The Land of the Free
When Lopez was a teenager, his parents decided to leave Cuba for Estados Unidos, the land of freedom and unconstrained access to the internet. “So I left the country with my dad and my mom,” he says. “And we went through Mexico, knowing that the U.S. would take us in if we made it to the border.” In accordance with a 1966 immigration act, any Cuban immigrant who made it to U.S. shores could remain in the States and eventually become a citizen. But for Lopez, his three-day journey to a new life quickly turned into a nightmare.
“In Mexico they caught us,” Lopez recalls.
He was thrown in a Mexican jail, at 15 years old. “My mom, my dad, they took them away. They had me in a different [cell] and we only saw each other on a Thursday.” Days turned into weeks, and then months. “I only had one set of pants and a shirt, and they took away your belt and your shoelaces. And then after three months they finished their investigation, whatever that means. And they just told us, ‘You have 30 days to leave the country.’”