Friday, May 28, 2010
I just caught an intriguing documentary on CNBC called "Escape from Havana: An American Story" about Operation Pedro Pan (Peter Pan) the mini airlift that spirited 14,000 unaccompanied Cuban children to the U.S. between 1960 and 1962. [A reader, Maria Estorino, comments that it will be shown again on Sunday, May 30th and Monday, May 31st at 10 p.m. - Thanx Maria.]
I think what I liked most about the documentary is that (for mainstream cable) it featured a refreshingly broad range of stories and opinions on the revolution, on U.S. Policy, and on Operation Peter Pan itself.
[For a completely different take on the "balance" of the documentary see Alberto de la Cruz's cynical rant at Babalu Blog here. He says he did not watch it to be fair or to actually listen to the experiences or opinions of any of the Pedro Pans (except for the only one, Carlos Eire, he already agreed with), but only because watching it "serves to vindicate my cynicism and distrust" in the MSM. Well, if you've already made up your mind before opening your eyes, your eyes will only see what it lets them, and it might be better just to keep them closed in the first place].
There was an especially interesting section on the CIA spreading false rumors about a Castro plan to send kids to the USSR, indirectly leading many worried parents to send their kids alone to the U.S. via Pedro Pan instead in order to save them, or so their parents thought.
I'm glad to see that they included not only the moving story of Maria de los Angeles Torres as a Pedro Pan herself, but also her research and analysis as a political scientist who has wirtten about the exodus with the critical eye of a scholar.
Here are the six featured Cubans - all of whom are "Pedro Pans" themselves:
I would have also liked to hear the stories of Nelson Valdes and Roman de la Campa both Pedro Pans who have written movingly and sometimes critically of the experience. Also, I wonder what percentage of the Pedro Pans were Afro-Cuban - given the demography of the exodus at that time, I'd imagine less than 5 percent. Anybody know?
Try to catch the show - well worth watching and arguing about over a glass of ron anejo and a pan con lechon.
Posted by El Yuma @ 2:19 AM