Al Diaz, a veteran photographer at The Miami Herald, has covered breaking news stories throughout the Americas. During the summer of 1994, he was on the scene in Cuba when thousands of people attempted to leave the country on boats and rafts. Balseros–A Desperate Journey, presented in a series of twenty-two vivid color photographs, captures this dramatic moment. They reveal the frenzy of Cubans fleeing their country: people demolishing their homes and making vessels out of the debris, a woman praying for guidance while clinging to her life preserver, a rafter righting his boat as it overturns, well-wishers gathering to see off family and friends and a Cuban police officer dispersing a crowd of onlookers after the body of a rafter washes ashore. As a result of this exodus, the U.S. government adopted its “wet-foot, dry-foot” immigration policy for Cuban refugees.
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