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La paloma y la ley: An 8,000-Mile Migration from Cuba to the United States

Americas Society / Council of the Americas

May 19, 2020


(Lisette Poole)

Young Professionals of the Americas is pleased to host Cuban-American photojournalist Lisette Poole for a conversation and book presentation of La paloma y la ley, her photobook that follows two Cuban women on their 8,000-mile journey through 13 countries from Cuba to the United States in 2016. The book was featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and was chosen as one of TIME’s 30 Best Photobooks of 2019.

We invite you to join us via Webex for an interactive discussion and Q&A – cocktails welcome!

To register, please email Cyndi Balladares at

About the book:
La paloma y la ley follows two women, Marta and Liset, who left Cuba in May 2016 with no plan, just the name of a coyote—a human smuggler—scribbled on a piece of paper, and a dream to make it to the U.S. They hoped to arrive before the imminent end of “wet foot, dry foot,” a policy that fast-tracked Cubans to asylum and permanent residency. Poole followed along on 51 days of this journey through 13 countries, across 10 borders and six days in the Darien Gap—a roadless stretch of jungle between Colombia and Panama. She posed as a migrant and photographed on several formats including a smartphone, 35mm film, and a GoPro. Poole has continued documenting Marta and Liset’s new lives in the United States in the three years since she made the journey with them. Migration is one of the critical issues of our times, but the stories told are often hyper-dramatized, oversimplified, and rarely personal or intimate. La paloma y la ley upends these superficial narratives with one of the most comprehensive accounts of migration ever published. The book renders the journey in all its danger, complexity, and humanity. 

About the writer: 
Poole is currently based in Mexico City after five years in Havana. She graduated with a BA in journalism from San Francisco State University in 2009. Her selected clients include The New York TimesSmithsonian and Time Magazine, among others. She is a Carey Institute for Global Good Nonfiction Program fellow, and in 2017 was granted an Adelante fellowship from the International Women's Media Foundation to document the world of human smuggling in Central and South America. As a first generation American, she grew up surrounded by stories of her own family's migration to the United States fom Cuba, which ultimately compelled her to take the journey herself in 2016. La paloma y la ley is her first book.

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