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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Suggested reading: Pedro Pan parents sought to protect their children from the militarization of Cuba's youth, which was in effect an integral part of the emerging revolutionary political culture from 1959 onwards. Article title: Periodismo oficial cubano: con tejado de vidrio... Fecha: mayo 6, 2011. Por: Miriam Celaya. Please copy and paste the following link on your browser: htpp://

Message by Jose Antonio Amaro Reyes | May 12th 2011

Suggested reading: What Pedro Pan parents feared most some 50 years ago did come to fruition. It was in fact the creation of the Circulos Infantiles in 1960 that in large part gave rise to the so-called Patria Potestad rumors. Article title: Adoctrinamiento infantil: un crimen institutionalizado. Fecha: abril 27, 2011. Por: Miriam Celaya. Please copy and paste the following link on your browser:

Message by Jose Antonio Amaro Reyes | May 12th 2011

Video: Primary education in Cuba serves as an instrument of political and ideological intolerance. Some 50 years later the Cuban government continues to implement an educational policy aimed at brainwashing young children with intimidation tactics.

Message by Jose Antonio Amaro Reyes | May 12th 2011

I dedicate this video entitled "Tributo a Papá" to all the Pedro Pan children whose fathers were either executed or sent to Cuba's political prisons by the Castro regime, so that we never forget the "real" reasons why our parents made the difficult decision of sending us abroad some 50 years ago. Part 1: Part 2: Part 3: Part 4: Part 5: Part 6: The video was produced by Instituto de la Memoria Historica Cubana Contra el Totalitarianismo.

Message by Jose Antonio Amaro Reyes | Apr 27th 2011

Pedro Pan "James" Portela passed away. Does anyone remember him? He is not in the Miami Herald's Pedro Pan database. His obituary reads: "James Portela, 66, of Madison,[Va], formerly of Haymarket, passed away on Friday, January 14, 2011. He was born in Havana, Cuba on Sept. 29, 1944 to the late Oscar and Lydia Portela (Crespo). In the early sixties he came to Miami through the Operation Pedro Pan. There he finished high school and later went to Texas to attend St. Edwards University. In 1963 he came to Northern Virginia. Jimmy later went to work for Dewberry & Davis. He began as a land surveyor and worked his way up to a project manager and supervisor in over 30 years with the company. He later worked for Bowman Consulting and the Engineering Groupe before retiring two years ago..."

Message by Jose Antonio Amaro Reyes | Feb 28th 2011

Muchas gracias, Jose Antonio, por el reportaje sobre mi tio-abuelo, Segundo Sera y Serrano. Me da mucho orgullo ser parte de una familia que tanto lucho por la libertad de Cuba y luego por el bienestar de los cubanos. Dios quiera que vuelva a ser una realidad.

Message by Enrique J Sera Hernandez | Feb 26th 2011

Gracias Jose Antonio, voy a tratar de entrar en Facebook, si he leido el articulo de las cubanas que regresaron de visita a colfax hace ya varios anos son amistades mias,y cada vez que veo fotos de St John's academy en Colfax es emocionante, trae muchos recuerdos.Gracias

Message by Delia Rojas | Feb 17th 2011

¡Felicidades en el día de San Valentín!Para informarse sobre los orígenes del celebrado día, veáse:

Message by Marcia Caridad Ramos Gonzalez | Feb 14th 2011

tHANK'S JOSE ANTONIO, ya la tengo, ya entre en la pagina de muy interesante, well bye now kid un abrazo "El Frances"

Message by Eddie Enrique Fernandez Tramezaygues | Feb 13th 2011

Award-winning NYT journalist Mirta Ojito, who fled Cuba at age 16 during the Mariel boatlift in 1980, returned to Havana immediately following the Pope's visit in 1998 and filed the following story about Cuba's children. Given current social and economic conditions, her story is still relevant some 13 years later. Havana Journal; Divided Loyalties Tugging at Cuba's Children/The New York Times/By Mirta Ojito/Published: February 18, 1998: HAVANA — More than eight years after the cold war melted in the rubble of the Berlin wall, the children of Cuba continue to dive under desks in schools all over the island. The drills serve to reinforce the most pervasive ideological lesson in Cuba's schools: that the United States is evil and that Cubans must always be ready to defend themselves. That old message, fashioned after the Bay of Pigs invasion and the missile crisis in the early 1960's, is fed constantly to children here even when there are no tensions between the United States and any other country, as there are with Iraq now. But it is an especially poignant message today when most families in Cuba have relatives in the United States and when, faced with enormous economic difficulties, the Cuban Government has allowed dollars to circulate freely on the island. Nowadays, when children come home from the war drills, they slip on shoes bought with dollars sent by their grandparents in Miami or, in some cases, they work odd jobs catering to American tourists to earn dollars themselves. In the mornings, William Jose Diaz, a 12-year-old Pioneer who is in eighth grade, swears to defend the Cuban flag against ''los Americanos.'' In the evenings, he rushes to open the doors of tourists cars. He works outside Pain de Paris, an expensive bakery in Vedado. Most nights, he makes at least $2. When someone handed him $1 recently, the boy rushed home to buy bananas for dinner. Years ago, it was easier for parents to keep their children blissfully unaware of both their true political feelings and the hardships they went through. But now, with the country's economy in chaos, even young children know that once they turn 7 they lose the right to buy milk. They know that the Government issues only two school uniforms during elementary school -- one in kindergarten and the other in fifth grade. And that they are no longer able to buy toys because the Government did away with the yearly ritual of selling toys to children on the 26th of July, the anniversary of the beginning of Fidel Castro's armed uprising in 1953. The contradictions of their young lives -- hearing one message in school and another, radically different, at home -- confuses some children. Their teachers want them to fight the Americans; their parents want to join them or, at least, to get some of their dollars. ''Mom,'' a 7-year-old girl recently asked her mother, ''if William Clinton is so bad, why do we want to go live with him?'' Trusting their children and thinking them ready to absorb contrasting messages, many parents openly discuss their beliefs in front of them and even mock the revolutionary slogans and songs they bring home. But then they ask their children to keep it to themselves. Some parents fear that their children will be ostracized if their teachers know that they live in a non-revolutionary home. Parents who make a living in what the Government considers illegal activities -- renting a room or selling cigars without a license -- also fear that, if their children talk, the Government may confiscate their goods, fine them or, in some cases, jail them. The burden of living in two distinct realities affects some children in psychological and physical ways. Teresita, a 14-year-old ninth grader who lives in Old Havana, said she had never told her best friend that her parents desperately want to leave the country. She has also never told anyone that, when the doors are locked, her mother rants against President Castro, blaming his Government for the scarcities in their home. Two months ago, Teresita began to shed the hairs of her arms and legs. The doctors told her that she lacked some essential vitamins in her diet; the mother thinks it is a result of stress. A 52-year-old writer who insisted on being identified only by his first name, Angel, cannot stand a song praising the revolution that his 9-year-old daughter has been singing lately. He tells her to stop and his daughter obeys. The mother, worried about her daughter, intercedes. ''You want your children to be a full member of the family, to know how you feel about everything,'' said the mother, a member of the Communist Party who long ago grew disenchanted with the revolution but outside the home pretends to be as enthusiastic as ever. ''But I worry sometimes how all this is going to affect her and how much contradiction she can really absorb in her young mind.'' Yet the girl's mother, in a fit of anger, recently ripped to pieces her red Communist Party ID and threw it out the window. It was her daughter who ran three flights downstairs in a panic to retrieve the picture from the sidewalk so that no one would ever know what her mother had done. While Angel helps his daughter with her homework, he systematically deconstructs everything she has been taught at school. She is now learning about Jose Marti, a 19th-century patriot who fought to free Cuba from Spanish colonialism. In Cuba today, Marti is also regarded as the intellectual precursor of the revolution. Angel tells his daughter that Marti would never have supported Mr. Castro's Government. The little girl giggles and rolls her eyes. But there is very little that parents can do to shape their children's education. In a country with no private schools and compulsory education until ninth grade, parents are forced to send their children to state-run schools. They also have no say about the curriculum and, more and more these days, very little about their children's extracurricular activities. Some parents try to exert control by taking their children late to school to avoid the morning ritual where students salute the flag, sing the national anthem and repeat revolutionary slogans. Others are turning to religion, hoping that lessons in catechism will open their children's minds to other points of view. The Roman Catholic Church is taking full advantage of it. To make the shift easier for the children, it is incorporating some of the messages children hear in school into Sunday sermons. It is not unusual for priests now to somehow link Cuba's patriots to religion. At a recent Mass here, Jaime Cardinal Ortega Alamino drew cheers from his mostly young listeners when he reminded them that the full name of Antonio Maceo, one of Cuba's most revered martyrs, was Antonio de la Caridad, a clear reference to Cuba's patriot saint, Our Lady of Charity. Priests in some churches are also enticing children to attend Mass and catechism classes through a system of bonuses and rewards. Children receive bonuses for every Mass and catechism class they attend. Once a week, they can exchange the bonuses for gifts like gum, clothing, pencils and toys, all donated from churches abroad. ''They get things they want and need and we get an opportunity to show them the church's way,'' said the Rev. Jesus Maria Lusarreta, a priest at La Milagrosa, where more than 400 children attend catechism weekly. During his five-day visit to Cuba in January, Pope John Paul II referred to Cuba's youth in two of the four Masses he held. At the first, in Santa Clara, some parents nodded in silence when the Pope said, ''Parents must be acknowledged as the first and foremost educators of their children.'' But it is difficult for parents to heed the Pope's words. Elementary school children go to school here from 8 A.M. to 4:20 P.M. On Saturdays, they often return to school for sports or political events. Sometimes they sleep over in the school to await so-called Domingos de Defensa, Sundays of Defense, days in which the children practice what it is like to be under attack and receive their lessons in a bunker. Marta Perez Herrera, deputy director of Pepito Tey, an elementary school in Old Havana, said that, beginning in third grade, children are trained by members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces, who teach them everything from patriotic symbols to military moves. At a recent practice session in a park, uniformed men were training young children to march as one. While the children marched, a 16-year-old girl in tight pink shorts stood in a corner a few blocks away eyeing foreigners. The girl, Yanel Noa, said she dropped out of school because she did not want to work in the fields, a requirement for all students in high school. Had she continued in school, she would have become a dancer, she said. For now, she lives off the charity of a special friend: a 32-year-old married American man who often travels to Cuba loaded with cash.

Message by Marcia Caridad Ramos Gonzalez | Jan 31st 2011

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