The American Dream

The Cubans


Elizabeth Houlihan

   During these hard times with a current pandemic and an Presidential election coming up, it is easy to say things such as ‘I’m moving to Canada’ or ‘America sucks’ (which is how many people feel these days). Americans have seemed to forget the privileges they have for being born in such a country. In fact, it is such a country that individuals from foriegn socialist countries are putting their lives at risk to get here. 

    Neil Houlihan, an offshore worker for Oceaneering, got to personally experience this:

    “So it was 2015, I was on the Ocean Alliance about 300 miles south of Galveston Texas working for the Shell oil Company in approximately 9,800 feet of sea water. We had just set a jumper in the stones oil field and were in the process of recovering the 150 ton crane big block to the back deck of the vessel when I noticed a glimmer off the horizon to the stern of the vessel. I radioed the bridge and asked the Captain to use his binoculars to see if he could identify the source.


  The Captain radioed back and informed me that it looked like a small craft, or a pleasure craft, that is the term we use for personal boats. 

    It took about 1.5 hours to recover the crane block from 9,800′ so in the process the small boat got closer and closer until I could make it out, without binoculars. It was clearly a hand made boat about 1 long and 8′ wide with a sail made from a few 2×4 s and a sheet. The boat had no motor,  they did have a set of paddles they were using for forward motion and there was no wind that day to power their sail. 


     The small boat came up on our stern then around our port side and we threw them a line to tie off. Now the Ocean Alliance is 350′ long and has 80′ on the beam, basically our life boats are twice the size of the pleasure craft they rolled up on. 


    When I looked down at the vessel I was horrified and in disbelief at the conditions and lack of supplies. There was no food or water, there were about 10 people in this 15′ vessel most of them had on torn clothes and looked like they had heat stroke.


    After speaking with one of them we found out that they ran out of food and water 3 days ago, they had left Cuba trying to get to Florida and claim asylum. They left Cuba over 30 days ago and the current had taken them 500miles to the west. 

     We loaded them up with dry goods, water and cigarettes and informed them that we called the coast guard. As soon as we told them we called the coast guard they threw the line and started to paddle off. If the coast guard caught up with them before they reached American soil, they would be sent back to Cuba. The captain told me that with the sea current they would end up in Brownsville, Texas in about 30 days.

    I never saw them again and I don’t know if the coast guard ever found them. I don’t know if they lived or died.

    Very very sad situation. Ask yourself: how bad it is in Cuba to get in a boat made from tin metal roofing and try and sail across the gulf with a sheet for a sale and the clothes on your back?”. 


    Unlike countries with  dictatorships or monarchies, Americans have the right to vote for their leaders and vote for their well-being. Americans have “freedom of speech” and “freedom of religion” as a Constitutional right, whereas in many other countries such as Iran, Syria, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Cuba, and China do not. 

    Americans do not have to fear a government that can hear their thoughts and words, they get to pursue their hopes and dreams. Americans are allowed to voice opinions without getting federal punishment or getting kicked out of the country. 

    Houlihan also added that “When I was working in Dubai, the guys who lived there were telling me how their only dream was to move to America because of their horrible living conditions. They have five guys living in a tiny 400 square foot apartment because of the socialist aspects.”. 

    Other countries may sound more appealing at the moment, and America may seem like it is very unattractive, but to others in poor, socialist, or third world countries, America seems very glorious.  

    Take these Cubans as an example, they risked their lives and left all they knew in order to reach the United States. Why? Because they knew that the life they could have in America (even if they were living in the worst area possible) would be far better than the life they had in Cuba due to the freedoms they could acquire. 

    In conclusion, Americans have many rights and freedoms that individuals around the world could only dream about, Americans have just grown to take it for granted.