PedroPanVeteran's comment history

PedroPanVeteran said...

I disagree with Canler’s revisionist views.In a speech delivered in 09/61, Fidel acknowledged that the rumor of the Patria Potestad law began to circulate spontaneously in Havana as the result of survey that was being undertaken to create state-run care facilities for children b/w ages 45 days to 5 years old. The opposition fueled the rumor, however.According to Cuban govt sources, it was broadcast by CIA-operated Radio Swan by anti-Castro Cubans. In the context of the turmoil taking place in the country at the time, -including but not limited to suspension of constitutional guarantees and government by decree, summary trials, arbitrary searches, seizures and mass executions, confiscation of properties, nationalization of foreign investments, confiscation of private denominational and non-denominational schools, school closings for the literacy campaign, which sent w/o supervision 6th grade and above students to remote areas of the country for months at a time, militarization of children as young as eight years old with the creation of youth patrols in 59’, widespread communist indoctrination, etc.- the rumor took a life of its own. It is doubtful however that it played a pivotal role in the decision of parents to send their children abroad. Considering that most Pedro Pan parents belonged to the professional middle class that was directly impacted by the economic and political measures adopted by the government, it is apparent that many other important factors were at play. On the other hand, the CIA has repeatedly rejected the notion that it had anything to do with the fabrication of the rumor or even any effort to instigate Cuban parents to send their children to the U.S. Similarly, there appears to be also credible information that the rumor was not just a rumor. In other words, anti-Castro elements still maintain that such a law was in the works. But be that as it may it is highly doubtful that most -or even many- Pedro Pan parents separated from their children solely on the basis of the rumor. Finally, I spent close to 10 months in three of the operation's transit stations in south Florida before being reunited with my father and sister in 63’. It wasn't until 65’ that we could reunite with my mother via Mexico because the Cuban government made it almost impossible for her to leave. To this day we are extremely grateful to the U.S. for making it possible for us to live in freedom and providing us with the opportunity to make a new life. We have no regrets and definitely no words of recrimination for the US government, the Catholic Church and/or other religious and lay institutions that participated in the operation. Contrary to Mr. Canler's opinion, we believe –like a great majority of Operation Pedro Pan veterans- that the Operation was a humanitarian effort. The fact that politics entered into the equation does not detract from its humanitarian nature. Sometimes politics and humanitarian concerns coincide. This is one of those times.

August 13, 2011 at 5:28 p.m.

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