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Thread: After the landing

  1. #1
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    Post After the landing

    We all have read countless times about how Dominicans leave the island illegally in small boats (Yolas). Their destination of choice is obviously Puerto Rico. Just about 80 miles of sea separates the two islands. Actually when you fly from San Juan to Miami or any other city in that direction, on a clear day it is possible to see the two islands at the same time. So close yet completely different.

    After having lived on the North West coast of Puerto Rico for a while now. I have met many people, both Dominicans and Puerto Ricans who have been involved directly or indirectly with the illegal exodus of Dominicans.

    What I will write further is something which is hardly addressed. What happens after the landing?

    The US coast guard now has five or six new helicopters which are now equipped with thermal equipment which makes it easier to spot a small boat in the dark blue ocean than with naked eyes during the day. This makes an illegal and dangerous journey even more futile as far as the success rate is concerned.

    But, some do make it to the Puerto Rican shores and usually at night. They always seem to land on the secluded beaches of Mayaguez, the northern tip of Aguadilla or as far as Camuy and Arecibo. They cannot land in front of Isabela or Quebradillas because of high waves and reefs which abound these areas.

    Once on land. It is a mad dash to inland areas. Some have no shoes or barely any clothes. Usually one or two will suffer injuries falling over rocks and reefs. Those immobilized are usually killed by their own by strangling or rocks. Most don’t have money on them either. Most will make for some house which looks abandoned, walking in the bushes alongside the roads. As soon as a car comes they hide in the bushes. Now, the coast guard uses spot lights to light up the roadside foliage and pick up many illegals.

    Those who survive the landing. Usually the last thing they have to worry is about Puerto Ricans giving them away. Almost all Puerto Ricans I have talked to, have said that they have helped the Dominicans, given them food and clothing, make calls to their relatives for them etc. Almost all say that if necessary they will help any Dominican who needs help. They are running away from their loco president (Hipolito) they say.

    The next day is the most crucial. The border patrol is on the lookout for those who landed during the night and it is difficult to hide. Plus without any money or food they do not have much time lose before reaching their contact in Puerto Rico. Usually some good Samaritan helps them with a phone call, a temporary shelter etc before the contact can come over and pick them up and take them to their final destination.

    The contact is usually a relative or family friend. This person will keep the illegal around for menial work in a small restaurant, business, construction or a cattle ranch. There they stay until they realize that the whole thing was a mistake or they are discovered.

    The women fare differently. If they are good looking. As if some un-written sequence of events is already planned for them. They will always end up in some rich old guy’s ranch as a maid and sex object or in a brothel in Old San Juan. Some may be lucky to end up a nannys in some well to do house hold. But, they are not immune to sexual overtures of the males who are around. It is common for Puerto Rican men to order a ‘dominicanita’ from one of the countless coyotes who run the business of ‘localizar’ the illegal immigrants.

  2. #2
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    Thumbs down We're a bunch of hypocrites!

    I resent Puerto Ricans for treating us the way we treat Haitians. Shame on them and shame on us!

    BTW, how do you know all this detailed stuff??

  3. #3
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    Im Dominican and proud of it .I love my people and culture , but i feel little sympathy for them .They know Damn well what they are getting themselves into .They know that they are risking thier lives going in to a foriegn country with absolutly nothing.The smarter Dominicans (aside from the ones who come hear legally or go to europe)are the ones that fly to mexico(they are never gonna seal it completely) and cross there . Its dangerous but they can always give themselves into the border patrol or have family members for the states help them . if they get cuaght all they have to say is that they are mexicans from a border town .They have to research the town to know a little something of and pass for mexican,from there they try to cross again .All it takes is a little planning and they can get in illegally .This yola business is sooo not a good idea , i just cant imagine what those people must be thinkin ,its this entire image of streets covered with money that has these people nuts .yes, it sucks being poor in DR , but you will not die .You dont hear about people starving to death in DR , so if these yola people are willing to go through humiliation,poverty,exploitation,abuse,racism,discrimination,pain,and extortion ,to either be dead or become homeless second class citizens in PR then i dont see the point in feeling sorry for them .

  4. #4
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    I have never understood the plight of Dominicans wanting to flee to Puerto Rico? First of all they are risking their life to get there. Second if they get caught, not only will they be sent back to the Dominican Republic , they will never ever have the opportunity to leave the DR legally once they return (i.e. by obtaining a visa or residency for another country). Also the Dominicans are leaving their own country where they are free to do what )albeit likely very poorly if they are wanting to flee to PR) but they want to live illegally in a country where they are treated as the Haitians are treated in the DR. Sure they might make it to PR but then there is even a slimmer possibility of ever making it to New York (which is what I always understood to be the reason for most Dominicans fleeing to PR).

    There is a great Dominican movie that details exactly what the original poster posted about. A Dominican guy that wants to get to New York and goes through Puerto Rico to do it and spends his whole life savings to do so. When he first arrives in Puerto Rico there are many problems because he is there illegally and when he finally makes it to New York he is living a far worse life than he ever had in the DR. I believe the name of the movie is Neuva Yol' (there is also a sequal call Nueva Yol' III - there is no # II) and the main character's name is Balbuena, that's his screen name. Once he arrives in New York he can't work because he doesn't have the legal papers to do so. He ends up working for under the table money as a bus boy and lives with his cousin and about 8 other people in a one bedroom apartment in the slums of New York City. I think all Dominicans that think they are going to strike it rich by either fleeing illegally to Puerto Rico or to New York should watch that movie as it is an excellent dose of reality!

    Edited to add: I have witnessed poverty in the DR to the fullest degree and I can sadly say that yes I do understand the whys of why Dominicans try to flee for the dream of a better life... I only wish the ones doing so were better informed of the reality. I truly feel sorry for people in this very sad situation and it really makes me appreciate the freedom I have been given in life (I am from Canada).

  5. #5
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    Whenever I meet someone in the DR and we spend any time chatting this subject always comes up. I have to laugh when I tell people that just because I take a few vacations that does not make me rich. And when I try to tell them that the streets in New York City are NOT paved with gold, they sort of just look away and divert their attention to something else.
    They don't want to hear reality.
    And alot of it has to do with the dominicans who return to their country with their $100 shoes, gold jewelry that would make Mr.T blush and arrogant attitudes. They give native dominicans an extremely false view of what life is like for them in the US. I told a friend in Santo Domingo that it may come as a surprise to her but I have to WORK for my money. Nobody gives me anything and she seemed genuinely shocked. So go figure.
    As for the "dominicanitas" that are used in the sex industry in Puerto Rico, there is the same underground network here in NYC for dominican girls. Except here they have more options-but the lure of easy money is just too hard to resist for some.

  6. #6
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    Default Yoleros=Locos

    The yola problem is definitely due to the "gran manzana" myth which is encouraged by Dominicans who go back home to visit relatives, television and false pretenses. Again this comes down to social scale differences that exists among Dominicans. This is a crisis that exists among the poor and destitute who think that PR and furthermore NYC are solutions to their problems. Little do they know that if they are poor in the DR and PR they WILL be poor in NYC. If they do make it to "la gran manzana" what kind of jobs are they qualified to do, what skills sets do they have to ascertain a decent paying job, do they speak English and they are "indocumentados". With these negatives how could they think that their life would be better is beyond me. I don't see this problem ending anytime soon and sadly enough people are willing to risk their life and there is no guarantee that the one they are striving for will be any better. Not worth commenting on the under ground "sex industry".


    LDG.
    Last edited by Marianopolita; 04-08-2005 at 08:43 PM. Reason: lexico

  7. #7
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    Unhappy

    They only pay attention to the tales of the people who got there by Yola and not the stories about people dying...

    I recently found out about my friend who supposedly left to go to Spain - thats what she was told. What they did was take her to Morocco and they are supposed to cross into Spain through a Yola. This was 2 weeks ago and no word on her whereabouts... Larry, AZB and Robert, you guys met her

    The SAD part is that when I called her family, they were told she was in Marruecos (Spanish for Morocco) and they all think is this exotic location right near Spain - almost like a 'holding place' or a prelude to getting to the Magical Spain. When I asked them if they knew that Morocco is in AFRICA and that she had to cross the Gibraltar Strait (the friggin sea for God's sake!) they had NO clue what this girl had gotten herself into. So now everyone is worried, did they think it would be that easy to just get into Spain?? For all that trouble, why not go into a Central American country, at least you know the language! If you are willing to cross mountains on foot and take yolas and whatnot...

    None of it makes sense to me. This girl does NOT have 10 kids to support or a husband that is beating her. She was young and beautiful and had a job and lived well. She had more gear than me (b/c all of us brought her so much from the States). But her eyes got full of stars when friends went back to buy jeepetas and everybody is getting tummy tucks.

    This whole thing sucks big time and I already miss my friend!

    BTW - Don Juan, your post is not a fair statement. Yes, there are a lot of people that do not treat others right, but it can be said that Dominicans are guilty of the same sin in the way some treat Haitians. This is going against the original post, I do not want to highjack - but I had to make mention of the fact that as long as people think they have power over others, they will take advantage of it. And yes, I do believe that it is not a fair thing to do. I dont like to say that All Puertoricans are guilty of this, b/c I do not believe that I should be included when people say that ALL Dominicans treat Haitians bad...

  8. #8
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    Default The way I see all of this...

    is unnecessary humiliation for the country! The local news media now has something else to post other than the usual corruption and crime stuff and the international media (more so the Latin American than elsewhere) are at it again, showing every single Dominican yola that attempts to reach PR, but they forget to follow up on the thousands of people crossing into the US via Mexico?!

    Total unnecessary humiliations.

    As if that was not enough, these "yola" trips are evidence that Dominicans in general are risk takers. Many spend their entire life savings to take these trips (from my understanding), the problem is that they are "investing" in a very uncertain venture!

    Many of these people could had started a small business with the money they are wasting in these trips. I'm sure the probability of a small business succeeding far outweight any probability of a successful "yola" trip. By successful, I mean reaching PR and being able to pass as legals or Puerto Ricans, etc.

  9. #9
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    Default A miracle!

    Nals,

    We agree on something! It will rain more in Sto. Domingo.

    I agree with you completely but not only are yoleros wasting money but some make repeated trips thus having had to find the money to pay for each attempted crossing.

    This negative visibility is not only for Dominicans but other countries too have the same issue of nationals fleeing their country. It just depends on what the media wishes to focus on for their own intensive purposes.


    LDG.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lesley D
    ... This is a crisis that exists among the poor and destitute who think that PR and furthermore NYC are solutions to their problems. Little do they know that if they are poor in the DR and PR they WILL be poor in NYC.
    Perhaps if they watched "Nueba Yol" they would think twice before boarding the yola.

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