Miami Dade College’s Museum of Art + Design Presents the inaugural Exhibition at the new Cultural Legacy Gallery, Cuba Out of Cuba: Through the Lens of Alexis Rodriguez-Duarte in Collaboration with Tico Torres MOAD - Cuban Diaspora Celia L Credit: Alexis Rodriguez-Duarte in collaboration with Tico Torres Miami, July 28, 2014 - The Museum of Art + Design (MOAD) at Miami Dade College (MDC) presents Cuba Out of Cuba: Through the Lens of Alexis Rodriguez-Duarte in Collaboration with Tico Torres. The inaugural exhibition will open to the public at 6 p.m. Friday, September 19, at the new Cultural Legacy Gallery, a permanent space dedicated to the impact of Cuban culture on South Florida and throughout the world, housed at the National Historic Landmark Freedom Tower at Miami Dade College in Downtown Miami. Cuba Out of Cuba: Through the lens of Alexis Rodriguez-Duarte in collaboration with Tico Torres features what have become iconic photographs of Cuban figures living outside the island, among them performers, composers, designers, writers and artists. The Cuba Out of Cuba series was shot over the last twenty years in Miami, New York, London, Paris, Florence, Venice and Los Angeles. The exhibition will take a unique and historical approach in surveying the legacies of individuals such as Celia Cruz, Bebo Valdez, Gloria Estefan, Cristina Saralegui, Andy Garcia, Cundo Bermudez, Nilo Cruz, and Paquito d’Rivera, among other Cubans who have influenced the greater culture of their time. Alexis Rodríguez-Duarte was born in Havana, Cuba. In 1968 he and his parents were among Cuban exiles who left the Island aboard the humanitarian air lifts called the Freedom Flights. Once arriving to Miami, his family and many thousands of other Cuban exiles came through the doors of the Freedom Tower that served as a processing and assistance center for the exile community. For many, the tower provided nothing less than their freedom from Castro and the hardships Cuba had come to give them, rightly earning its name of the Freedom Tower. Rodriguez–Duarte’s family settled in Miami’s Little Havana community. At the age of 10, he was given his first camera by his grandfather, which led to his love affair with photography. Today, he is a New York and Miami-based internationally renowned photographer whose work has appeared in The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Town & Country, and Harper’s Bazaar, among other major publications, and has exhibited his work at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C., Museum of the City of New York, The Victoria and Albert Museum in London and The Bass Museum of Art in Miami Beach among others. Rodriguez-Duarte and his husband of 31 years, Tico Torres, have been documenting the Cuban diaspora since 1993. Torres, a photo stylist who is a master of the mise-en-scene, helped create with Rodriguez-Duarte the joyous image of Celia Cruz standing amid the towering palms of Fairchild Tropical Garden in a traditional ruffled Cuban gown. He was also there to set the mood in the London flat of Guillermo Cabrera Infante, one of Cuba’s most famous authors. Torres and his family were also among Cuban exiles who settled in Miami’s Hialeah community. Rodriguez-Duarte and Torres are thrilled to be returning together, full circle to the historic Freedom Tower for this inaugural exhibit, after separately setting foot there as immigrant children so many years before. The inaugural exhibition kicks off the Museum’s fall season scheduled for Friday, September 19, 2014 from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. in conjunction with SIDE BY SIDE: MDCULTURE STANDS AS ONE, a one night event held at the College’s historic Freedom Tower, featuring performances, exhibitions, film screenings, the public unveiling of 2014 Book Fair Poster, and the long awaited Cuban Exile Experience at the Freedom Tower. Cuba Out of Cuba: Through the Lens of Alexis Rodriguez-Duarte in Collaboration with Tico Torres will remain on display at the museum through August 30, 2015. All exhibitions are free and open to the public. MDC’s Freedom Tower was operated by the U.S. Government as a reception center for Cuban refugees from 1962 to 1974. “The building is significant because it represents the important story of the Cuban exodus to America and resettlement during the Cold War,” reports the U.S. Department of the Interior, which has also called the Freedom Tower the “Ellis Island of the South.” Though it operated in that capacity for only 12 years, the building has become an icon representing the faith that democracy brought to troubled lives, the generosity of the American people and a hopeful beginning that assured thousands a new life in a new land. WHAT: Cuba Out of Cuba: Through the Lens of Alexis Rodriguez-Duarte in Collaboration with Tico Torres WHEN: Friday, September 19 –Opening Reception from 6 – 9 p.m. September 19, 2014 – August 30, 2015 Museum Hours: Wednesday – Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. WHERE: MDC Museum of Art + Design Cultural Legacy Gallery The Freedom Tower at MDC, First Floor 600 Biscayne Blvd. About MDC Museum of Art + Design MDC Museum of Art + Design (MOAD) is Miami Dade College’s flagship institution dedicated to the presentation and exhibition of visual art and design, housed at the National Historic Landmark Freedom Tower at Miami Dade College in Downtown Miami. The mission of the Museum is to promote the appreciation and understanding of art and its role in society through direct engagement with original works of art from within the College’s extensive permanent collection and temporary exhibitions. Furthermore, the Museum presents year-round lectures, symposiums and art related events to expose, educate and engage the greater public through related creative processes. The MDC Museum of Art + Design provides its patrons and visitors access to unique cultural, historical and educational exhibitions that enrich the greater community while building and preserving an expansive permanent art collection. Miami Dade College has been collecting art since the 1960s. Over the years, the collection has grown contain more than 1,600 works in all mediums and genres, specifically within the movements of minimalism, pop art of the ’60s and ’70s, conceptual art and contemporary Latin American art. The College and Museum actively acquire works by emerging and under-recognized artists, as well as major figures in modern, post-modern and contemporary art. About The Cuban Exile Experience & Cultural Legacy Gallery The Cuban Exile Experience & Cultural Legacy Gallery is a historical division of the MDC Museum of Art + Design. In addition to visual arts, the Museum supports exhibitions and programs that collect, preserve, research and interpret stories and artifacts that help build a better community understanding and appreciation of the Freedom Tower’s history. For more information about the exhibition, events or VIP Opening Reception at MDC Museum of Art + Design, please contact the Museum at 305-237-7722 or museum@mdc.edu. Event contacts: Juan Mendieta, 305-237-7611, jmendiet@mdc.edu, MDC communications director Tere Estorino Florin, 305-237-3949, testorin@mdc.edu, MDC media relations director Roxana Romero, 305-237-3366, rromero3@mdc.edu, media specialist Sue Arrowsmith, 305-237-3710, sue.arrowsmith@mdc.edu, media specialist Alejandro Rios, 305-237-7482, arios1@mdc.edu

Oscar Pichardo Busquets

General Information
Current Name
Oscar Pichardo Busquets
Current Location
United States of America
Name on Arrival
Oscar Pichardo Busquets
Age on Arrival
10
Date of Arrival
Friday, August 25, 1961
Relocated To
Kendall

Oscar's Story

This person has not yet filled out their story about their flight as a part of Operation Pedro Pan.

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A Pedro pan Musical Project Dear Pedro Pan Brothers and Sisters: During our reunion this past September our Pedro Pan brother Fred Beato addressed the gathering regarding a project he has in work: raise the awareness of the Pedro Story - our story - through his song and honoring the heroes of Operation Pedro Pan our parents! We then listened the powerful song “Cuba BC” (Cuba before Castro) about the Pedro Pan experience which is the central part of the project. Fred has now taken the next step and he needs our help. Listen to the following video presentation from Fred and his close friend David Pack – lead singer and songwriter for Ambrosia (How Much I Feel & Biggest Part of Me) - made specifically for the Pedro Pan Family. It’s important you listen to the whole recording particularly the part after the instrumentals beginning around the 7:50 mark! Use this link to access the video: http://vimeo.com/79904942BC The password to access the video presentation is: beatoband (one word, all lowercase). This is a two part project. First a quality professional video of "Cuba BC" (Cuba before Castro) has to be made to raise awareness of our story through his song about experience as a Pedro Pan, the loss of youth, homeland, and the pain of our parents. The second part will be erecting a statue or monument honoring the Pedro Pan Parents in a permanent location such as The Freedom Tower in Florida or another pertinent location from the proceeds of the video. Fred and David have initiated a Kickstarter.com drive to raise the necessary funds to produce the "Cuba BC" (Cuba before Castro) video. Please use this link: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1767312856/fred-beato-and-david-pack-get-back-beato-band-cd-v?ref=live to visit the Cuba BC campaign! If you have any questions about the project, how to contribute, or wish to contact your Pedro Pan brother Fred Beato directly you may email him at beatoband1@gmail.com Until we meet again! OBP Oscar B. Pichardo CubanKid60Exodus@aol.com www.cubankids1960.com Pedro Pan of California | Facebook

Message by Oscar Pichardo Busquets | Nov 21st 2013

Oscar, good idea to make a Pedro Pan presentation at Marymount College in California, and many of us learned about it through this Network, also the messages you've posted here are very interesting. Now, it would be great if you posted your story and photo(s) in this Network. We want to know more about YOU!!!

Message by Eloísa Echazábal | Oct 31st 2011

Oscar, no son solamente fidelistas activos (no arrepentidos)los que combatimos en estos ataques contra la verdad de lo que causo el Pedro Pan "exodus", tambien existen hombres y mujeres que "Le Venden el Alma al Diablo" por dinero o por egolatria. Siempre han existido los traidores en la historia, personas sin "honor". Por eso hay que felicitar a los que como Jose Marti "Viven de Cara al Sol", y tu eres uno de ellos. Te quiero confirmar que yo estoy "tu Bando". Tu hermana Pedro Pan en Ga.

Message by Emy Botet | Jul 6th 2011

Te felicito por todo lo que haces por mantener el nombre de los Pedro Pan y toda nuestra historia "limpia de mentiras" y manipulaciones egoistas y falsas. De Cuba comunista no ha salido ni una "verdad" hasta el dia de hoy.Que Dios te bendiga.

Message by Emy Botet | Jul 5th 2011

Dear Pedro Pan Brothers and Sisters: Recently there has been considerable local publicity regarding a “Cultural Exchange” in the Los Angeles area featuring exhibitions at area museums by Cuban artists and musical performances. The “Cultural Exchange” is publicized as an apolitical “West Coast Celebration of Cuban Arts & Culture” by the sponsoring organization ¡Sí CubaSocal! Nothing could be further from the truth. Among the commonly cited reasons for having these “cultural exchanges” is to promote a better understanding between the local Southern California and Cuban communities, and that politics has no place in the arts. A noble and admirable goal not supported by the facts. One of the featured “artists” is filmmaker Estela Bravo. Ms. Bravo, who resides in Havana, has a long history of churning out pro-Castro government sponsored propaganda – including her personal tribute to the tyrant, Fidel. Her contribution to this travesty is the film “Operation Peter Pan: Flying Back to Cuba,” which presents a pro-Castro distorted view of the exodus of over 14, 000 Cuban children sent to the U. S. by their parents to escape the terror of the Castro communist regime. On June 27, 2011, a group of Cuban Kids from the 60’s Exodus - Pedro Pan of California friends attended the screening of Bravo’s pseudo documentary Operation Peter Pan: Flying Back to Cuba at the Warner Grand Theatre in San Pedro, California. During the post screening Q&A session the filmmaker refused to address valid comments and questions regarding the inadequacy of the film dealing with the actions of the Castro government which provoked the exodus of the Cuban children. While asserting in a very patronizing and dismissive manner that it was her film and she could do what she wanted she cavalierly challenged us to make our own film. Click here: CK60E Pedro Pan of California response to Estela Bravo's documentary This is our film. We are Pedro Pan by the grace of God and our parents. We can do anything! Please forward this email to every Pedro Pan and Cuban American you know. Let’s send it around the world as attribute to the sacrifice our parents made for us. Until we meet again! Estela Bueno Arturo Guzman Arturo Bueno Oscar B. Pichardo for The Cuban Kids Working Group CubanKid60Exodus@aol.com www.cubankids1960.com Pedro Pan of California | Facebook

Message by Oscar Pichardo Busquets | Jun 30th 2011

Dear Family and Friends, I attended the screening with my Pedro Pan friend Alejandro Pijuan. Post screening we met and chatted with Pedro Pans Joe Barnett, Arturo and Estela Bueno, and a Cuban couple Mr. & Mrs. Sainz. We all agreed the pseudo documentary was biased and slanted and a propaganda tool to portray Pedro Pan in the worst possible light. Event: Monday June 27th Sponsored by Marymount College Rancho Palos Verdes, CA Location: Warner Grand Theatre 478 W 6th St, San Pedro, CA 90731-2632 Host: Opening remarks by Dr. Michael S. Brophy, President Marymount College. Did not get the name of the gentleman moderating the Q&A session. Format: Screening: Operation Peter Pan: Flying Back to Cuba. Q&A session post screening. Audience: The cavernous Warner Grand Theatre swallowed up the audience making it difficult to estimate number. There were a much larger number of Cuban-Americas than at the Thursday screening in downtown LA, a well as students, film buffs, and the folks involved in the film. Note: The following are my recollections, perceptions, and comments as they pertain to the Bravo film and the Q&A session… the chronology may not be exact... The cast: Pedro Pan who returned to Cuba: Flora Gonzalez, Ed Canler, Alex Lopez, Silvia Wilheim, Candi Sosa. Pedro Pan interviewed in film: Elly Chovel, Ana Mendieta, Manny Ramos (not sure about last name) and a fellow from Boston whose name escapes me. Parents: Ed Canler’s Mother, Alex Lopez’s mom & dad. Monsignor Walsh, James Baker, Polita Grau, Penny Powers, Wayne Smith and footage from “The Lost Apple.” The film: The film can be summarized as follows. Part 1: Pedro Pan was a scam perpetrated by the U. S. State Department, the CIA, and the Catholic Church. This segment is composed mostly from footage from the “unfinished “ documentary going on ad nauseam using footage and interviews from the 70s and 90s cleverly edited to support the “scam theory.” Weaving interviews with the Pedro Pan, the parents etc. a distorted picture is presented. In the second half the storyline is all Pedro Pan must return to Cuba as a group to be healed. It opens with footage showing the 5 PP arriving in Cuba and an interview on the tarmac. I might have been more impressed with the interview on the tarmac and the various vignettes where they ask do you know what Pedro Pan is or I’m a Pedro Pan have you heard of Pedro Pan if I didn’t know that all five of the Pedro Pan had returned to Cuba multiple times over the last 15 or so years, and some of the visits as far back as the late 70s. This was the second time I viewed the film. No I’m not a masochist, but multiple viewings are necessary to grasp the scope of the deception. One of the recurring themes in the film is CIA responsibility for Pedro Pan. Offering no concrete evidence, the film attempts to establish the legitimacy of their arguments by presenting anecdotal testimony of persons interviewed in the film. Wayne S. Smith was a young low level diplomat stationed at the U.S. embassy in Havana in 1959. He had to leave the island in January of 61 – right at the beginning of the Pedro Pan exodus - when diplomatic relations were ruptured between the U.S. and Cuba. The most damming testimony he could furnish is when he states that he was informed that some of the personnel stationed at the embassy in Havana worked for the CIA. How shocking! There was also an interview with an elderly gentleman – the name flashed too quickly on the screen, last name may be Fernandez – who claimed he was a CIA operative involved in Operation Mongoose and Pedro Pan. This is followed by the gentleman’s son describing how on his deathbed his dad gathered the family around him and divulged his participation in the covert operations. The son mentioned a tape recording which he did not have and location unknown. Call me a skeptic but I’m less than overwhelmed by these “ironclad” testimonials. The Q&A Session: The moderator introduced Estela Bravo who gave her standard chat about the film and then we were ready for the Q&A. The moderator admonished the audience not to ask political questions but of course the film maker was not bound by this limitation. I was the first person to address the film maker and asked (during this process the moderator kept moving the mike lower so I had to grab the mike and raise it so I could be heard) why there had been no background information provided in the film regarding the actions of the Castro government forcing the parents to make the decision to send their kids to the U.S. Of course Bravo did not answer the question or even attempt to refute the facts. She simply stated it was her film and she could put whatever she wanted in it. We should make our own film. This is pretty much the same answer she used last Thursday when asked a similar question. This will be pursued via a separate email which will include our video. The moderator quickly moved to the center section which seated a group of folks with which he was apparently familiar and would ask safe question. There were other Pedro Pan in the audience who wanted to ask questions but were ignored. While answering a subsequent question regarding how and how many Pedro Pan had been found stated: “I know that a professor in St. Paul University, who is not in favor of Cuba in any way has asked the CIA to open their files and they refused to. And we asked people why and they said well it would be very embarrassing.” Her facile answer is disingenuous and inaccurate. The files of all the Pedro Pan children are the property of the Archdiocese of Miami and stored at the Pedro Pan Archives housed at Barry University. They are sealed to protect the privacy of the individual child. The description of the professor and university which Ms. Bravo cited in her response is erroneous. (I will not use the proper name since the person was not there). The university was DePaul and the professor no longer teaches there. The person Ms. Bravo identifies is very much pro Castro having been a member of the Brigada Antonio Maceo (BAM), traveled to Cuba s part of the “dialogueros” of the 70s and taught for extended periods at the University of Havana. Perhaps it’s too much to expect for Ms. Bravo to be accurate in her response, but her response reveals the slant inherent in the pseudo documentary which the uninitiated perceive as the truth. The Castro propaganda machine is doing an excellent job of promoting these “cultural exchanges” and using them to promote their political agenda. Bravo is a formidable and valuable asset to the Cuban propaganda venture and not to be taken lightly. The Oxford Dictionary defines the word documentary as: using pictures or interviews with people involved in real events to provide a factual report on a particular subject. The American Heritage Dictionary defines documentary as: presenting facts objectively without editorializing or inserting fictional matter, as in a book or film By any definition, it’s my opinion Ms. Bravo’s film fails to meet the criteria to be classified as a documentary. You can decide for yourself. OBP Oscar B. Pichardo Redondo Beach, CA

Message by Oscar Pichardo Busquets | Jun 30th 2011

Thank you, Oscar, for keeping us abreast of the latest communist propaganda machine attempt to pervert the truth by seeking to impose once again its distorted view of Operation Pedro Pan. Unfortunately, there are some among us, who because of ignorance of the facts and/or deep seated mistrust of government action, are easily convinced by its narrative. The two documents below might help them gain some insight into the role the CIA played or did not play in the Operation. After reading them, they will hopefully develop a somewhat more critical understanding of reality before someone succeeds in selling them the Brooklyn Bridge. By the way, for an understanding of what the Cuban government was doing to the country's youth between 1959 and 1962 and which frightened so many of our parents into sending us to the US, I would suggest reading J. M. Bunck's Fidel Castro and the Quest for Revolutionary Culture in Cuba (1994) and R. R. Fagen The Transformation of Political Culture in Cuba (1969). 1. COLD WAR CONFERENCE ON "THE POWER OF FREE INQUIRY AND COLD WAR INTERNATIONAL HISTORY" NATIONAL ARCHIVES AT COLLEGE PARK. "The Agency also must deal with the requirements of special searches mandated by Congress, the Executive Branch, or litigations. These have recently included Gulf War illness, human rights violations in Central America, Operation Peter Pan (in which CIA was falsely accused of instigating the exodus of Cuban children), and the Contra cocaine controversy (in which CIA was falsely accused of responsibility for bringing drugs into Los Angeles). Regardless of the truth of such claims, significant resources had to be diverted to address these issues. The expenditure of significant declassification resources also is required to respond in a timely fashion to growing numbers of criminal, civil, and non-party litigations. " Source: COLD WAR CONFERENCE ON "THE POWER OF FREE INQUIRY AND COLD WAR INTERNATIONAL HISTORY" NATIONAL ARCHIVES AT COLLEGE PARK . September 25, 1998. "Cold War Documentation, National Security, and the Fullest Possible Accounting: Restriction vs. Access." Paper Presented by Edmund Cohen Director of Information Management, Central Intelligence Agency. http://www.fas.org/sgp/eprint/cohen.html 2. Compilation of Special Search Efforts at CIA (1993 to date) (as of 01 September 1999). ........................................ Title: Operation Peter Pan Tasking Authority: Federal Court Status: Completed Description: Completed Summary of Level of Effort: One document located and released; well over 1,500 hours expended in searches, reviews, and defense. .............................................. Source: CIA Hardcopy Original Classification: Secret Approved for Public Release: 21 July 2000 Transcription and HTML by FAS Source: http://www.fas.org/sgp/othergov/cia_search.html#* Thanks once again!

Message by Jose Antonio Amaro Reyes | Jun 29th 2011

Dear Family and Friends, I attended the screening with my wife and met two other Pedro Pan Oscar Acosta and Frank Varela at the theatre. After the screening we spoke with Rogelio de la Torre a Pedro Pan and Fernando Marquette a veteran of Playa Giron. We all agreed the pseudo documentary biased and slanted to portray Pedro Pan in the worst possible light. Event: Thursday June 23rd 2011 LA Film Festival Location: LA Live Regal Theatre Olympic Boulevard, Los Angeles AC Host: David Ansen Artistic Director of the Los Angeles Film Festival Format: Premier Screening: Operation Peter Pan: Flying Back to Cuba. Q&A session moderated by David Ansen. Audience: Theater capacity filled to approx 90% capacity. Mostly young film students, film buffs, couples and the folks involved in the film. Note: The following are my recollections, perceptions, and comments as they pertain to the Bravo film and the Q&A session… the chronology may not be exact... The cast: Pedro Pan: Flora Gonzalez, Elly Chovel, Ana Mendieta, Ed Canler, Alex Lopez, Silvia Wilheim, Candi Sosa, Manny Ramos (not sure about last name) and a fellow from Boston whose name escapes me. Parents: Ed Canler’s Mother, Alex Lopez’s mom & dad. Monsignor Walsh, James Baker, Polita Grau, Penny Powers, Wayne Smith and footage from “The Lost Apple.” The film: Lasted about 60 minutes. It was plagued by some technical interruptions and loss of sound, to which a wag in the audience shouted ”must be the CIA.” Make no mistake, this film in nothing like the “unfinished” documentary Bravo released 10 years ago that we have seen. This is a top of the line production and the picture and sound are excellent. The editing is well done and crafted out of context to support their arguments. The film can be summarized as follows. Part 1: Pedro Pan was a scam perpetrated by the U. S. State Department, the CIA, and the Catholic Church. This segment is composed mostly from footage from the “unfinished “ documentary going on ad nauseam using footage and interviews from the 70s and 90s cleverly edited to support the “scam theory.” Weaving interviews with the Pedro Pan, the parents etc. a distorted picture is presented. Much is made in the film about the Visa waives being granted only to the minor children, by the U.S. No mention is made of the reason Cuban parents petitioned for visa waivers for the kids is because the onerous restriction and extreme obstacle the Cuban regime place once the request for an exit visa was made. In many cases the regime would not grant exit permits to the whole family, so parents were forced to make the decision to divide the family in the hope they would eventually reunite. In the second half the storyline is all Pedro Pan must return to Cuba as a group to be healed. It opens with footage showing the 5 PP arriving in Cuba and an interview on the tarmac. I might have been more impressed with the interview on the tarmac and the various vignettes where they ask do you know what Pedro Pan is or I’m a Pedro Pan have you heard of Pedro Pan if I didn’t know that all five of the Pedro Pan had returned to Cuba multiple times over the last 15 or so years, and some of the visits as far back as the late 70s. No mention is made of the repressive policies of the Castro regime which are the direct cause of the mass exodus which has been taking place from the island since 1959 and continues to this day. The whole production is very crisp, well presented, slanted, and very believable… without the proper historical background the average viewer will swallow it hook, line and sinker! The Q&A session: David Ansen introduced Estela Bravo and the four Pedro Pan present. They all spoke basically regurgitating the interviews from the film. Bravo of course took off on the propaganda trail regarding the CIA having documents it will not declassify, false rumor of patria potestad, ran operation, Radio Swan broadcasts etc… Got around to the 5 PP and how they bonded on trip to Cuba etc a lot of the effort due to Elly who had “found’ over 2000 PP and dedicated to her dream of taking PP back… Finally got down to the Q&A. Frank Varela introduced himself self a Pedro Pan and said: “although I had some shared experiences, such as the anxiety of not knowing if I would ever see my parents again, I feel that all the Pedro Pan parents were heroes, preferring to send their children away to live in freedom instead of growing up in a communist dictatorship, and whatever hardships the Pedro Pans and their parents had to endure at the beginning was a small price to pay compared to the misery the millions of Cubans left behind in the island had to suffer.” At that point Estela Bravo cut him off and told him it was her film and he should do one and tell his own story. This seems to be her polished standard answer when face with questions or facts she does not wish to address. Next question was from an older gentleman who asked for a comparison between the 10 thousand Jewish children spirited out of Europe from the Nazis (Kindertransport) and similarities with Pedro Pan. This seemed to throw Bravo of her game she appeared flustered and babbled something about the Jewish kids not allowed into the Us and brought up Eleanor Arguing with Franklin, and how the Pedro Pan kids were allowed into the U.S. It appears our earstwhile documentarian has her history confused as Kindertransport was strictly a European Endeavour and none of the children were sent to the U.S. during the war. The last question came from a lady who I believe said she was not a PP but had been or left the island during the same time and remembered the pecera and having to walk through a gauntlet of milicianos with rifles and machine guns and asked if anyone would comment on that. Bravo cut the question off saying that had been addressed in the film which if it was I must have missed that segment. Finally David Ansen gave the floor back to Bravo and she closed the session with a propaganda diatribe on eliminating the embargo, and changing travel policy so everyone could go to Cuba….. Observation: The Castro propaganda machine is doing an excellent job of promoting these “cultural exchanges” and using them to promote their political agenda. Bravo is a formidable and valuable asset to the Cuban propaganda venture and not to be taken lightly. Next: June 27th the pseudo documentary is screened in San Pedro. More tomorrow… OBP Oscar B. Pichardo Redondo Beach, CA

Message by Oscar Pichardo Busquets | Jun 29th 2011

Dear Family and Friends, The following is an update of the ongoing "Cultural Exchange" Activities as it pertains to the Pedro Pan pseudo documentary... More to follow tomorrow Event: June 22nd 2011 A Celebration of Cuban Film in association with the Los Angeles Film Festival’s Cuban Spotlight Location: Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences Beverly Hills, CA Samuel Goldwyn Theatre Host: David Ansen Artistic Director of the Los Angeles Film Festival Format: Opening Remarks by David Ansen. Film clips of the four featured Cuban Films: Operation Peter Pan: Flying Back to Cuba, Ticket to Paradise (Boleto at Paraiso), Habana Eva, Suite Habana. Panel discussion with film makers moderated by David Ansen. NO AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION. Featured Movie: Fresa y Chocolate (Strawberry and Chocolate) Audience: Theater capacity is around 1,100. I estimate crowd at 350 to 400 including participants and Cuban delegation – 20 to 25 from what I could determine. I arrived early to check out the crowd. The early arrivals were composed of older local folks… around 50 or so by my count who lived in the neighborhood and were “regulars’ at these events as they greeted each other and seemed to now the usher outside. There was also a smaller group 20 or so of twenty somethings who appeared to be either movie buffs or students…. Crowd started arriving around 7:00 appeared to be working professionals… five minutes before the start the participants – including Cuban delegation as well as the academy personnel arrive in a large group probably 75 total… As I circulated around theatre did not hear much Spanish and what I heard was not Cuban…. I did not get too close to the Cuban delegation…. On a personal note I was relieved and surprised no one was wearing any Che apparel. Background: Purpose of attending was to gather information on the Operation Pedro Pan film. The film has been publicized as “In 1961 and '62, at least 14,000 Cuban children were sent by their parents to the U.S. to "save" them from the Revolution. The program was sponsored by the State Department and the Catholic Church—with an uncredited assist from a C.I.A. disinformation campaign, which led the parents to believe their kids would be taken from them by Castro and sent to the USSR.” In the hand out given at the theatre a new twist is added: “This startling documentary tells the tales of some of the 14,000 Cuban children sent by their parents, at the urging of the State Department to the U. S. to “save” them from the Revolution. So the story line is set. Note: The following are my recollections, perceptions, and comments as they pertain to the Bravo film and the portion of the panel discussion with her… the chronology may not be exact... The clip: Lasted about 3 to 4 minutes. Make no mistake, this film in nothing like the “unfinished” documentary Bravo released 10 years ago that we have seen. This is a top of the line production and the picture and sound are excellent. The editing is well done and crafted out of context to support their arguments. The best example of this is about a 30 second portion in which Monsignor Walsh says (and I paraphrase): “on December 24th of 1960 I received a call from the State Department stating they wanted to help bring Cuban children out of Cuba… they only needed a non government agency like the church to take care of them once in the U.S.” You could hear the audible sighs in the theatre…. Everything on the clip I had seen before in the unfinished documentary - except for a current segment with Candi Sosa. However, the whole production is very crisp, well presented, slanted, and very believable… without the proper historical background the average viewer will swallow it hook, line and sinker! Appearing I the film clip were: Flora Gonzalez, Elly Chovel, Ed Canler’s Mother, Alex Lopez’s mom & dad, Monsignor Walsh, Wayne Smith and Candi Sosa singing in the camp, clips from “The Lost Apple.” The panel discussion: At some point during the program much was made about the cultural exchange etc…. it took about a year to put it together… much credit was given to Carolina Sanchez… did not quite get if she’s a Cuban functionary… Ansen first directed the panel discussion to Bravo (what a surprise!) after making a comment about it being controversial and hard to imagine parent giving their children away and never seeing family... Bravo took the ball and went directly to the quote by Mons. Walsh and the state department … then went to Elly Chovel and her dream of going back with PP cut short by untimely death… then to Ana Mendeta, process of making film over 20 years… After going to others he came back to Bravo (alpha and omega!) with a lead in to CIA involvement which of course Bravo expounded on… still has documents that will not declassify, false rumor of patria potestad, ran operation etc… some where in there the embargo came up… The audience was eating it up… Got around to the 5 PP and how they bonded on trip to Cuba etc a lot of the effort due to Elly who had “found’ over 2000 PP and dedicated to her dream of taking PP back… Then Ansen mentioned June 23rd would be the LA premiere of the film followed by a panel discussion… Bravo said all 5 would be there and then introduced Candi Sosa who was in attendance and seating with the Cuban delegation. Bravo said how she had first seen & heard her sing in 79 on the camp film and had found her through the efforts of Elly singing in a local “night club” Havana Mania… Sosa stood up to an ovation and panel discussion ended… Observation: The Castro propaganda machine is doing an excellent job of promoting these “cultural exchanges” and using them to promote their political agenda. Bravo is a formidable and valuable asset to the Cuban propaganda endeavor. Next: June 23rd is the premiere of the “documentary” and I will be there with a couple of friends… More to come over the next few days OBP Oscar B. Pichardo Redondo Beach, CA

Message by Oscar Pichardo Busquets | Jun 29th 2011

Dear Family and Friends, Recently there has been considerable local publicity regarding a “Cultural Exchange” in the Los Angeles area featuring exhibitions at area museums by Cuban artists and musical performances. The “Cultural Exchange” is publicized as an apolitical “West Coast Celebration of Cuban Arts & Culture” by the sponsoring organization ¡Sí CubaSocal! Nothing could be further from the truth. One of the most commonly cited reasons for having these “cultural exchanges” is to promote a better understanding between the local Southern California and Cuban communities, and that politics has no place in the arts. A noble and admirable goal not supported by the facts. The sponsoring organization ¡Sí CubaSocal! Festival - which has been sponsoring similar events throughout the U. S. - is an extremely pro-Castro lobbying group thinly disguised as Cultural and Arts exchange program. A visit to their website ¡Sí CubaSocal! Festival will confirm this. One of their "sponsors" is the radical Internationall Committee for the Freedom of the Cuban 5 and SPARC which is a front organization for the Castro government's agenda to extort freedom for five Cubans operatives convicted of spying for the Castro regime in the United States. A quick rundown of the featured artists in the ¡Sí CubaSocal! Festival reveals most of them are sponsored by the Cuban government. The sponsored exhibits includes "Humor from my Pen" an exhibition of political cartoons by Gerardo Hernández Nordelo, a convicted spy of the Castro regime and one of the so called Cuban Five thecuban5.org Another of the featured artists is filmmaker Estela Bravo. Ms. Bravo, who resides in Havana, has a long history of churning out pro-Castro government sponsored propaganda – including her personal tribute to the tyrant, Fidel. Her contribution to this travesty is the film “Operation Peter Pan: Flying Back to Cuba,” which presents a pro-Castro distorted view of the exodus of over 14, 000 Cuban children sent to the U. S. by their parents to escape the terror of the Castro communist regime. Still looking for a clarification if Arturo Sandoval is going to perform at the Hollywood Bowl on August 24th at an event sponsored by ¡Sí CubaSocal! Festival. The featured performer Xiomara Portuondo has extensively serenaded the Castro brothers as well as Hugo Chavez. Frankly I was surprised and extremely disappointed when I saw on the Hollywood Bowl website that Mr. Sandoval is associated with an enterprise sponsored by this group. However this booking does not appear on Mr. Sandoval’s website ArturoSandoval Official Site and Mr. Sandoval is not mentioned in the ¡Sí CubaSocal! Festival website… perhaps trying to infer an implied association. If anyone out there has contact with Mr. Sandoval please make him aware of the pedigree of the sponsoring organization. In a perfect world the disassociation of cultural exchanges and political propaganda would be a certainty. In our world the reality is that the Castro regime uses the cultural and performing arts and organizations like ¡Sí CubaSocal! as another weapon in its propaganda arsenal. The following article written by our fellow Cuban and Grammy Award winning composer and musician Paquito D’Rivera places in better context the foolishness of cultural exchanges with his excellent parody Yes… Libya! Best Regards, Oscar B. Pichardo Redondo Beach, CA Yes… Libya! By Paquito D’Rivera Years ago, Miami’s Willy Chirino had a hit song—a cute Cuban Guaracha— with a chorus that went: “If she wears a Bikini… punish her!, If she wears a mini-skirt… punish her!” The song was about a tycoon whose wife was kind of loose. Each time she slipped, her husband would “punish” her by buying her a mansion, the latest model sports car, or a vacation with her girlfriends in The Bahamas. Apparently the US government has taken Chirino’s parody too seriously, or perhaps someone has convinced them to apply such a peculiar disciplinary concept to the most cruel and dangerous of dictatorships in this convoluted world of ours. In a friendly and conciliatory gesture, on February 2008, the Bush administration sent the New York Philharmonic Orchestra to a gala concert in North Korea. Naturally, the despotic Kin Jon-Il didn’t even bother to attend. His answer was to increase even more his threatening atomic arsenal. Two years later, among a myriad of atrocities taking place in Cuba, pacifist Afro-Cuban doctor Oscar Elias Biscet, a devoted follower of Dr. Martin Luther King’s ideas, was sentenced to 25 years in prison; Orlando Zapata-Tamayo’s death in a hunger strike; the physical and mental abuse of his mother Reina Luisa Tamayo and to the self-sacrificing Ladies in White; the incarceration of hundreds of dissidents and even the arbitrary detention of American citizen Alan P. Gross. It seems like to celebrate such horrors, the New York City Ballet, the Wynton Marsalis Orchestra, and also Chico O’Farrill’s orchestra, under his son Arturo’s direction, traveled to Cuba. The Ministry of Culture of the oldest (and most ridiculous) dictatorship in the hemisphere invited them. “Ours is not a political visit. It is strictly musical”, the travelers simply affirmed as if in a totalitarian country like Cuba, everything, absolutely everything, didn’t have markedly political intentions. The examples of “friendly aggressions” of Americans against ill-governed nations by never ending tyrannies have been quite many. Of the shameful case of China business affairs we better not even talk about. But we must recognize that the massive repressive escalation of the Castro brothers’ dictatorship, finally gained the support of many more nations that united to condemn these five decades plus of abuse and arbitrariness. In the meantime, President Obama’s administration, following the Chirino song’s chorus, “punishes” the repressor by encouraging travel and cultural exchanges (unilateral of course) of American artists and their counterparts (in what is left) of the island in ruins. This basically translates into considerable new revenue of extra cash for the Castro government. Also the sponsorship of a huge Cuban festival in the city of the skyscrapers, facilitating the free use of US territory as an enormous exhibit warehouse, where they will showcase only what they decide people should see. As we expected, in the expo named “¡Sí Cuba!”, or Yes Cuba!”, the valuable contributions of Celia Cruz, Cachao, Guillermo Cabrera Infante, Zoé Valdés, Andy García, Gloria Estefan, Olga Guillot, Carlos Alberto Montaner, Bebo Valdés and so many other giants of our national culture will be absent. They have been systematically deleted from our suffering country’s history books because they oppose communism. So, following the above mentioned examples, now that the Libyans, with the support of the civilized world, are liberating a crucial battle against Muhammar Gaddafi (or however the hell it’s spelled), I propose that –through the Libyan Embassy in Washington DC– we request that the Bedouin Coronel’s Ministry of Culture, organize the “Yes Libya!” festival. It’ll be pretty much like Fidel’s, but instead of mambos and rhumbas, they can play their own nawbah and takambas; musical styles danced by Libyans (at least by those who are still alive). I suggest the festivities to begin with a great demonstration on camelbacks and dromedaries, loaned by the nation’s zoos that house those particular species. The camel riders, dressed as they do in the dessert, will be carrying curved swords, daggers, hand-grenades, anti-yankee placards, life size posters of the brother leader of the revolution and AKG rifles, fired occasionally by the cavalry men. (About the possible throwing of hand-grenades and other explosives against opposing demonstrators, we would submit this option to a democratic vote from the Libyan government’s organizing committee). The cavalcade, preceded by the RPSBB (Retired Palestinian Suicide Bombers Band) and by women covered with veils and burkas, would march from Times Square to Ground Zero’s esplanade, where counting on the voluntary assistance of Casa de las Americas, the Maceítos, the Venceremos Brigade and the diplomatic representation of Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua, would put up the dictator’s (pardon me, the leader’s) legendary Bedouin tent. Once in the neighborhood, there will be a prayer on the site of the mosque that was to be built there and had caused so much controversy among the intolerant families of the twin towers’ victims; little incident that occurred so long ago. At the end of the prayers, there will be free shish kebab, couscous with chickpeas and barbecued goat testicles. Passages of the Koran will be read and there will be a give-away of the famous green book, autographed by the remarkable author, father of the revolution. A Libyan boy, wearing a Che Guevara T-Shirt, machine gun in hand, will unveil a beautiful statue of Benjamin Netanyahu hanging from an olive tree in the heart of the historical plaza, once home of the twin towers, a symbol of capitalism. At the end of the ceremony, Mayor Bloomberg will read a proclamation declaring the official day of Tripoli in New York. As evidence of Islamic tolerance, accompanied by the Retired Palestinian Suicidal Bombers Band, Louis Fahrakan will interpret the Arab version of Willy Chirino’s “Punish Her,” especially orchestrated by Robert Mugabe for this occasion. To close with a golden seal, 100 members of the Palestinian band, activating their explosive vests at the cry of “Yes Libyaaa!” would blow to pieces and in the name of the eternal brotherhood between our people, 40 American flags will be burned along with 49 Israeli flags and a Cohiba cigar. Allah-Akbar! Paquito D’Rivera. Bern, Switzerland, April 27-2011

Message by Oscar Pichardo Busquets | Jun 29th 2011

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