“They are calm, they are safe”: the wife of one of the Cuban pilots who arrived in the Keys speaks

“They are calm, they are safe”: the wife of one of the Cuban pilots who arrived in the Keys speaks

MIAMI, Florida – “I’m calmer, at least talking to him comforted me, it gave me some peace.” This is what Yaneisy from Cuba said, who was able to speak on the phone this Monday morning with her husband David López Alfonso, one of the two young Cuban pilots who arrived in Key West on Saturday aboard a hang glider. motorized.

His travel companion, Ismael Hernández Chirino, is also in detention. The motorized hang glider with the two Cubans landed safely Saturday morning at Key West International Airport, less than 100 miles from Cuba. Both were arrested and turned over to Border Patrol shortly after landing.

“They’re calm, they’re safe, they haven’t had any accidents and they’ve been treated very well,” López’s wife said from Cuba.

He insists that they are only asking US authorities not to deport young pilots. “They are going to go to prison for life, for life. Everything to seek freedom,” he said.

Through social networks, some circulated the information that the two men were soldiers in Cuba. His relatives confirmed this information and specified that they no longer had any links with the regime.

“To work as a pilot, there are things that are not known, but to start, everyone must be a soldier, in a military way. Here it cannot be done as a civilian, he explained.

According to what his wife told Telemundo 51, they have two young children, and the lack of food has driven David López to the brink of despair.

“We went through the most basic thing we could go through, it’s the most basic thing, you being able to have food for your little ones (…) not seeing that, he became very desperate” , he added.

“Everything they did was crazy, but it went wonderfully well and they are fine,” said Yaneisy, the wife of López Alfonso, who only asks “that they not be deported” to the island.


From the island, the family of these Cubans assured Sunday that they were in shock and extremely concerned after hearing the news of the departure of the two in a “Trike” type ultralight aviation team, registration CU-U-1619 and providing services in the tourism sector where it was used in the air sports modality in the tourist pole of the oriental beaches, in Havana.

“The government is complaining and the Aviation Club too,” says Yaneisy.

“Here they were out of work, and that was the only thing they did, they were commercial airline pilots,” says David López Alfonso’s wife.

For her part, Laura Hernández Chirino, Ismael’s sister, says “they made commercial flights for tourism and with Cubans who could afford it”, so they were “in a house in Tarará that belonged to the club of aviation, waiting for the service to be able to redo commercial flights”.

Hernández’s family say they were unaware of his plans, but they are asking that the youngsters not be sent back to Cuba, as they have been considered “abandoned pilots” by the Cuban authorities, who have called the fact of theft and violation of Cuban, as recognized by the Cuban Aviation Club in a statement.

“If they come back to them, the problem they are going to look for has no words, it cannot be compared to anything. The problem they are going to look for is going to be gigantic, they can never be someone ‘other in their life,’ she worriedly warns Laura Hernández Chirino, Ismael’s sister, who says her parents are unable to talk about what happened.

The Cubans, who had no problems during the flight, arrived in the United States around 10:30 a.m., having left the residential area of ​​Tarará on Cuba’s northern coast around 8:05 a.m.


In October 2002, a Cuban pilot at the controls of an old Russian-made single-engine Antonov plane landed at the Dade-Collier training and transition airport, located in the middle of the huge Everglades wetland.

The plane that departed from Sancti Spiritus, Cuba, was piloted by Rubén Martinez, 29, who worked for the Cuban Air Service Company (ENSA).

Ashley Johnson
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