|Translation: "Cuba: The Island Prison"|
6 August 2015
Today I hitchhiked from Belgrade through Three Forks and Townsend to Helena, Montana. I spent some time at the library in Helena and then started walking across town. I was a few miles west of Helena on U.S. 12 when this tractor-trailer pulled over.
I climbed up into the cab and put my backpack on the mattress in the sleeper. The truck driver's name was Jose and he was originally from Havana, Cuba. It was difficult to understand him; he spoke in broken English.
We didn't talk too much. We listened to some American music and then we listened to some Cuban music. Jose gave me a couple of Cokes to drink. He told me that he had been in the United States for ten years--since 2005.
Jose said that he loved being in America and that he would never go back to Cuba. He thought that Montana and Pennsylvania were the most beautiful states that he had seen.
As we got closer to Missoula on I-90, Jose said that he had spent eighteen years in prison in Cuba. He said that he did not like Castro's politics. He told me that he went through electric shock torture and he showed me some scars on his head. He showed me his hands: his fingers were flat and swollen; I think his hands were broken while in prison. He kept repeating, "Look at my hands! Look at my hands!" It was hard to understand his Cuban-accented English. They may have broken his hands in prison, but they did not break his spirit.
Jose said that the Cuban authorities finally let him and his family go to America. He was very happy to be in America.
Jose dropped me off at the Van Buren Exit in Missoula. We shook hands, I climbed down from the cab and he headed to Spokane, Washington.
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