Special: Cubans Who Died and Disappeared on Route to the USA

Special: Cubans Who Died and Disappeared on Route to the USA

2 / marzo / 2023

Since January 2021, thousands of Cubans have embarked on a dangerous journey to the United States, some by sea, others by land. While the majority have made it; stories about the journey, problems, fears, and the tough moments they’ve had to endure will remain in the memories of every individual who made it to their destination. However, migration doesn’t always have a happy ending.

Very little is said about those who don’t make it, because they die or disappear in the attempt. Their names, which are unknown a lot of the time, are lost in incomplete immigration statistics.

For over a year, the team at DeFacto – El Toque’s data and verification unit – has been following press articles, official and informal reports, as well as posts on social media about different migration events that involve Cuban citizens. First of all, we want to know the magnitude of the problem and how many people didn’t make it to their destination. Behind every name, every face, there are families who will never see their loved ones again, there are stories cut short and dreams unfulfilled.

We know that counting the victims of this human drama won’t bring them back; but it will allow us, as a society, to never forget them. Talking about something painful and exposing it is hard; but it’s a necessary step. It’s a way of understanding the gravity of the issue at hand and giving it a human face.

The multimedia special “Migration: a life and death situation” that we are presenting today intends to be a space to honor their memory and pay tribute to victims of migration in recent years and to help their families – as much as we can – in the search for their loved ones.

We have presented an incomplete list, as we haven’t been able to identify all of the names. It’s a starting point that we hope to build upon with the help of relatives, friends and acquaintances.

We’ve organized a structured database as part of this project, where we have set out a series of general categories for every migration event: date, type of migration (sea or land), type of event (deportation, interception, detention, expulsion, death, disappearance or rescue), the country where it happened, the specific place, coordinates, the number of people involved – if known -, the number of women, men or children, and the source country. This complete document is also available to the public.

Meanwhile, we have created identity cards of the people who have perished and others with the identity of those who have disappeared. The process was rigorous and entailed finding out other details such as name and surname, age, home province and country or the place where the event happened. Every case was accompanied by a brief description. Some reports were omitted because of inconsistencies in the story or a lack of context that didn’t allow us to verify the facts.

You can search the names or information about the people involved in this multimedia project. However, if you discover an inaccuracy or have additional information about a person, we would be very grateful if you could please get in touch with us via the form available on https://latravesia.eltoque.com/ or via email at [email protected]. We are also offering this space to publish information if you are searching for a family member or friend.

As we’ve previously said, this isn’t a finished product, so we will be adding other content to the information we present today about migration routes and some stories published in recent months. We will continue to talk about this as long as the current migration crisis persists.

We are publishing this multimedia special for those who got lost on the way, for the families who are still waiting for a response and for those who are considering venturing forth on this dangerous route. During such hard times, we want journalism to shine a light for those who have left.

You can consult the project in full here.

This article was translated into English from the original in Spanish.

If you believe that our journalism is important for Cuba and its people, we want you to know that this is a critical moment.

Behind each publication there is a team that strives to ensure that our products meet high quality standards and adhere to professional and ethical values.

However, to keep a close watch over government, demand transparency, investigate, analyze the problems of our society and make visible the hidden issues on the public agenda is an effort that requires resources.

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