In the late 20th century, Cubans frequently tried to leave their country and ride on rafts to Miami. Tens of thousands fled, hoping for freedom in the U.S.
Fast forward to modern-day times. Cubans still try to make the trip, albeit not nearly as many as in years past. But every once in a while you’ll hear about someone making it across on a raft or occasionally stowing away a plane.
I recently learned about a tiny little stowaway named Fidel, who made it out of Cuba thanks to the help of a couple from Belarus.
This is Fidel:
The above is a picture from Fidel’s Instagram. Because of course, he has an Instagram. Well, now he does. But he didn’t always have one.
Y’see, Fidel is a cute little ginger who was born in Cuba and found by a couple who live in Belarus. The couple didn’t say exactly how or where in Cuba they found him but they decided to smuggle him home during their trip in what appears to be either late 2019 or very early 2020.
The one problem? They had to take 2 planes.
The first flight was a relatively short one, from Varadero to Cancun. That was followed by an 8-hour flight from Cancun to Brussels. So there was more than one X-ray and bag check to get through.
They managed to hide Fidel in several places throughout the trip, switching him from her bra, to his underpants, to a straw bag, with trips to the lavatory whenever possible so he could stretch out a bit.
There are two videos that tell their story.
The first one is, well, long. Over 13 minutes. But it’s probably as much of little Fidel’s beginnings with his new family as anyone will see (heads up that there’s a little bit of adult language):
This version is edited to be a lot shorter (just a couple of seconds over 3 minutes), and has no adult language.
Having been to Cuba, I know that life on the streets for dogs and cats without owners is pretty grim. I don’t necessarily condone the couple smuggling Fidel home because it’s probably illegal and most definitely against the airlines’ rules. But on the other hand, I suspect he’ll have a much better life in Belarus than in Cuba.
Of course, I’m saying this as one who wanted SO BADLY to bring this little guy home from when we were in Viñales (as well as Havana and Trinidad) in 2016.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary