March 17, 1961

Maria del Carmen Souto


My father left Cuba first because he was being persecuted by the Castro government. Then my sister and I came on March 17, 1961 with student visas and a $5 bill that my Grandfather had given to my sister to hide. We came with only the clothes we were wearing. We went to a campus in Kendall ran by the nuns from Merici Academy and priests from Belen, I believe. Father Walsh went to greet us at the airport along with other children and took us to the campus. There they gave us clothes and took care of us. We even had a chapel in which a Priest said Mass every Sunday. We helped around the campus, kitchen, etc. They had bunk beds in a very large room; the girls stayed at one side of the building and the boys at the other side. We practiced sports and it was a very nice environment. I will never forget it! My mother and small brother (who was 4 at the time) arrived in Miami approx April or May, 1961. By then, my father had 3 jobs and they were able to retrieve us to live with them (in a 1 bedroom apt), because they were moving the children away to foster homes throughout the US. I am now 61 yrs old and I WILL NEVER FORGET the experience. My father has since passed away and my mom is 84 yrs old. It has been quite a ride!!!

Regards, Maria del Carmen Souto

Read more Freedom Flight Memories stories from the Miami Herald

  • JUNE 7th, 1967

    Ana De Los Reyes

    First of all, I would like to thank you for your great efforts in compiling the Freedom Flights date base information. It was with great emotion that I looked up my father's arrival to freedom information.

  • JULY 24 1968

    Miriam Rodriguez

    We arrive on July 24 1968, I remember as soon we were in the plane we heard a welcome from Pres. Johnson, as we arrive in Miami there were a priest & minister to welcome as I will never will forget that day.

  • NOVEMBER 27, 1967

    Ana María Florin

    It was November 27, 1967 when my mother ( now 83 years old), my father (now deceased) and I came to the United states via the Freedom Flight. We planned to come earlier, but the Bay of Pigs invasion delayed our plans since all flights were put on halt.

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