The title of this blog and the coming Graphic Novel comes from a defiant tattoo that Jorge Alvart put on his chest when he was in prison in his native Cuba. It reads “A noventa millas soy feliz” (I’m happy at 90 miles), that being the distance that separates Cuba from Florida.

At the age of 20 he was sentenced to a four year in jail for “illegal emigration” after trying to flee the island on a raft. After much abuse in prison he injected petroleum into his arms in a desparate bid to be set free, which he was, after being denied medical attention for several days until  both gangrened arms were amputated.

He was imprisoned again without trial after attempting to get his story to the attention of the American Interests Section in Havana. Obtaining release after a hunger strike and several suicide attempts, Jorge was more determined than ever to leave. Now he had a wife and two children, whom he promised to send for once he’d reach the US.

The story of his fifth and final attempt is an odyssey like no other, a testament to human will and endurance and the power of hope.

Jorge (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)

Please take the time to watch this short video we made, in which Jorge has a message for the visitors of this blog.

“People love liberty, even if they do not know that they love it.

They are driven by it and flee from where it does not exist.”

José Martí

Written by IPH on Feb 21,2009 in: |

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