An airline company at the time, Panam Airlines, was making flights between the United States and Cuba. With falsified visas, Volker and her grandmother made it past security and were able to safely take a flight to Miami where Maria Volker was raised by just her grandmother.
Volker’s parents were not as fortunate. When trying to escape, they were caught. Her parents, as she stated, “Were beaten and tortured, then jailed.” Growing up in Miami for years, Volker did not know her parents. Several years later, her parents were able to make it to the United States safely.
Volker lived in Miami until she was 32 years old. Her life now is much different than how it would have been if she still lived in Cuba. Many would think of her as an immigrant, but since she came from Cuba, she is not an immigrant, she is a political refugee. An immigrant is a foreign person who simply relocates to live in another country, were as a refugee is a person who moves to another country out of fear or necessity.
She is now a spanish language teacher at HR and has been for many years. Her grandmother’s attempt to risk everything to hopefully start a better life worked out how she has hoped. Volker mentioned, “I am thankful for my grandmother taking the risk she did, for my future”.
Logan Haak, guest reporter