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We Almost Didn’t Survive

By a Cuban refugee woman

On the 19th of June of 2019 I left my country of birth to seek a better future for myself and my family.  On that day I set out for Guyana.  There I worked with my husband to maintain ourselves with food and housing.  Many days we slept in the street as we had no money, but thanks be to God we achieved some economic stability thanks to a man who gave us cleaning work.

One fine day we decided to leave Guyana and try to get to the United States.

We left for Venezuela on the 24th of May of 2020 and there we were assaulted and our luggage was stolen. By the grace of God we arrived in Colombia where it was difficult but not impossible to survive.

In Colombia they almost killed my husband. He was beaten so badly that he couldn’t walk for three days, When he recovered sufficiently, we began the journey to Panama and this was the most difficult, bad and impossible to forget period of our whole trip.  When we entered the jungle I thought we couldn’t survive as we had already heard many stories.

by L. V. Díaz

My husband and I and a group of Cubans entered the Darien jungle and walked for 11 days and got lost.  We saw people die for lack of food and water.  I was extremely sad to find bodies along the path.  I was raped by a group of men on the 8th day of the journey. That is the worst thing that can happen to anyone and they held a pistol to my husband’s head while they raped me. He had to watch the awful things that they did to me.  Then they stole everything we had and let us continue on the journey.

Thanks be to God we arrived at the camps in Panama.  There they gave us medical attention, food and shelter and for 15 days we stayed waiting for money to be sent by a friend to be able to continue the journey

We continued on to Panama City and then reached the border of Costa Rica and continued on to Nicaragua and from there we quickly arrived at the border of Honduras.

In Honduras we were assaulted in Choluteca and the robbers only took our backpacks and some documents as we had hidden our money. But they beat us up and two of the group ended up in the hospital. It was there that I discovered that I was pregnant.

We continued on the journey to Guatemala and it was better there.  Only the police asked for money to let us continue to travel.

I arrived in Mexico and I began the paper work, but asylum was denied and I continued on to the United States.  Arriving at the border of the United Sates and Mexico at Acuña we crossed the Rio Bravo and there I almost drowned but thanks to a boat from the United States I could get to shore and there I gave myself up to Immigration.  They held us for two days and then sent us on to Casa Juan Diego. Thanks be to God and to Mrs. Louise who received us and for the volunteers who treat us super well and all the people who serve here. I thank God for the United States for letting me be here.

Houston Catholic Worker, Vol. XL, No. 3, July-September 2021.