1995 Photo Contest, General News, 1st prize

Garo Lachinian

The Baltimore Sun

01 September, 1994

A boy swims out to a raft leaving Cojimar beach for a final farewell to his father and brothers. The promise of freedom and prosperity coupled with the desperate situation at home caused tens of thousands of Cubans to take to the sea in an attempt to reach Florida, 150km across the water. When Fidel Castro lifted Cuba's tight travel restrictions in August the exodus reached a peak, with some 2,000 departures a day. Using hastily built, rickety vessels, countless refugees drowned in the shark-infested seas. The influx of Cubans into the US became a major problem for President Clinton. In early September he authorized direct talks to be held in New York, which resulted in an agreement designed to stem the tide of refugees.

About the photographer

Garo Lachinian

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