Sunday, June 13, 2004

New York Times follows harsh immigrant smuggling voyage

"Each hour that passed seemed more unbearable than the last. Meals were only big enough to whet the appetite: a handful of crackers and small cube of cheese at breakfast; a watery vegetable stew with a small plate of sardines and rice at lunch; about the same for dinner."

"The rough waves and asphyxiating humidity quickly took their toll on passengers who had never seen the ocean before, much less ridden across it. They became pale. Their lips cracked and blistered. They complained of dizziness, nausea and diarrhea."

"Sickness spread. The water on board was clearly not safe - there were floating particles visible in every glass - but that was all there was to drink. Many of the passengers said that if they had known they would feel so bad, they would have never embarked on the journey."

"A young passenger named Vinicio said he had lived through worse. He looked about 15, but explained he was a veteran migrant. He had previously tried to reach the United States twice by land, and once by sea. Each time, the authorities caught him and sent him back to Ecuador."

"Home to him was Queens. Vinicio had never made it there. But that is where his parents and two older brothers live, he said, and he would take as many boat rides as necessary until he reached them."

New York Times

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