Cuban Stowaway

Last May, three Cubans were found hiding in a cargo ship traveling from Cuba to South Florida.

According to an NBC Miami report, “Port Everglades spokesperson Ellen Kennedy said three Cuban nationals were found by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials hiding in an auto carrier aboard a cargo ship Friday. The cargo ship was carrying movie equipment for the movie `Fast and Furious 8′ from Cuba to Port Everglades.”

“In 2000, 24-year-old Roberto Viza Egües survived 14 hours as a stowaway inside a cargo container on an Air France flight from Havana, Cuba to Paris. He was exposed to freezing temperatures and low oxygen levels and a few hours in suffered an extreme nosebleed. When two Parisian grocers to whom the container had been sent discovered him, he was covered in blood,” said a CNN report


Inspired by these creative ways my compatriotas  resort to, in order to come to the States (and a true story shared by a friend) I wrote “Guaguancó trasatlántico a dos voces.” The story was originally published in French by Magellan Editions, as part of an anthology entitled Nouvelles de Cuba (March 2016).

Faced with the task of translating the title, I felt great sympathy for my translator Anne Casterman. How do I say “guaguancó” in English?

Bueno, it’s a Cuban rhythm, sort of like rumba. So a (very free) translation may be something like “Dancing Rumba across the Atlantic.” Uff.

I just entered the original version in Spanish into an online contest


The “visual aid” comes from actual transatlantic trips Gary and I have taken. But we have never encountered a Cuban Stowaway in them!



About dovalpage

Teresa Dovalpage was born in Havana and now lives in Taos, New Mexico. She has a Ph.D. in Spanish literature and teaches at UNM Taos. She also freelances for Taos News, Profile, Hispanic Executive and other publications. A bilingual author, she has published eight novels, six in Spanish and two in English, two collections of short stories in Spanish and one in English. Her English-language novels are A Girl like Che Guevara (Soho Press, 2004) and Habanera, a Portrait of a Cuban Family (Floricanto Press, 2010). Her collection of short stories The Astral Plane, Stories of Cuba, the Southwest and Beyond was published by the University of New Orleans Press in 2012. In her native Spanish she has authored the novels Muerte de un murciano en La Habana (Death of a Murcian in Havana, Anagrama, 2006, a runner-up for the Herralde Award in Spain), El difunto Fidel (The late Fidel, Renacimiento, 2011, that won the Rincon de la Victoria Award in Spain in 2009), Posesas de La Habana (Haunted Ladies of Havana, PurePlay Press, 2004), La Regenta en La Habana (Edebe Group, Spain, 2012,) Orfeo en el Caribe(Atmósfera Literaria, Spain, 2013) and El retorno de la expatriada (The expat’s return, Egales, Spain, 2014). Her short novel Las Muertas de la West Mesa (The West Mesa Murders, based on a real event) is currently being published in serialized format by Taos News.
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