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AND OTHER CAMPS AND TEMPORARY SHELTERS IN THE MIAMI-DADE AREA OPERATING FROM 1960 TO APPROXIMATELY 1965

This is a bilingual website to re-unite the grown children of "Operation Pedro Pan"; those 14,048 Cuban children who arrived in the US between December of 1960 and October of 1962 with Visa waivers in the Unaccompanied Children's Program fostered by the Catholic Social Service Bureau and the US Government; whether passing through Camp Matecumbe or any other temporary centers such as the ones in Florida City, Kendall, Opa-Locka, St. Raphael's, Casa Carrión, etc., or went directly with family or to foster homes. The people most responsible for the success of this program were father (now Monsignor) Bryan O. Walsh in Miami; James Baker, director of the Ruston Academy in Havana, (both of whom coincidentally passed away in 2001); Amador and Sara del Toro de Odio, and Ramón and Polita Grau in the secret hiding of their home across from the police station; but many others risked their livelihoods  and even their lives to cooperate with the largest exodus of children in the history of the western hemisphere.

For a thorough and detailed story of our origins, the names of our benefactors, the efforts of our protectors and the most minute happenings, please go to www.kidsfromthe60s.com and click on Agustin Blazquez and then read Yvonne Conde's "Operation Pedro Pan" for personal stories.

THIS WEBSITE IS DEDICATED WITH LOVE AND GRATEFULNESS TO THE MEMORY OF OUR FATHER IN EXILE, MONSIGNOR BRYAN WALSH, OUR BELOVED FATHER WALSH, WITHOUT WHOSE COURAGE AND LOVE WE MIGHT HAVE NEVER BEEN SAVED FROM THE SLAVERY OF COMMUNISM IN OUR FATHERLAND.

This website is non-political in nature and is not meant to advice anyone regarding a particular candidate, either in the local level or in the presidential race, although it may post articles of public interest regarding subjects that affect the Cuban community in its monthly newsletter and specially as it involves grown children of Operation Pedro Pan. It is also a forum for responsible members' articles, prose or poetry that they may wish to share with others via the Newsletter or the Literary section.

The major thrust and purpose of this website and of the monthly Newsletters that it sends out to your kind and patient reception is to re-acquaint us with each other, to re-unite old friends from Cuban High Schools, neighborhoods, Miami camps and "becas" (scholarships). Not only will there be a list of Pedro Pan children found or remembered in the Alumni section, there will also be a place in the Newsletters to send queries regarding a particular friend or roommate so that others may read about and inform.

The managing Board of YOUR website, self-elected by their dedicated help and contributions, is made up of the following grown children of Operation Pedro Pan :
FOUNDER, CO-WEBMASTER AND EDITOR : Manuel Gutiérrez "El Terrorista"

(Matecumbe - Kendall - Cristo Rey, Lincoln , NE )
FOUNDING MEMBERS AND CONTRIBUTORS:
Frank Ramos "Supermán" (Matecumbe - Family in St. Louis)  Original webmaster and co-founder. [Retired]
Clemente Amézaga "El Técnico", "El Ingeniero" (Matecumbe - Whitehall, Miami, FL)  
Historian and Whitehall contact. 
In 2010 Clemente co-authored the well-researched and well-documented paper "Unaccompanied Cuban Children's Miami Camps and Group Homes, 1960 through 1978. A living document that will be changed as revisions are needed" on all the Miami-Dade sites where Pedro Pan children stayed during our early history in exile.
Pedro S. Gutiérrez "Caraballo"(Matecumbe - Austin, TX )  Website Technical Advisor and first contributor.[Retired]
Manny Gordon "El Chairman", "El Cota" (Matecumbe - Villa Virgen del Cobre, Albuquerque, NM)  Information Support [Deceased]
Oscar Cossio "Tiburón" (Matecumbe - Cristo Rey,  Lincoln , NE)  Information Support specialist. [Deceased]
Yvonne Conde - Information Support and Research. Author of "Operation Pedro Pan". [See Recommended Reading below]
Lourdes (Colón) García "Lulu I" (Kendall - David City, NE) Nebraska
historian.

Angel Carballo "El Pillo" ( Matecumbe - Villa Virgen del Cobre, Albuquerque , NM ) Albuquerque VVC historian, Puerto Rico Pedropans and Matecumbe High School graduates contact.

Oscar Pichardo (Kendall - St. Joseph's School for Children, Green Bay , WI) Green Bay St. Joseph's historian and Pedro Pan CA contact.

Juanita (Díaz) García y Fernando Collado. Founders of Pedro Pan CCC. Information support.



Early Map to Camp Matecumbe .


THIS WEBSITE AND THE MONTHLY NEWSLETTER IT PUBLISHES IS NOT AFFILIATED WITH THE CORAL GABLES-BASED "OPERATION PEDRO PAN GROUP"; A LOCAL CHARITABLE ORGANIZATION, OR WITH ANY OTHER PEDRO PAN GROUP OR AGENDA.

Create Your Bio Page

To form the list (please look at Pedropánicos-at-a-glance Alumni now) we would like to receive AT THE VERY LEAST the following information :

  1. Your full name. For ladies, please specify in the following manner in order to alphabetize your entry by your maiden name, (entered in parenthesis if currently married) which is probably the name your friends remember:
    First Name (Maiden Name) Married Name; which will look like:
    Teresa Ana (Fernández) Wilson, or Hilda (Pérez López) Johnson.
  2. The last school in Cuba,( including City if the school name does not "locate" you; such as Maristas de Camaguey or Ursulinas del Vedado.)
  3. Month and year (day if known) at each camp, scholarship or location while in the program.
  4. Nickname in camp.
  5. Present city and state of residence.
  6. Your occupation.
  7. Your birthDAY.
  8. Your e-mail so we can you inform quickly and inexpensively.
  9. A personal statement of who you are, as you see yourself. You may expand on your thoughts regarding how you were affected by the abrupt separation from your parents during your formative years and your experiences as a stranger in a strange new land.
  10. Details of any significant achievement you are proud of. [e.g., Yvonne Conde wrote the definitive Pedro Pan saga "Operation Pedro Pan"; Mel Martínez became the first Cuban elected to the US Senate.]  
  11. HOBBIES.

YOU MAY IF YOU WISH ALSO SEND US: (but are not necessary)
Your full address.
Phone number(s).
Your year of birth.


Create Bio Page Now Click Here


RECOMMENDED SOURCES FOR READING AND RESEARCH  ON THE SUBJECT OF "OPERATION PEDRO PAN" AND CUBAN HISTORY: 

OPERATION PEDRO PAN by Yvonne Conde (1999 - Routledge , NY )
      The only one of its kind to date (2012) written by a grown child of Operation Pedro Pan on the subject of our adventure. Hard-hitting and factual, detailed and with examples of human interest. We can find each other in its pages, chapter after chapter. [Book was translated into Spanish in late 2001, you may now present your parents and grandparents with your story. Don't wait for the movie!]

FLEEING CASTRO by Victor Andrés Triay (1998 - University Press of Florida)
      If one can hold it without spitting in its cover (and I have to assume the publisher may be to blame), the book is very well documented and extremely well written, though not as personally detailed as Ms. Conde's.

OPERACIÓN PEDRO PAN (a novel) by Josefina Leyva (1993 - Editorial Ponce de Leon)
      A very entertaining fiction-based-on-reality story by an accredited last-generation writer. This professor has also to her credit "Los Balseros de la Libertad" and "El Aullido de las Muchedumbres" and one of her books is apparently being prepared as a movie by Freedom Pictures Productions.


PRINCIPIO Y FIN DEL MITO FIDELISTA by José Álvarez (2008 - Tratford Publishing, Canada)
ÁLvarez, born in Antilla, Oriente in 1940, was a member of 26 de Julio and was directly involved in many of the early plots by Castro and his supporters to exploit the people's hatred of Batista. He saw how they built the different myths and utilized very subtle lies and manipulated the Press, including the International Press, (always willing to be manipulated and duped, as long as it sells papers and air time!) to turn a bloody Communist revolt and dictatorship into a seemingly patriotic struggle. Every detail is made clear by his indefatigable research and careful exposition, every question is answered and thoroughly explained. I consider it a complete encyclopedia of the Cuba that we saw being raped. This is definitely NOT "just one more book about El Penco". One needs no other books to be thoroughly informed and properly armed to answer any Liberal claim that attempts to lighten Castro's bloody regime and mitigate his systematic and heartless destruction of a country, a culture and a people.  

HAVANA USA by María Cristina García (1996 - University of Cal. Press )
     A history of Cuban migrations from 1959 to 1994. It has the added advantage of being an outstanding historical research book which debunks many of the myths created by Cubans for Cubans and does not pull any punches!

THE RED UMBRELLA (A novel) by Cristina Díaz.


THE CHILDREN OF FLIGHT OF PEDRO PAN (A Children's book) by María Armengol Acierno. (1994 - Silver Moon Press)


FLIGHT TO NOWHERE (A Novel) by Blas Padrino, a pedropan. (July 21, 2012 - Penumbra Publishing)
A Romantic Thriller featuring successful Cuban-American protagonists, one of them a Pedro Pan child.


Monsignor Walsh was in the process of writing his own account of our odyssey but passed away (much too young!)  before he was able to do so. As homage for his life and dedication to children, which he never stopped helping!, this website is dedicated to his memory.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

BOOKS WRITTEN BY GROWN PEDRO PAN CHILDREN ON VARIOUS SUBJECTS: [Alphabetized by Author]

YVONNE CONDE [went with relatives in Miami]
LA SABIDURÍA DE LOS NUESTROS
-
coleccionadas y editado por Yvonne Conde.(Vintage Español 2006)
   An eclectic collection of historical Spanish Literature's best quotes and modern Spanish-speaking characters' silliest pronouncements. This is our legacy in the world; the evolution of one of the richest languages and the richest of cultures, cleverly evidenced by Ms. Conde in her choices. A welcome book in your library. 

RAFAEL DE LA VEGA DÍAZ [went with friend in Miami]
OBSTACLES WELCOME
( Thomas Nelson Publishers 2009)
  An inspirational book about Hope and about Leadership that may apply to business but includes plenty of information for personal use. Ralph shared some insights on how he overcame his biggest obstacles.

JOAQUÍN DELGADO SÁNCHEZ [Matecumbe - foster home in Lancaster, PA]
CROOKED
and THE TRAIL TO GOLGOTHA  by Jack Delgado 
  Joaquín Delgado Sánchez's book CROOKED is subtitled "A Tone Reverberating in the Spectrum of Discernment". He can be found at www.gate.net/~joachim
  In 2012, he published EL MONO DEL SAGUÉ [LITTLE HAVANA'S MONKEY]


CARLOS EIRE [Florida City - foster home in Miami]
WAITING FOR SNOW IN HAVANA (The Free Press 2003) 
   Carlos M. N. Eire, 1979 PhD from Yale University, is the Riggs Professor of History and Religious Studies. He has "specialized in the social, intellectual, religious and cultural history of late medieval and early modern Europe...and the history of death." His other books include "From Madrid to Purgatory"(1995), "Jews, Christians and Muslims: An introduction to Monotheistic Religions." (1997) and "War against the Idols: The Reformation of Worship."
"Waiting for Snow in Havana" won the National Book Award for Non-fiction in 2003. In 2010 he came out with a sequel titled "LEARNING TO DIE IN MIAMI." (Simon and Schuster) 
Carlos can be found at www.yale.edu/history/faculty/eire
NOTE: News were received that Carlos is negotiating movie rights to this sequel, as of May 2011.


ANTONIO J. GUERNICA [Kendall - Mariana Home, Wichita, KS] 
A CUBAN IN PARADISE  (iUniverse publisher 2012)
  A novel about an Alfonso Candela that starts in 1953 and his life is affected by Castro.


FERNANDO "Fernán" HERNÁNDEZ LORENZO [went with cousin in Miami]
POTAJE SURTIDO DE FICCIÓN Y REALIDAD and LO QUE APRENDÍ DE MI PERRO  
  Fernando's work involves articles and essays of humorous, cultural and historical value. It includes articles about the "Cuban" language!
THE CUBANS: OUR LEGACY IN THE UNITED STATES (2012) and THE CUBANS: OUR FOOTPRINTS ACROSS AMERICA (2013) deal with our contributions in our adopted country. The 2013 book has an entire chapter - the longest one - about Operation Pedro Pan.
More details in www.alexlib.com/potaje and www.alexlib.com/miperro


PEDRO C. LÓPEZ JUIZ [Florida City - orphanage in Chicago. IL]
MANUEL AND THE LADY 
 (iUniverse Publishing September 2011)
  A novel about Manuel Cruz, a Cuban adolescent, in Lawrence, Massachussets, and his friendship with Madama Farfalla, a former prima donna claiming to have sung at La Scala, who introduces him to grand opera.
[Editor's note: "Farfalla" means Butterfly in Italian.]


ALDO MARTÍNEZ PAZ 
THE UNSPOKEN GIFT: HOW A CUBAN IMMIGRANT FULFILLED HIS AMERICAN DREAM (Open Door Publications September 2012)
A book written at the insistence of his grown children. Aldo's PP story. The title regfers to the unspoken gift of Love from his parents by sacrificing having him with them in order to guarantee his freedom.
See www.theunspokengift.com


MELQUIADES "Mel" MARTÍNEZ RUIZ [Matecumbe - Camp St. John, Jax, FL]
FIRST CUBAN U.S. SENATOR!!!!!!!!!
A SENSE OF BELONGING (Random House LLC)
Subitled: From Castro's Cuba to the U.S. Senate, One Man's Pursuit of the American Dream.
A book about his life experience.


EDUARDO J. NEYRA
CUBA. LOST AND FOUND
( Clerisy Press 2010)
  "Cuba Lost and Found is a moving and insightful true-life narrative capturing the political and cultural upheaval before and after Castro’s Revolution, from Ed’s carefree early years on the white sand of Varadero Beach, through his struggles to find a place in his new country, to his hard-won achievement of the American Dream. At the heart of this life is a powerful Horatio Alger story but also a soul-seeking journey of personal identity." - from the publisher's Press kit.
[Proceeds to be donated to the "Neyra Foundation for Children in Need.]
See www.cubalostandfound.com

BLAS PADRINO ARBELO
FLIGHT TO NOWHERE  (Penumbra Publishing 2012)
The main character is a pedropan kid. A Miami storm-chaser flies into a hurricane with a sexy news anchorwoman and they discover an old plane wreck washed up on the Bahamas, getting the attention of someone willing to do anything to keep it a secret...
See http://www.authorblaspadrino.com


ERNESTO PÉREZ BERMÚDEZ [Matecumbe - Villa Virgen del Cobre, Albuquerque, NM]
MEMOIRS WITH A CUBAN TASTE: SEEKING MY LOST CUBAN ROOTS IN AMERICA.
  A limited edition dedicated to his children.


JOSÉ IGNACIO RAMÍREZ LORBES [Casa Ferré - San Rafael - Camp St. John, Jacksonville, FL]
DEFINING MOMENTS: A Cuban exile's story about Discovery and the Search for a better Future.  (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform May 2013)
Written in three parts. Per JOSÉ IGNACIO: "The title itself is reflective of the many situations requiring decision-making which became 'defining moments' throughout these experiences."
The second part deals with several topics that include multiple trips to Cuba, family, the Economy and others.


CARLOS RUBIO ALBET  [went with friends in Miami - Casa de Sallies, Wilmington, DE]
QUADRIVIUM (Xlibris 2006) and SAGA  (Zinnia Books 1997)
   Quadrivium won the Premio Internacional de Novela Nuevo León en 1989. Saga was a finalist in Letras de Oro.
CARLOS has finished FORGOTTEN OBJECTS and has sent in a synopsis:
   Carlos Rubio, a professor at Shepherd University,  released in March of 2009 his trilogy of satirical novels - about teenage boy and his complications with growing up - in one volume, AMERICAN TRIPTYCH, which unites THE NEOPHYTE with BULLWHIP (published in 2001) and CALIFORNIA FEVER (published in 2003). He also wrote the bilingual DEAD TIME / TIEMPO MUERTO, "a novel about love and loneliness",  which earned finalist status in both Letras de Oro in 1994 and in Pirate's Alley Faulkner Literary Society in 1995. His work has also appeared in several anthologies, including "20 Cuentistas Cubanos", "Cuban-American Writers", "Narrativa y Libertad" and others.
Two other yet unpublished books deal with various subjects; ORISHA with santería and HUBRIS is a collection of short stories. 
  He has been working since 2006 on his 12th project, FORGOTTEN OBJECTS. When he is finished, he has promised his daughter to work on an autobiography "or at least something about his life as a boy in Cuba." [Tricia Lynn Strader: "Author writes for more than one audience" in The Journal, February 20, 2009]
He can be found at www.carlosrubioalbet.com
(added) July 25, 2013)
CARLOS has finished FORGOTTEN OBJECTS and has shared this synopsis:

The novel traces the life of Anna d’Amio, daughter
of opera singers Louis and Francesca d’Amio, from Mussolini’s 
Italy to the city of Pittsburgh during the mid sixties.
 
The novel proper is made up of three parts: Italy, Cuba and
United States. Married at seventeen and widowed at twenty, 
Anna leaves war-torn Italy to find her fortune in Cuba, where 
she eventually meets Ramón Contreras,a wealthy tobacco grower 
who later becomes her second husband.   The idyllic world that 
the couple had so laboriously built suddenly comes crashing 
down after the communist take over of the island and Ramón’s 
sudden and violent death.
 
Now with two daughters under her care, Anna soon realizes
that there is no future for them in Cuba, so she opts to 
send them to the United States through the Pedro Pan Program. 
Eventually she comes to the US herself,but by then the girls 
have been placed in foster homes. It is during this stage
of her life, penniless and without influence, that she must 
make the greatest sacrifices to regain custody of her daughters.
 
At the end of the novel, we find a series of letters, all
dated 2005, that were exchanged by the sisters after their 
mother passed away. Anna left behind a box containing a 
collection  of sundry items  that she had gathered throughout 
her life. Cognizant that these were significant for their
mother, they attempt to piece together a sketch of her life 
through these forgotten objects.



RAFAEL SÁNCHEZ CANCIO [went with aunt in Miami - Opa Locka]
[Rafael passed away in April of 2013]
MY JOURNEY [with Susan Cumins & Vanessa Ballestas] (Centennial Press 2009)
He is the founder of the Miami Grand Prix street race in 1982.


MARY LOU TRIAS ALACÁN [Kendall - foster home in New Mexico] 
CRISIS OF IDENTITY II  (PublishAmerica 2007)
  Trias tells of a family who had their petit dynasty confiscated by the Castro government, children who coped with a lifestyle change, from rich to poor, and who survived prejudice. The book defines the cost of freedom.


GUILLERMO VIDAL [Kendall - Sacred Heart Orphanage, Pueblo, CO]
[Guillermo is the Deputy Mayor of Denver and the manager of Public Works for the City]
BOXING FOR CUBA
(Ghost Road Press 2010)
  Bill Vidal arrived in the US at the age of 10 with two brothers and ended up in an orphanage in Pueblo, CO. Presently (2009) he serves as Vice-Mayor and Manager of Public Works in Denver. In this book Bill recounts his family's experiences in Cuba and in exile.

Dr. FRANCISCO WONG DÍAZ [Matecumbe - Marquette, MI]
[Francisco is a medical doctor and a Law professor at San Francisco City College]
CASTRO'S CUBA: QUO VADIS? (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform 2006)
  Evidence from many sources supports an in-depth analysis and conclusions regarding the unfolding Cuban reality after Castro ceded the reins to his brother.



[Manny Gutierrez - EDITOR]


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