Read the story of Pedro Pan in the words of those who lived it.
Today, October 19th, 2011 marks a very important milestone in my life. On a day like this, fifty years ago, I arrived at the Miami Airport with my two younger brothers, Raul and Carlos.
I would be forever grateful to my parents for their courage and sacrifice, to this country that wellcomed us and to Catholic Charities for taking care of us upon arrival. Thanks to their efforts I have been able to live in freedom and practice my faith all these years, something that would have been very different had I stayed in Cuba.
Unfortunately, even 50 years down ... (read the rest of this story)
A story teller once told me that all stories begin in the middle. As I write this, the middle of my story has 17 years on one side and 47 on the other. For thousands of us Pedro Pan children, the middle of our story falls on the day we left Cuba.
Outside the Havana airport my parents and grandparents hugged me and kissed me as if it would be for the last time. No one could talk. Finally my father said in a broken voice, “Hija, we gave you the best education we could, morally and academically. It should ... (read the rest of this story)
The year was 1958, I was 8 years old and my life from my perspective was good. I had two wonderful parents and a loving sister who was 2 years older than I. My father was a self made man who arrived in Cuba at the age of 14 from Spain and after many years of sacrifices and hard work became the owner of two jewelry stores located in Havana. He was a very descent and proper Spaniard who taught by example. My mother, who was also raised in Spain, was a very loving and caring mother. ... (read the rest of this story)
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Lived in Guanabo where I spent a lot of time rebel rausing with my horse and at the beach with my friends. Both of my parents did jail time thanks to Fidel. My dad in Isla de Pinos and my mom in Guanajay. Went to "Newton" school till I left for Miami on March 12, 1962. I didn't see my parents again until August of 1978. I was in a foster home in Morristown New Jersey for a couple of years and went to live with my uncle, aunt and cousins in Miami later. We all got "relocated" to Portland ... (read the rest of this story)
I am the first Hispanic female to serve in the capacity of Secretary of in the State of Florida. This is not the first, nor the only time I have been the first female, and definitely the first Hispanic female, to accomplish certain goals or to break the gender and ethnic barriers.
I came from Cuba in 1961 as part of what we know now as Operation Peter Pan. I was one of 14,000 children whose parents were left behind in Cuba. In my case, I was reunited with my parents six years later in 1967 when President Lyndon ... (read the rest of this story)
My story is unique, as is each one of the over 14,000 Pedro Pan stories. Some are happier; some are sadder. I believe the decision to send my sister and me alone to the United States was made by my parents the moment they found out that the government was taking over the private and religious schools in Cuba. I remember vividly the day our school, Colegio Verbo Encarnado in Ampliación de Almendares, was taken over by the government. I was attending class in a cottage in the patio which the nuns used as an additional classroom,and all of a ... (read the rest of this story)
I came from La Vibora, reparto El Sevillano, on July 22, 1962. 'La pecera' was one of the unforgettable moments in my life as was watching my mom hug in tears the father of 2 young sisters (ages 8 and 7) who also came on the plane with us. I positioned my body so my sister (age 11 then) and the younger girls could not see that image, but it has forever been embedded in my mind as the ultimate sacrifice parents make for what they hope will be the well being of their children.
We lived in the Florida ... (read the rest of this story)
I arrived in a Pan American flight by myself on February 8, 1961. I was told by my parents that I was supposed to speak to nobody, but that, only if asked, I would respond by saying that I was traveling to go to school outside of Cuba. Shortly before the plane took off, the stewardess approached me very politely and told me, with a very beautiful and reassuring smile, that she knew who I was and that she would watch over me until I reached my destination. I don't remember the exact words but I do remember that she ... (read the rest of this story)
I lived in Santa Clara with my Mami y Papi.
Papi had been a farmer until the age of 20. He and his younger brother got tired of working their butts off and not making any money. They started selling yardage on horseback to the farmers in their small farms. They opened small stores in small towns like Manicaragua. Later my father opened a store in Santa Clara.
They made good money and our family made good progress financially.
I went to the Maristas School Sta. Clara, from 1st to 6th grade. Had great experiences there ... (read the rest of this story)
I was born November 3, 1961 and arrived November 20th, 1961. I was only 17 days old. Wonder if I am the youngest of all?