Living With Regret

Alberto Obaya, 66, speaks about regretting his decision to leave Cuba decades ago. AMARIS CASTILLO/Bodega Stories

Alberto Obaya, 66, speaks about regretting his decision to leave Cuba decades ago.
AMARIS CASTILLO/Bodega Stories

Alberto Obaya left Cuba with three other men in 1970. They fled in a barca — a small boat. As he sat at a wooden table outside Orlando Latin Market, the 66-year-old admitted feeling nervous. A lot happened on that journey.

“Too much happened,” Obaya said, his eyes squinting as he stared ahead. “Eight days and seven nights that were very unpleasant. I don’t want to think about it.”

He said they survived on bread, water and cans of condensed milk. One man almost died along the way.

“I regret it because I left my mother, my father, everybody… to arrive in a country where you don’t know anyone,” he said. “For freedom, in any way.”

To continue reading this story — and hear Obaya speak — visit Bodega Stories.

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