In "a shining example of life imitating art," in the words of the Daily Mail, two young stars from a movie about escaping Cuba for America have vanished in Miami, after leaving Cuba for the Tribeca Film Festival.
Anailin de la Rua de la Torre and Javier Nunez Florian, both 20, flew from Cuba to the United States on Friday, but neither ended up in New York for their movie's red carpet event-- leaving their co-star to explain what transpired.
"I'm alone here in New York," Dariel Arrechada remarked. Unable to reach his colleagues, he continued: "Well, at the very least, I will go back to Cuba...I have my family there, my friends, my girlfriend..."
"Here, I don't know anyone. Here, I don't know the way of life. I also don't know English very well."
The film's director, Lucy Mulloy, told the Huffington Post that she was surprised by the actors' decision to seemingly abandon their Cuban lives for America, but somewhat sympathetic.
"I really was thinking that they were going to come here and enjoy the festival, and I thought they would love to participate in it...They made a decision, I guess. I just hope they're safe and well."
The Huffington Post continues:
But the movie stars' apparent choice to flee Cuba is not unique to the island's history. In 2008, the number of Cubans trying to escape to United States was at its highest point in more than decade, according to a report by The Economist. In the 2007 fiscal year, nearly 8,000 Cubans sought to flee to the United States and more than 3,000 were intercepted at sea, according to the same report.
And it's not only movie stars who have defected. Cuba has a history of losing its Olympic athletes and baseball players when they are sent abroad to represent their country. At the 1993 Central American Games in Puerto Rico, 40 athletes from the Cuban delegation never made it back to their homeland.
Thousands of Cubans have lost their lives fleeing the totalitarian state, where the average salary is around $20 a month.
"That's their choice, you know?" the actors' co-star concluded. "To be sincere, I think they're going to stay [in America]."