Cuban immigrants, who just this year got access to WiFi, have learned to use apps and smartphones to get themselves safely across South America and into the United States. Not kidding.
Cubans have just created a modern-day Underground Railroad through South America using social media.
Credit: @nacion / Twitter
Cubans had their first experience with WiFi in the summer of 2015 meaning that many of these immigrants have never had full access to this kind of technology.
What are Cubans using to make the journey? Facebook Messenger, mainly.
— ✿ A D E L K I S (@Im_Adelkis) November 20, 2015
Credit: @ImAdelkis / Twitter
“Those who’ve arrived have gotten in touch with their acquaintances, their friends, and tell them how the route is,” Lideisy Hernandez told the Associated Press. “That means that no one needs a coyote. You go making friends along the way. I myself have 70, 80-something friends on Facebook who’ve already gotten to the United States.”
The digitally-led Cuban migration is proving that social media is powerful enough to cut out illegal and dangerous human smuggling.
— Miami Herald (@MiamiHerald) November 20, 2015
Credit: @MiamiHerald / Twitter
As Cuban immigrants make their way through the 8 different countries and borders, the send messages to those behind them letting them know where it is safe to stay overnight, where they can pick up money wired to them by family, and what time they should arrive at a particular stop.
Border disputes between South American countries have caused several blocks, but the Cuban people just keep waiting and moving when they can.
— Fox News Latino (@foxnewslatino) November 18, 2015
Credit: @foxnewslatino / Twitter
The mass migration was triggered by the talks to normalize diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States. Cuban nationals fear that the talks between Cuba and the U.S. could lead to the end of the “wet foot, dry foot” policy without real diplomatic change within Cuba.
Take away? Social media has proven itself worthy of more than just drunk status updates and check-ins to your favorite café…
— The Tico Times (@TheTicoTimes) November 13, 2015
Credit: @TheTicoTimes / Twitter
“The first ones, sure, they had to do this with ‘contacts,’ the great majority had coyotes,” Mario Martinez, a 24-year-old Cuban migrant, told the Associated Press. “But there were coyotes who were picking people up to cheat them, to kill people, to rape them. So now we Cubans are showing each other how to do the journey on our own.”