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!