Writing letters graphic

After the Cuban Revolution of the 1950s, many political refugees who fled the island built new lives and started families in South Florida. But in time, their descendants may also need to flee – this time from rising seas.

Cortada: “I want the political refugees of present day Miami to understand that everything they have built is as vulnerable as what their grandparents built for them on the island.”

That’s Xavier Cortada, Artist-in-Residence at Florida International University. As part of a recent exhibit, he asked Cuban refugees to write letters telling future generations what they went through.

Cortada: “There’s a lot of lessons to be learned along the way of what happened when everything went dark, when society turned itself upside down. What did communities do against each other when there was scarcity? And for each other when there was need?”

Cortada wants those lessons to reach the climate refugees of the future, so the letters will be opened 50 to 200 years from now – when rising seas have further flooded Miami.

Cortada: “Miamians are going to need to find their resolve. They’re going to need to figure out how to learn from the DNA of those who came before.”

Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media.
Image graphic: Created by David McCarthy. Letters image courtesy of Xavier Cortada.

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