Leiva left Cuba for Miami in 2005, but wanted to return. He tried to re-enter Cuba legally but was denied by the government. After a three-month stay in 2008, he was forced to return to America. An attempt to return legally last year was also thwarted.
Wishing to continue his political activism in the country and to be closer to his mother, Leiva took off for the island on March 22, but his boat capsized. His body was identified by his sister at a Havana morgue.
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In an open letter in 2008 to Barack Obama and Raul Castro, Leiva asked for easing of relations between the two countries on the condition that Cubans received more basic rights.
He also opposed the "wet foot/dry foot" policy, saying it had lead to the deaths of many Cubans.
The policy of receiving Cubans illegally entering the United States with the benefit of "the Cuban Adjustment Act. . . has contributed to the deaths of thousands of people in the Straits of Florida. It remains unchanged and adapt to the new reality of migration, would continue to encourage human trafficking and the deaths of more Cubans at sea.