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Escape from Cuba and an odyssey to a new life in the US

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Megan Janetsky, Ariel Fernandez, Ramon Espinosa and Carmona Ismael Francisco in Havana, and Allen Breed and Martha Lavandier in the United States, collaborated to tell the story of two young adult Cuban sisters’ risky 4,200-mile journey to the United States and a new life.

The AP followed the Rolo González sisters across four counties from their home in Havana to their ultimate destination in Daytona Beach, Florida. Fernandez, Havana video journalist Fernandez had known the two since they were children, and their family trusted him to relate their personal experiences from the heart-wrenching decision to leave family and everything they knew behind, to what to carry in small backpacks. The result was a multi-format story by Janetsky, with video by Fernandez, photos by Espinosa and Lavandier and a CR video narrated by Breed. It took coordination and close work between the staff in Cuba and the United States, but through the voices of the sisters themselves, AP could tell the harrowing story experienced by thousands of Cubans that venture into similar journeys in the hope of a better life.

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