The Dove and the Law

Lisette Poole González

2016 - Ongoing

"La paloma y la ley" (The Dove and the Law) 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 US. They hoped to arrive before the imminent end of “wet foot, dry foot,” a policy that fast-tracked Cubans to asylum and permanent residency. Photojournalist Lisette Poole followed along on 51 days of this journey through 13 countries, across 10 borders and 6 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. Lisette has continued documenting Marta and Liset’s new lives in the United States in the 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.The book, "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.  

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  • Marta (right) and Liset cross into Brazil from Guayana, one day after leaving Cuba.

  • Marta (center) and Liset (not pictured) are taken with other migrants to a processing station after being picked up by migration
    officials in Peru.

  • Marta and Liset (right) check their phones after arriving in Lima before dawn.

  • In the Darien Gap, the women stop after one of many river crossings.

  • Liset (center) and Marta with other migrants and locals, about to board a boat in the Gulf of Urabá in northern Colombia.

  • Footprints in the Darien Gap.

  • Muddy shoes after crossing the border into Honduras at night.

  • Liset (left) and Marta with a street vendor in Medellín, after going out and partying with local smugglers.

  • Migrants from Cuba and Nepal, camped out in Nicaragua waiting for coyotes to move them to a safe location.

  • Liset arrives in Chicago one day after crossing the border into the US to be reunited with the boyfriend who paid for her journey.

  • Liset in Austin Texas, preparing for a shift at the strip club where she works. July 2018

  • Marta back in Cuba after receiving her green card in the US. She travels home to throw her grandson a birthday party. March 2018