Message from Pedro Pan Eloísa Echazábal. Below the link to the Miami Dade College announcement dated July 8th regarding the upcoming Freedom Tower exhibit about the Cuban exile experience. This exhibit will be launched in mid-September. The first exile focus will be on the Pedro Pan exodus. Most of us who reunited with our parents in Miami remember visiting the Freedom Tower for the services the U.S. government made available to the newly arriving Cuban exiles. The Pedro Pan exhibit will last about two years. Miami Dade College and The Miami Herald Media Company invited me to collaborate with them when the plans were first developed about two years ago, and I was ecstatic with the opportunity. Also collaborating with their memorabilia and photos are Operation Pedro Pan Group Inc.organization, Barry University Archives and Special Collections, University of Miami Cuban Heritage Collection and Florida International University Libraries. As soon as the next official announcement comes out, I will forward. In the meantime, I would like to let you know that a "collecting day" is being planned for Saturday, July 26th, from 12 to 4 p.m. at the Freedom Tower. This is the day when Pedro Pans will have the opportunity to bring memorabilia regarding our Pedro Pan days to be loaned to the exhibit. Required receipts and documentation will be available there. Courtesy parking on the open lot across the street south of the Tower. Entrance on N.E. 5th street. Just let the attendant know you are coming to the Tower to bring your items. This is a great opportunity to showcase our experience. Again, as additional announcements are released, I'll forward.

José Antonio Amaro Reyes

General Information
Current Name
Jose Antonio Amaro Reyes
Current Location
United States of America
Name on Arrival
José Antonio Amaro Reyes
Age on Arrival
Date of Arrival
Tuesday, August 14, 1962
Relocated To
CWB Matecumbe

José Antonio's Story

Remarks:An English translation is provided below for non-Spanish speaking relatives and friends.

Nací en el antiguo municipio de Holguín de la antigua provincia de Oriente en el año 1948. Fui bauti...

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Compay Amaro y to's los demás con lo del libro: Ahora sí que me han/me he metido en camisa de once varas! Estoy colorada de vergüenza por parecer que me estoy haciendo de rogar. ¡Pero si ustedes no me están rogando nada... me están extorcionando! Well, you have given me a gift beyond all expectations: friends who don't know all about me and still love me. I am very thankful. --I gotta go out to lunch with my husband, aprovechando que tengo ayuda con mami. Back later! I love you all too.

Message by Marcia Caridad Ramos Gonzalez | Aug 16th 2009

Absolutely and positively no need to would you know? Thank you for your heartfelt sentiments...don't worry, I will continue... plus we have that little project underhand with Carmen....I hope to get to it soon...Best regards.

Message by Susy Rodriguez | Aug 16th 2009

You are right...I was about to but I stopped. Sometimes I catch myself when I find that I'm letting too much of my thoughts and feelings "out of the bag". Please, allow me sometime and slowly I should come thru. July and August have been terribly devastating months with the unexpected short illness and passing of my brother Jorge, on the same day the passing of a close co-worker, a friend's mother and most tragically the hit and run death of a good friend's 36 year old son. I don't want to be too emotional when I write (and I love to write), so that I may be more objective and less corny. Best regards.

Message by Susy Rodriguez | Aug 16th 2009

Hola José Antonio: Contestando tu pregunta, la mayoría de los archivos estan en Barry University. Puedes enviarle un email a la hermana religiosa que está a cargo de ellos, Sister Dorothy Jehle,, y hacerle tu pregunta acerca de la profesora que tuviste en el campamento. Los archivos ahora no estan organizados, así que no sé si la respuesta se pudiera conseguir fácilmente. Hasta ahora Barry no ha tenido los fondos para organizar estas cosas, por eso es que yo estoy trabajando para ver si ese problema se resuelve. Estoy ahora organizando un fundraising campaign al cual se le dará publicidad, así que todo el mundo se enterará. Con los fondos que hay ahora, ya Barry está a punto de contratar una archivista que va a comenzar el proyecto, pero hacen falta mas fondos para hacer lo demás. Lo que tiene FIU son VHS tapes de entrevistas con Pedro Panes como parte del proyecto del Profesor Miguel Gonzalez-Pando, que falleció antes de completar su proyecto. Después que te comuniques con Sister Dorothy, si necesitas otra información, por favor, dímelo. Eloísa

Message by Eloisa Echazabal | Aug 15th 2009

Thanks Jose Antonio, I am so glad you liked it. I got up today thinking of my father and before I knew it the whole thing just flowed.

Message by Carmen Valdivia | Aug 13th 2009

Absolutely, on asking Carmen...she seems to be on the ball...besides, doesn't she live locally in Miami? You have access to my e-mail address but I don't to yours...Would u like to e-mail me, include Carmen and then we can coordinate the wording for the PP administrator? I'm almost sure that he/she will post it. I'm beginning to feel like part of a big old family with a common sentiment and shared experiences. Jose Antonio, throughout the years, I've found good people that just could not relate or understand what this group has carried inside. OOPS, gotta go! Swamped again today...Best regards, Susy

Message by Susy Rodriguez | Aug 13th 2009

José Antonio: My sympathies for your having to experience Florence SC in the 80's. That is a fate I wouldn't wish to ... well, come to think of it, I would wish it for a few people in Cuba whose name I rather not stain the page with.---I'll tell you a little story: My husband and I moved to in St. Augustine, Florida after living in Gainesville while he finished his studies. I LOVE St. Augustine. It's where I've felt most at home since leaving Cuba. We were there four years. During some trip we took going north, I remember spending the night in the Florence, SC area and that I commented on what a desolate, souless place it seemed to me, and how I would wither away if I had to live there. When my husband announced to me that he had a job offer in Columbia, SC and that he wanted to accept it, the sky came crashing down on my head. The children were small and it was my duty to support my husband's career, so I came along. Fortunately, Columbia is much, much nicer than Florence. It is geographically well endowed, with gentle hills and three rivers flowing through here. The summers can be brutal, but the season is short and the springs and falls are lovely, the winters mild. In the late 70's and 80's it was a rather backwards place, culturally and socially. The first six years I was here I cried every day. Mostly because I missed being near my parents who stayed behind in Gainesville, but they managed to come often to see the grandchildren, and I drove to visit them every chance I had. In time, of course, we made good friends here, and the town actually began to improve. My husband was the director of the new, wonderful SC State Museum and other amenities began to appear. It was a relatively safe place to raise the kids and so, here we are. However, I still say half-jokingly, half seriously that I've been serving time here. I am not sure where I'd feel like home anymore. Florida doesn't do it for me, and I've gotten used to the changes of season. So I've concluded that "home" is what we carry around in our hearts, which is essentially our family.--You should not remain with an impression of this state based only on the Florence, Conway, Myrtle Beach area. There are other parts of SC, like Charleston, Greenville-Spartanburg, and the Aiken areas that are well worth seeing. You are welcome to come visit anytime. Yolanda

Message by Marcia Caridad Ramos Gonzalez | Aug 12th 2009

Thanks for all instructions...I've been swamped today so haven't had a chance to check it out On the plaque idea...what do you think if we ask the PP Administrator to post something about it..1) We'll get feedback....2) Maybe someone knows someone, who knows someone that can guide us on how to start our quest.

Message by Susy Rodriguez | Aug 12th 2009

Compay, que alivio que no fui yo la que tubo que escribir esas instrucciones. Kudos for an awsome job. Carmen

Message by Carmen Valdivia | Aug 12th 2009

Susana, thank you for your generous comments on getting things rolling on a commemorative plaque for the Florida City Camp. Bear in mind, however, that for it to become a reality we must all express an interest. As you know, no movement ever reaches critical mass without a large number of people getting behind it. Hopefully, the remainder of our Pedro Pan brothers and sisters will join us in expressing such an interest. Needless to say, it gratifies my heart immensily to know that you support it. Now we need to reach out to others for their support as well. As Carmen so wisely noted: "no hay peor gestión que la que no se hace." I'm very sorry you weren't able to see the current condition of what used to be the Florida City Camp using Google. Perhaps your memories of the camp are a bit too fuzzy at the moment. I would suggest you visit the Miami Herald's Pedro Pan website, where several pictures of the camp are on display. Better yet, you might want to paste the link included below to your browser and go directly to it. Image # 1 provides a panoramic view of the camp. The picture was taken from the second floor of the building where many of the girls'homes were located; that is, from a south to north direction. Looking westward, you'll see many of the individual houses where the boys lived while looking eastward you'll see the cafeteria (comedor)buiding as well as other buildings, which housed mostly boys also. Once you have refreshed your memory, you might want to go back to the Google instructions I provided. The address I chose will place you half-way the street that cuts across the camp from north to south. If you followed the directions correctly, you probably saw the front of the house that corresponds to the aforementioned address(one of the boys'houses). Next, look up at the Google navigating tool on the upper left corner; it looks like a car's steering wheel with 4 arrow heads. Click on the arrow head pointing left until you see s full view of the street appear on the screen. By the way, at the end of the street, in the far distance, you will see the girls' building. To travel up and down the street with the navigator, place the cursor or mouse pointer on the street and a line with arrow heads pointing in opposite directions will automatically appear. Assuming that you might want to travel towards the girls' building, you would have to click on the arrow head pointing in that direction. As you will notice every single time you click on it, you'll be moving closer toward the building. In other words, you'll be navigating. If along the way you feel like looking at the front of a house, go back to the navigation control on the upper left corner and click on the appropriate arrow head. By the way, whenever you move the cursor away from the street, the navigation line will disappear. Here's the http address to the Miami Herald's Florida City pictures I mentioned earlier: If, by any chance, you deem it necessary to ask for further assistance, please, do not hesitate to ask. Estoy a tu disposición. Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts. Warm regards, José Antonio Amaro Reyes

Message by Marcia Caridad Ramos Gonzalez | Aug 12th 2009

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