One early morning this April, Dairon Morera climbed onto a raft of aluminum tanks with 22 other people, revved up a Volvo car motor and pushed off the Cuban shore, joining a never-ending stream of islanders desperate to reach the United States.
“The biggest dream a Cuban has is to leave,” said Morera, who was frustrated by government limits on his pizza business. He had no money for airplane tickets or smugglers, so decided to risk his life at sea.
Morera’s journey was so turbulent that many people vomited, but all made it alive in just 20 hours. They ran ashore in the Florida Keys, hugging each other and shouting “Libertad!”
The number of Cubans trying this perilous journey is up sharply this year, with nearly 3,000 picked up by U.S. authorities so far, double last year’s pace.