Three times James Major tried to make it off this rustic island, where skeletons of wooden sailboats litter the rocky shoreline. Three times he failed, turned back by U.S. and Bahamian authorities.
Still, the unemployed husband and father of two, who ate toothpaste and sipped saltwater to survive his latest harrowing attempt, says he’s ready to take the illegal journey again.
“Either you die here,” he says, “or you die trying.”
In recent months, dozens have died in crossings launched from these shores as trip organizers, or “managers,” prey on Haitians’ desire to escape this desperately poor country. That has created an opportunity for unscrupulous boat captains to once again turn La Tortue — and Haiti’s poorly patrolled northwest coastline — into a popular jumping-off point for clandestine migrant-smuggling operations into the Bahamas, the Turks and Caicos, and Florida.
Read more at the Herald: http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/01/27/3896881/deadly-voyages-devastate-haitian.html