Thursday, June 3, 2010

Pedro Pan: A reader shares his experiences

One of my readers posted the following comment on the CNBC documentary, "Escape from Havana." I thought I'd put it up as a free-standing post to generate discussion (more on this next week).

As a "Peter Panner" (St. Joseph's Boys Home, Helena, Montana) I found the coverage to be scant (1/2 hour plus commercials) but fairly balanced. While there was C.I.A. "Cold War" disinformation [going on at the time], it was of minimal impact, compared to the harsh and unequivocal steps being taken by the new regime to stifle dissent, once in power.

Most parents of these children had been in favor of the revolution, but the "English-speaking" Castro (we saw on T.V.) and whom they saw back then as savior from Batista tyranny and catalyst for democracy/elections, soon shifted to authoritarian mode, almost over night.

My parents faced constant surveillance, threats, trumped up charges and legal departure was denied them. The possibility of incarceration became quite real and in desperation, they spirited me out.

My circumstances were shared by many other Peter Panners with whom I've spoken and confirm my belief that 28,000 parents would not send their children to a foreign land (without assurances of ever seeing them again) on the basis of mere rumors or disinformation.

We need to keep common sense within reach, especially when analysing the past.
- I OPtaciana

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