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Honoring the Founder of Pedro Pan
Wednesday, June 08, 2005 By: Juan Paxety
Remembering the Pedro Pan kids
Julio Zangroniz writes at Babalu:
Last week, the City of Miami honored the memory of a man who did much to help its development --through years of efforts that continue to have important repercussions on the city, its surroundings, and even the country, to this very day.
No, that man wasn't a tamer of the wilderness or a builder of skyscrapers or an urbanizer or an architect, though in reality, if you are talking about the ability to build the character of individual human beings, he was all of those things and more.
That man was Monsignor Bryan O. Walsh, a Catholic priest who in the 1960s was instrumental in something called Operation Pedro Pan, an effort that saved over 14,000 Cuban children from the growing Communist menace in their homeland.
Julio was one of those 14,000 kids. Read the whole thing.
I can remember when the Pedro Pan kids arrived at my school in Georgia. I knew about my Spanish and Cuban ancestry, but hadn't thought a lot about it. Between my bad castellano and their bad English, I figured out that these children had had to leave their parents and come to another country - a country with another language and customs. The thought of having to leave one's family was unimaginable to me. Our community was strongly anti-communist, so I knew that fidel was a bad man. I hadn't realized how bad.
A few weeks later, I saw Diana Riera for the first time. She was older than me, probably 17 or 18 at the time. That's when I realized fidel was a fool. He had forced out of his country the most beautiful woman who had ever graced the earth.