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| Feb 6th 2014
In response to an article appearing in the Washington Post Magazine of Sunday, January 30, 2014, ( http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/magazine/losing-his-cuban-home-shaped-a-nat-geo-mapmakers-life/2014/01/30/358572e2-61b8-11e3-8beb-3f9a9942850f_story.html?wpmk=MK0000200 ) our Pedro Pan sister Nelia Rosa wrote: "This article was very emotional for me. I too was a Pedro Pan. My brother, Manolito, and I left Cuba on July 18, 1961, under the same conditions as Juan. My brother was 15 and I was 12. We arrived in Miami and were picked up at the airport by Catholic Welfare Services under the program headed by Father Brian Walsh. We were sent to Camp Kendall where we stayed for 4 months and then were sent to a foster home in Sebring, FL. I still keep in touch with my foster family and my Sebring High School friends after all these years. My mother came four years later with my cousin, Arturito. They had to spend five cold months in Spain before they gained entrance into the USA through a quota system because the flights between Cuba and the US were closed. Meeting my mom after four years was very emotional. I was speechless--all I could say was "Mami" which is "Mommy" in Spanish. After a year in Miami, we moved to California. I know a lot of Pedro Pans are resentful of their parents for sending them alone but I am very proud of my mother for being so strong and determined. I can only imagine as a mother myself, how much she must have suffered our separation. It was extremely hard for all involved but she made the right decision. She sent us to the best country in the world where we have the freedom to speak and think and a country who took us in without question welcomed us and sheltered us. I am now retired and enjoying the fruits of hard work for 36 years. I am thankful for all my family and friends and proud to be an American. I will never forget my roots and hope someday I can visit Cuba again. Thank you, "Mami", and thank you to our country, the United States of America!!!" Thank you, Nelia, for expressing the feelings and thoughts of so many of us.
Jose Antonio Amaro Reyes
| Feb 4th 2014
Nelia: I read your comment in the Washington Post Magazine of Sunday, January 30, 2014 and was touched by them. Such was the heart-breaking sacrifice of so many of our Pedro Pan mothers! Fifty years later is easy to second guess decisions taken in the midst of the conflict,turmoil and bloodshed that enveloped Cuba in the early years of the communist revolution. To paraphrase the late Mr.James Baker, co-creator of the operation along with Msgr. Walsh, who noted in one of his communications addressing this very issue: "You had to be there at the time to appreciate what was going on and the difficult choices parents were faced with." I would like to ask you for permission to transcribe them to your profile in this website. Thanks once again for expressing the views of so many Pedro Pans, particularly mine. Warm regards [un abrazo] JoséAntonio Amaro Reyes.
Please complete the story about your flight as part of the Operation Pedro Pan. Thank you.
| Nov 5th 2013
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