It’s dusk, and I’m hanging on a rooftop with a family I just met on the east coast of Cuba. Another power outage has blackened the streets, the shark-finned cars parked on cracked concrete, the one-story pastel houses washed yellow by the full moonlight. Four generations are here, and all of us save the baby are drinking rum and Cokes.
I’ve provided the libations and smokes (Cubans earn less per month than the average American does in two hours) but it’s their roof, candles, and red plastic chairs facing out toward the Bay of Honey.
A pair of floodlights shines inland from the maritime horizon and sweeps the shoreline. “It’s cat and mouse,” someone on our rooftop says. I’m confused until I see what he’s talking about: On the shoreline, a group of five push a motorboat into the bay. They jump in -- first the women, then the men -- paddle out to sea. “They’ll start the engine once they know they can beat the coast guard,” my friend continues. “The family pays $5,000 up front, then another $15,000 when they reach Miami.” They row until their boat is enveloped by the distant blackness.