The Route was Never the Destination

“We have become migrants....but one day we will arrive.” Short film about a Cuban family that had to flee their country.

*The film is only available with German subtitles at the moment. A translated version will follow.

This film documents the fate of a Cuban family that wanted to immigrate to the USA. For many years, Cuban citizens generally received the right of residence in the USA as long as they arrived via land. Fearing that this regulation might change in the context of greater political rapprochement between Cuba and the USA, an especially large number of people have left their native island lately. Hoping for a better life, they undertook arduous journeys via third states to the USA.

One example is Odalys Valderra, her daughters Claudia and Mirtha, and Mirtha's 4 children. The family is robbed on the way, but nonetheless manages to make it to the Panamanian province of Chiriquí via foot, boat, plane and bus. There, their journey comes to an end for the time being, as one of the children was born en route in Ecuador and doesn't have a Cuban passport. And while 3,500 Cuban refugees are airlifted out of Panama, the family remains in a state of legal “limbo”, as a return to Cuba is impossible as well.

Filmmaker Luis Romero interviewed the family on their stopover in Panama, creating a documentary that constitutes a snapshot of the family on their way into an uncertain future.

Addendum: The FES has learned that the family reached the USA via land on October 31, 2016. As it turned out on January 12, 2017, Cubans' fears of a change in US immigration law were justified. On this day, US president Obama declared the immediate end to visa-free overland immigration for Cubans.



Short Film Program: “People in Motion” – Why do People leave their Homes? What Paths do they Take?

In cooperation with local partners, the FES international offices produced a short film program that deals with these questions. The films are available on our TOPIC pages “Flight, Migration, Integration”. Please feel free to use them for your own events.




Return. In the 90s Lana Mayer fled Croatia for Germany. Now she has returned to Vukovar. This film tells her story.

Move. Three people leave their homes and end up in Namibia. In the short movie “Move”, they reflect upon migration, European double standards and imbalances of power.

The Rainbow-Center of Gaziantep. “Exile offers the chance of overcoming the shadow of violence”. A short film on Syrian dissidents caring for traumatized children.

Caught in the Middle – Migration in Ethiopia. “I do not want my children to live in fear, like I did”. A short film about Ethiopian refugees in Sudan.

Chaught in the Middle, Part 2. Elsa's husband, Yosef, has arrived in Sweden. He has not yet been able to bring his family. Part 2 of the short film “ Between Two Stools”.

Jaminton and Yannia are Leaving. Displaced in one's own country. A short film about a family in Colombia who have become internally displaced due to civil war and violence.

Unseen Shadows - Those who are left behind. A short film on the challenges of women and families in India, whose men have migrated in search of work.

Asfur - Syrian Refugees in Turkey. "Asfur" gives an insight into the life situation of Syrians who had to flee from the war zone Syria and now living in Hatay (Turkey).

Cyber-Mom. A short film about three children from Central American El Salvador who are raised by their grandparents because their parents have migrated to the USA for work.