres back for Cuban refugee

Leonardo Herrera was elated when he saw the US coastline from a migrant boat. Then his dreams were shattered

Maria Elena Vizcaino and Andrew Rosati

More than 15 hours into Leonardo Herrera’s second attempt to reach the US, he was convinced he’d seen Florida.

The 23-year-old mechanic from Boyeros, Cuba, had been focused on the rolling waves that rocked and lifted the wooden boat transporting him, 11 other Cubans and all their hopes for a future free of repression and deprivation. Dolphins tracked alongside. And when Herrera raised his eyes, he believed he saw the dreamed-of coastline, though it was many kilometres away. His companions erupted in joy. Men hugged. Women cried.

“They wanted so badly to get there,” Herrera said. “And we were thriving.”..

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