Operation Pedro Pan
The Untold Exodus of 14,048 Cuban Children, Revised Edition

Yvonne M. Conde

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Poignant stories from one of the world’s largest political exoduses of children  
Praise for the first edition:  
“Compelling reading.”—New Republic  
“A collection of tearful testimonies woven with a tale of the event that unfolded in Cuba and led desperate parents to make the heart-wrenching decision to send their children along to a foreign country.”—Miami Herald  
“[Conde] does an impressive job of reporting dozens of personal stories and fascinating vignettes. . . . A compilation of tales, some moving, many astonishing.”—Chicago Tribune  
“A well-researched history of Operation Pedro Pan, a portrait of early revolutionary Cuba and a compendium of testimony from the now-grown children.”—Publishers Weekly  
“The book’s primary value lies in the individual stories, from tearful departure and arrival in Miami to temporary shelters and placement in homes or, in some cases, in orphanages; to learning a new language and adjusting and, in many cases, assimilating; to reunions with parents, adolescence in the ’60s and ’70s, and adulthood.”—Booklist  
“Conde does an excellent job of narrating the essential outline of the history of Operation Pedro Pan, and an equally superb job of analyzing the circumstances that created this exodus, from the viewpoint of those who felt compelled to create it and keep it going. . . . Operation Pedro Pan is . . . as much a primary source as it is a work of history, as much a window onto a mentality as it is a guide to events, names, and institutions.”—Carlos M. N. Eire, Hispanic American Historical Review  
“Fascinating is the least one can say about this book. It’s the story of thousands of Cuban children who wouldn’t grow up under communism and were sent by their parents to the never-never land of America. Some of them lived happily ever after because this version of Peter Pan is a tragedy with a happy ending sometimes. Fidel Castro, by the way, plays a very credible Captain Hook.”—Guillermo Cabrera Infante, Cervantes Prize-winning novelist  
On August 11, 1961, at the age of ten, Yvonne Conde left Cuba in one of the world’s largest political exoduses of children in history—Operation Pedro Pan. Between 1960 and 1962 over 14,000 children were sent out of Cuba alone by desperate parents who feared for their children’s future under Castro. Unlike Peter Pan, however, these children continued to grow up even while separated from their families.
As the children arrived in temporary camps in Miami, volunteers such as Father Bryan O. Walsh helped them find new homes across the country. Conde tracked down hundreds of these children to tell their diverse stories—their uplifting, poignant, and sometimes tragic experiences in American foster homes and orphanages. Because Conde herself was a Pedro Pan child, others have opened up to her like never before to share their feelings about this painful time in their lives. Today, these children and their families struggle to heal the emotional scars of their long separation.
In this edition, with a new prologue, Conde looks back on Operation Pedro Pan from the vantage point of six decades and brings readers up to date on events and discoveries since the groundbreaking first publication of this book in 1999. Writing with compassion and rare insight, Conde uncovers the true tales of a little-known episode of the Cold War.  
Yvonne M. Conde is a freelance writer based in New York City. She has written for Latina Magazine, Crain’s, Smithsonian, and Hispanic Business Magazine, among others, and has been featured on NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, National Public Radio, and other national media.
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