Dr. Alexander Pupo never imagined that one day he would settle down to live permanently outside of Cuba, and that he would leave his loved ones behind in his country, including his daughter.
Last Saturday he arrived in Miami after an irregular journey of almost three months through 14 countries, which began in Jamaica and ended at the border between Mexico and the United States, at the Piedras Negras bridge.
“We landed at the Miami airport and I said to myself, gosh, I am as if I had been born again, in a world totally different from the one I am used to seeing,” the doctor told Radio Televisión Martí in the first interview he gave to a media outlet. of press since his arrival in the United States.
He confesses that he never had plans to leave Cuba, to leave his grandmother, his father and his daughter.
“I left, practically, forced, because I had no plans to live outside of Cuba, nor did I want to go on a mission when I graduated from my degree. It was not among my plans, I wanted to become a specialist and provide health on the island, ”said the doctor, known for his frontal position against the government of Miguel Díaz-Canel, which cost him the expulsion, in 2020, of the neurology specialty.
“You don’t know how bad Cuba is until you set foot in another country… The development, the children in schools, the treatment, even when you’re a migrant. See how people can demonstrate, because we had to see a student demonstration in Medellín, Colombia, another world,” said the doctor, who in Cuba denounced on several occasions having been threatened by the political police.
“On one occasion, a State Security official visited me and informed me that I had a lynching order from the people if I went out into the street,” said Pupo, who, from April 27 to 2 May, he lived under siege, with agents stationed every 50 meters from his house, in the form of cordons, as he himself defines it, “he almost had them on the doorstep.”
He lived the bitter experience of an arrest that he called kidnapping.
“Security tried to recruit me, and when they saw that he had failed, the agents tried to lower my self-esteem, and it didn’t work either. That’s when they move on to personal threats of beatings, family and friends. That’s their manual.”
However, he says that he had no problems when processing the documentation to travel, although he confesses that he took precautions, such as traveling by bicycle and in disguise to Cacocum, another town that he did not belong to.
Thus, he arrived on the day of departure, May 8. Barring an occasional interrogation at the airport and a thorough search by dogs trained to detect drugs, he boarded the plane that took him to Kingston, Jamaica.
He was convinced until the last minute that it would be the first and last time he would visit the airport, because if he did not leave in this one, he would stay in Cuba to continue the fight, and thus he let the agents know that, miraculously, they did not object. .
“When I set foot in Jamaica I told myself, I know I’m out of danger, because even on the plane I was scared,” confessed the doctor from Holguin.
He from Jamaica to Trinidad and Tobago, for a brief stopover, and then to Guyana. From there, the irregular journey. He felt the chase at various points; Fears increased when his cell phone was stolen. He had the impression that he was being followed by GPS. He then tried to always spend as little time as possible in one location.
He was afraid of an attack that could later appear as an attack by the people who were moving him from one place to another, people he knew were dangerous. It was not until he crossed the Rio Grande on July 21 that the fear disappeared.
“At certain moments I felt paranoid. I didn’t know who to trust anymore,” he recalled and it wasn’t until he arrived in Miami that he returned his soul to his body.
“I said to myself, here I will be able to sleep a little more peacefully. Here it will be more difficult for them to find me, and at least I know that I am in a country where there are laws that protect people who do not think the same”, reflected the doctor.
The crossing is very cooked due to its difficulties and setbacks, in addition to the high cost. In the case of Dr. Pupo and his wife, 20,000 dollars were invested until they reached the United States.
“The hardest part is when you leave Cuba, for whom we leave family. The first night, when I arrived in Jamaica, I did not sleep, I spent the whole time crying. I almost dehydrated. I left my grandmother, my father, my girl. I told myself, if I can’t get them out, or if Cuba doesn’t change, I’m not going to hug them again. It is the most difficult, when you look back and say, perhaps, I will never see this land again,” said the young doctor, who entered the United States with a temporary stay permit and the goal of wearing the doctor’s gown again. .
“I have a parole document, and on August 26 the first appearance before Immigration. I plan to revalidate my title. Leaving Cuba only means a new stage in the struggle, because I don’t know how to lose, and I won’t have won until I see Cuba free”, he indicated.