Dario Avello Muro
I was not aware that I was in the Pedro Pan roster, so this has been a great surprise.
I was born in Holguin, Oriente on December 25, 1946. My mother's family was residing there, we lived in Havana and were visiting for Christmas and a "Gonzalez de Riancho" family reunion. My father was from Santa Isabel de las Lajas. Benny More and his family had quite a lot of interaction with the Avello's in that town. I started my schooling in the Children's Garden de La Salle, Vedado, Havana and attended simultaneous sessions thereof in English and Spanish. I did my first 4 primary years in La Salle del Vedado, part of my 5th grade in La Salle del Centro Civico and Maristas, Holguin. I also was interned in Los Maristas de Cienfuegos where I coursed a semester of 5th grade primary and part of my high school. My Ingreso and 1st Year of Bachillerato were mixed between the Maristas' Cienfuegos boarding school and the Marista's Holguin school, the latter while residing in a guest house in Holguin run by an English teacher and his mother (Sergio Torralba and Celina) in the Maristas school. My upper litter bunkmate was a kid with a last name of Ruz (Fidel's first cousin on his mother's side) and in the room next to ours were two of Ramon's sons (Castro, that is). Our home was in Nicaro, the site of a nickel refining plant on the bay of Levisa. It was an American town transplanted into the Cuban countryside. While living in Holguin during the school year, I joined the Boy Scouts and belonged to the troop in Holguin. This town was under siege for several months the latter half of 1958 with no running water, or electricity. During that period, I was staying with my mother in her parent's home (the house in which I was born, Maceo 169), while my father was in Nicaro, separated by the fighting around us. I recall my younger brother frightened by the sound of fire fights between the rebels and government soldiers being calmed by my maternal grandfather by his telling that the sounds were just 'lightbulbs' popping. On December 26, 1958, my mother, myself and 3 younger brothers piled onto a jeep owned by an American missionary who was going back to his mission between Gibara and Holguin. He consented to take us to Gibara. Several times we had to go off road due to mines laid by the rebels. Our gardener rode a bicyle ahead of the jeep to ensure we would not suffer an attack by the rebels or the government soldiers. Several stretches bore the evidence of exploded mines. That evening there was gunfire heard, nothing new. The next morning we took a boat that sailed from Gibara to Nicaro, via Nipe Bay. We arrived the 27th in the afternoon. On the early morning hours of the 1st of January, 1959, I woke up to the sounds of weapons that were being fired at a ship trying to leave Levisa Bay, carrying Government Soldiers that were escaping via that route. That morning I got a glimpse of the "Barbudos" as they walked up the hill past our house. I recall the distinctive 26 of July Armband and the rosaries hanging about their necks, visible through their beards, I was just 12 years old six days before.
We had a faction in our family who were pro-Castro. I remember well the growing ideological chasm between family members I loved dearly. Witnessing such chaos hardened my resolve not to follow a system that did such damage to family cohesion. That resolve peaked at the point when my family decided to get us out of Cuba after April 1961. Because the pro Castro faction of my family wanted to keep me there at all costs, they forced my father, as a condition for their not interfering with our departure, to let me and my second brother, Mario, spend several weeks with them (at separate times, not together). The objective there being to show me (us) the accoutrements of power and political stature and influence. I was also technically legally emancipated so that I could decide as an adult at age 14 whether I wanted to leave or stay. I made up my mind rather quickly and my family got me and my siblings out by arranging for falsified US Visas (My father had permanent entry but we did not). So we left on November 18th, 1961 with my father but without my mother and sister, who were left behind on a technicality error on my mother's compound last name. She was able to join us about 5 months thereafter.
Once our family was reunited, we spent another year or so in Miami and then, during summer of 1963,we were relocated to Winchester, Indiana. This was done through the good samaritan efforts of an american acquaintance, the late Mr. Ira D. Beynon, of Lincoln, Nebraska. Mr. Beynon owned a natural gas utility named the Ohio Valley Gas Company, whose headquarter was in Winchester. After graduating from HS in Winchester in 1964, I attended a couple of years at Ball State University in Muncie, IN. Our family transferred to Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1966 where a couple of months after our arrival, I enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps. I served almost 3 years of active duty, including a 13-month combat tour of duty in then South Viet Nam, beginning on Tet 1968 and ending on February 1969. I separated from the Marine Corps in 1969, with the rank of Sergeant (E-5). That same year I began an international career (1st assignment was Africa & the Middle East with Allis Chalmers Mfg. Co, based in West Allis, Wisconsin) that has spanned over 42 years, 37 of which with the private sector, 13 years of which as an expatriate executive in Europe, South America, the Caribbean, Mexico, and Central America. I married an Italian inmigrant in 1970 and had 3 boys with her (Alexander, Derek, and Michael). After returning from an expatriate assignment with Deere & Co in 1973, I completed a BBA-Finance degree at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 1977, while employed full time (in manufacturing positions at night) at a company called Bucyrus-Erie. I similarly attended graduate school in that same school until 1978 at night while assigned to the International Finance function of Bucyrus during the day, leaving Milwaukee to come to Miami and work for a company then named International Harvester Company. Even though we moved to Miami in 1978, and have owned a residence here ever since, we spent 19 years working in other locations, only returning to Miami in earnest in 2004. In 1989, I married my current wife, a woman from Japan, after widowing my first one, and have 2 girls (Monika and Aika). My wife is a Japanese language instructor at Miami Palmetto Senior High School. It is my priviledge to serve now with the Export-Import Bank of the United States, the country's official Export Credit Agency, assisting small businesses in the southeast region of the U.S. export more of their goods and services around the world.