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date: 28 November 2020

Operation Pedro Pan: The Migration of Unaccompanied Cuban Children to the United States, 1960–1962locked

  • Anita Casavantes BradfordAnita Casavantes BradfordDepartment of Chicano/Latino Studies, University of California, Irvine

Summary

Between the autumn of 1960 and October of 1962, the parents of more than fourteen thousand Cuban children made the difficult decision to send their children alone to the United States, where a young Irish immigrant priest, Father Bryan O. Walsh, arranged for them to be cared for by U.S. foster homes and in Catholic children’s homes and orphanages. The Cuban children’s exodus would later become known as Operation Pedro Pan; the federally funded and Catholic Church–administered program that was established to care for these children would be called the Cuban Children’s Program. Their interconnected trajectories are central to the history of post-revolutionary Cuba and of the Miami Cuban exile community, and shed important light on U.S.-Cuba and U.S.-Latin America relations during the height of the Cold War.

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