Cuban Kids from the 60s Exodus

Comments Received Regarding the Letter to CNBC-Escape From Havana-

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Comments Received Regarding

Cuban Kids from the 60s Exodus Letter to CNBC:

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On 6/19/10 Emilio Subil from Florida writes:

Los felicitos!!!

Muy buena respuesta,la prensa izquierdista siempre cambian las historias para poner elpunto de vista de ellos. 

Un abrazo,

Emilio Subil

 

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On 6/19/10 Carmen Valdivia from Florida writes:

This is an awesome letter, congratulations.

Carmen

 

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On 6/19/10 Rosario Santiago from Florida writes:

Thank you for this clear review of a 'documentary" that left me with a bad taste in my mouth. It highlights mostly children of what they insinuated to be wealthy parents. Rich or poor parents made a sacrifice to get us out of Castro's reach.

I was "una guajirita", daughter of a small farmer in a small town in Cuba.
My uncle was sentenced to 30 yrs in prison for drummed up charges. My own father was detained several times if there was a fire in his sugar cane small farm, something very common during dry weather. In his last imprisonment they brought him home the next morning at dawn so he could shower and change cloth. He had been attending a meeting of Asociacion de Colonos when he was arrested; he had not been to the farm that day.

They brought him at dawn, almost knocking the front door down with their rifles. Militiamen had gone to the side and back doors. It was a memory I will never forget. He was taken to Castillo San Severino in Matanzas, where my mother with youngsters in tow went every day to take him a change of cloth and some food. It was a 1 hr bus ride in an already poor transportation service. We never saw him or could send a note. Eventually, he was released. Shortly after, that my father gather us and asked us if we would consider leaving Cuba and they would follow us. For a man of such humble means and with no marketable skills other than farming, this seemed to be a crazy plan. I was ready and we all agreed. I did not get my visa waiver thru the Catholic Services and had never heard of the Pedro Pan label until I had been in the US for a long time. An American family in Delaware obtained my visa waiver and sent me my airfare and transfer to fly and live with them, until my parents could come. Their daughter was my pen pal. I will be forever grateful for their willingness to bring me to a free country. My sisters arrived in Miami Oct. 13. 1962 and my parents were to follow several weeks later. The October crisis separated our family for 3 years. We knew of children in Matacumbe and Florida City. There were plenty of youngsters like me, from farms and small towns, including four of the Santana children, related to my mother. Each Pedro Pan child has a story and certainly many suffered unthinkable situations like the young woman now in California. I do not know of anyone who regretted, as an adult, the steps their parents took. If this young woman cannot appreciate that she would have lost her innocence in remote Russia as a possession of Fidel Castro and never see them again, then she is a small minority along with the so-called Sociologist and Ms Whylhelm. The Pedro Pans stand tall and grateful, resolute in the reason why they were whisked away from Cuba.

As for the story of the fake letter about Patria Potestad, someone has to review some of Armando Hart, then minister of "miss education "and his quoting of Castro's plans to take away from "padres burgeses" the right to decide for their children.

After my parents arrived in the US, they told us that the last time they had arrested my father he was threatened that if he they ever detained him again he will never see his daughters again.

This documentary had a certain foul smell to it. Perhaps someone can tell us about the Mr. Jacoby listed on the credits.

Yes, Carlos Eire spoke for us all. He made watching the documentary worthwhile. I want to thank Carlos for his contribution to our story and our part in history. I hope that if there is another documentary, it will focus on the thousand of youngsters that are successful in other ways other than having name recognition or having attained wealth and/or fame.

Thank you for the work you are doing.  

Rosario Santiago

Miami, Fl

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On 6/19/10 Justo Martinez from Florida writes:

Oscar, Arturo, Estela, Berta

Thank you for a great letter !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! to CNBC

Take care,

Justo A. Martinez

 

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On 6/19/10 Raul Veguez from California writes:

Excelente, muchas gracias, estoy completamente de acuerdo con todo el contenido de esta carta.

Raul Veguez, Pedro Pan 1962

 

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On 6/19/10 Gilda Rivero from Florida writes:

Wonderful letter…my sentiments exactly!  A very disappointing documentary!

 

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On 6/19/10 Vivian McCombie from Florida writes:

I agree with you 100%.  I thought I was the only one that was feeling this way.  After my husband and I watched the documentary, our first comment about it was, "I thought it was suppose to be about the Pedro Pan kids, parents, the different experiences that we all had and how we had managed to survive and shine".  The whole ordeal from beginning to the present, not only of selected, famous or wealthy individuals, but also of the average person which were also Pedro Pans and were also part of Operation Pedro Pan.
Thank you for writing this letter to CNBC and for sharing your letter with us. 
Vivian McCombie (Salort), A Pedro Pan

 

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On 6/19/10 Rosa Sanchez from Florida writes:

CONGRATULATIONS FOR SUCH A WONDERFUL LETTER.

Now, for whatever it's worth, here are my two cents:

1 - You just cannot expect non-bias from the media. And very pronounced bias in certain Channels.

2 - I thought the greatest disservice, setting aside the 'floating' of the CIA conspiracy re/taking over the children (which, really came to pass when the  regime in Cuba began the communist indoctrination plan in schools and later instituted the 'military age limit' so boys couldn't leave until they were 27) -- setting those FACTS aside, the greatest disservice was to leave the viewing public with the impression that the parents simply sent away the kids while they sat on their behind 'waiting' for the Castro regime 'to fall.' Nothing is farther from the truth. Parents tried to reunite with their kids here IMMEDIATELY. It was the govt. in Cuba the one who delayed that reunion for years.

3 - About the two 'aberrations' they presented...well, it is a large universe. They were bound to find more than two who are just that: aberrations...not the rule. And had the producers been truthful they would have made that very clear. Some things should be evident to most people, particularly after 50+ years of one man been the center of a 'government' and the largest exodus ever seen in this side of the world. But, again, think: When a dog bites a man it is not news. It is news when a man bites a dog. They found two individuals who had bitten dogs!

Rosa Sanchez, Los Angeles

 

PS - Hablando en Cubano: casi que hay que 'darse con un canto en el pecho' de que MSNBC admitiera la existencia de la operacion Peter Pan e incluyera el segmento del paredón...no que esto excusa lo otro, naturalmente.

 

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On 6/19/10 Jorge Menendez from California writes:

 

Asi mismito y bien dicho.

 

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On 6/20/10 Carlos Busquets from Florida writes:

 

PRIMO Y LOS DEMAS. MUY BIEN ACLARADO. CUIDENSE. CARLOS

 

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On 6/20/10 Guillermo Paz from Florida writes:

Dear Oscar B. Pichardo, Arturo Bueno, Estela Bueno, Berta Freire

 

I just read your letter in response to the Escape from Havana documentary.  Well in reality it was not a documentary it was a self-serving Castro infomercial but never the less, I want to congratulate all of you on a well researched, properly written response to the misinformation represented in the infomercial.

 

A well deserved two thumbs up for your letter!

Your Pedro Pan Brother,

Guillermo Ricardo Paz Vazquez, Miami, Florida

 

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On 6/20/10 Maray Stowell from California writes:

I know some of you watched this documentary at my behest.  I would agree that some parts of the documentary were very informative.  However, as you can see from this excellent letter by Pedro Pans from CA, many of us feel that the documentary included misinformation, as well as some hidden agenda.  This is only one of many similar letters that various groups have sent to CNBC.  This is just FYI. 

Maray

 

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On 6/20/10 Fernando Hernandez from Florida writes:

Hermanos, 
I commend you for the excellent and timely letter to the producers of the program Escape From Havana. We must remember that sometimes when equal time is given to opposite viewpoints, it appears that the minority view has the same following as the majority, which is false and misleading. Every presidential election a  Socialist and Communist candidate is on the ballot although they scarcely get any support or votes compared to the Republican and Democratic candidates. So what took place in the documentary does not surprise me one bit.
As a Pedro Pan, I often ponder what type of legacy will I leave behind. I decided to write a book in English about the legacy of Cubans and Cuban Americans in the United States from the 1800s to the present. What I found in my research is surprising; although we comprise just 3.5% of the Hispanic population in the U.S., we have overachieved more than any other group in such a short time. We must be proud of this and our children, grandchildren, new Cuban arrivals and the general population should  know our history and contribution. I will gladly mail you a copy once it is published. 
Regards,
Fernando "Fernan" Hernandez

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On 6/20/10 Maria Garcia from New York writes:

 

Great article Oscar. I remember though that at the last minute , my brother and I got student visas so my mother gave our Peter pan arrangements to two other less unfortunate children. She sent us off by ourselves.We wondered endessly throughout the miami airport not knowing where or what to do.If it hadn't been for the FBI who where finally alerted and came to our rescue, who knows what might have happened to us. That agent took us to his home, we didn't understand any english or what was going on. His wife fed us. I gather that he must have made a few calls and figured out that we must have been strays from the earlier flight from Peter pan ; so the next morning , we were sent to meet up with the Peter Pan kids.

My parents wishes came true afterall. We ended up at Kendall Camp. Next stop , you know the rest, Green Bay, Wi.That was a bitter sweet but at times hell for me. But I have fond memories of all my Peter Pan Brothers and sisters. Love to all, Maria-Elena

 

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On 6/20/10 Angela Rodriguez from California writes:

 

I am very proud to be your Peter Pan sister!  Thank you for such a wonderful letter.  I am one that does not trust the media so it did not surprise me that they twisted our story to fit their agenda.  God knows our ordeal and what grateful Americans Peter Pans are so we will get our rewards in HIS Presence! 

Love you Bro!

Angelita Rodriguez

 

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On 6/20/10 Carmen Valdivia from Florida writes:

 

Dear Pedro Pan brothers and sisters:

I congratulate you on the awesome letter that you sent to CNBC, in response to their documentary.  The information that you gave them with reference to the alleged CIA plot, went to the heart of their claim and should clear up any misconceptions, for anyone with an open mind.  Desafortunadamente, no hay mas sordo que el que no quiere oír; at this point, I doubt that they will listen but, be that as it may, you clarified it for anyone that, sincerely, wants to know.

Warm regards,

Carmen Valdivia    

 

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On 6/21/10 Maria Loughlin from Florida writes:

YO NO SOY DE PEDRO PAN NI TENIA A NADIE EN ESE GRUPO, PERO COMO ME GUSTA LA HISTORIA, Y ESTO ES HISTORIA TRISTE PERO LO ES, VI ESTE DOCUMENTAL, Y ME DIO NAUSEAS, AL OIR A ESTOS PEDRO PAN, MAL AGRADECIDOS DE SUS PADRES Y DE LAS PERSONAS QUE HICIERON POSIBLE QUE 14,000 NIÑOS NO CAYERAN EN LAS GARRAS DE LA DROCTRINA COMUNISTA, Y QUE PUDIERAN VIVIR EN LIBERTAD, DA VERGUENZA Y REPUGNANCIA DE VER COMO HABLAN DE LA MARAVILLA DE CUBA,  (LA REVOLUCION) .

DEBIAN EN UNO DE ESOS VIAJES, QUEDARSE ALLA, A VER CUANTO TIEMPO AGUANTARIAN Y SI FUERAN CON DINERO, LOS CASTROS LO ACEPTARIAN HASTA QUE SE LES ACABARAN LOS DOLARES.

TENIA QUE ESCRIBIRLES DESPUES DE HABER LEIDO ESTA CARTA CON ACLARACIONES, MUCHOS CUBANOS SABEMOS LA HISTORIA VERDADERA Y EN QUE TERRENO ESTAN PARADOS LOS PEDRO PAN, UNOS 3 O 4  QUE NO LO SEPAN, NO VA A QUITARLE LA IMAGEN GLORIOSA QUE TENEMOS DE ESA ORGANIZACION .

MUCHAS GRACIAS

MARIA C. LOUGHLIN

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On 6/21/10 Oscar Vega from Florida writes:

Outstanding letter, this is the fight that we cannot give up! I am with you. I will never, EVER return to that island or give in to their cheap approaches as long as that regime is in power or I am alive, thank you brothers and sister for holding our heads high!

 

Oscar (Flaco, Florida City 1962)

 

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On 6/21/10 Lourdes Daily-Pendón from Indiana writes:

 

This is in answer to the letter that was sent to us last week about “Escape from Havana”.

 

I think the documentary was great!  For the first time it showed different points of view.  I’m really sorry that those who scream “liberty” the loudest can’t stand when someone says something different than what they think.

 

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On 6/21/10 Esteban Fernandez from California writes:

 

MUY BUENO, Y AL FINAL DE LA JORNADA FUE CIERTO QUE ELIMINARON LA PATRIA POTESTAD. Hoy en dia los padres no son los que mandan en los hijos sino el Estado.

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On 6/21/10 Magali Jerez from New York writes:

 

Simply, BRAVO!

Magali R. Jerez

 

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On 6/21/10 Antonio Gonzalez from Florida writes:

 

Just read your excellent comments regarding the shortcomings of the documentary and I totally agree.  Parents (28,000) would not send their children off to a foreign land without assurances of seeing them again on the basis of some rumor. Cold war or not.

The blogspot:       www.elyuma.blogspot.com  Which is run by CUNY professor Ted Henken published a letter from me criticizing this documentary and questioning the “rumor theory.” I pointed to my own situation where my communist uncle was harassing us and filing charges against my father etc.  The professor posted my letter and sought more comments from other Peter Pans about what their parents experienced leading them to ship their children out. I informed others on the Herald’s Peter Pan site via a news feed, but not a single one visited El yuma to add comments in support of what I stated. I guess the “rumor theory” is due to endure partly as a result of apathy. I figured there would have been many with anecdotes of their parents’ arrest, harassment, firing and kids being shipped off to agriculture, etc.  

Best regards, Antonio Gonzalez Perez  

 

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On 6/21/10 Irene Martinez from California writes:

“As for the story of the fake letter about Patria Potestad, someone has to review some of Armando Hart, then minister of "miss education "and his quoting of Castro's plans to take away from "padres burgeses" the right to decide for their children”.   

This is a very good point.  I was telling Bertica that my family had a long standing friendship with Dr. Lebredo (attorney/teacher).  He and my sister (also a teacher) were well acquainted with Hart (I met him once).  That’s how my parents were influenced to make the decision…Dr. Lebredo prepared all the legal docs for me, translations, etc. and furnished the contact information here.  The rest is history…

Irene Martìnez-Ceballos

 

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On 6/21/10 Suzy Rodriguez from Florida writes:

 

Arturo, Estela, Oscar, et al: Great letter and thank you for sharing! That's the way to do it...Pedro Pan children is one brethren...no matter were we live, Florida, California, etc. etc. I'm so glad we are behaving as a big fat Cuban family!!!! You know my thoughts on the program...I've posted it everywhere! CNBC will not break us or dishonor our parents and those that sheltered us. We are a strong bunch!

 

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On 6/21/10 Juan Carlos Dominguez from California writes:

 

Great response!!

Juan Carlos Dominguez

 

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On 6/21/10 Carmen Romanach from Florida writes:

 

Excellent letter!!! Thanks for writing a very well documented letter in response to the misleading CNBC documentary. Our story is a unique one that portrays the courage and wisdom of our parents, the generosity of the American people and the resilience of the Pedro Pan children. It is our duty to preserve it for future generations and your letter keeps the record straight to preserve it the way it was. Congratulations for a job well done!

 

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On 6/21/10 Carlos Alamilla from Florida writes:

 

Oscar, Arturo, Estela, and Berta you wrote a great letter, it makes a great statement about the presence of Pedro Pans in the US.

 

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On 6/22/10 Gustavo Diaz from California writes:

 

Dear Oscar B. Pichardo
Arturo Bueno

Estela Bueno

Berta Freire

I am glad you took the time to write CNBC about the documentary. I agree a hundred percent with your response. I am not a Pedro Pan but I have shared with many of you at your reunions and through personal friendships. For that reason, and as a Cuban exile, I was hoping that, for once, a documentary about Cuba or Cubans would take our side without any apologies, or worse, kudos for the Castro regime.  

I remember that back in the 60s I was carrying placards during a street demostration in front of the Boston PBS station protesting a pro-Castro documentary they had aired. Nearly fifty years later, alas, very little has changed. What a disappointment!. The socialists among us never tire.

As far as the Pedro Pans who have "turned", I deplore it but not criticize them as I was never in their shoes. I made the decision to leave very young but entirely on my own, leaving behind very elderly parents and a grandmother. The latter I never saw again and the former only after a long seven years, which destroyed their health, so the re-encounter was bittersweet and their stay here full of setbacks. Yet,  I never regretted the separation that eventually allowed me to rescue them.

I have read from the pen of well-known Pedro Pans the bitterness of their separation; I have even heard first-hand of the tribulations of the camps and foster homes, from loneliness to rapes. Perhaps such painful experiences festering for decades would have "turned" me too. Little children are not mentally prepared for such extreme measures and as for teenagers, they never approve of any decisions their parents make on their behalf after all. My soul wounds were self-inflicted and I had no one else to blame, which was a blessing.

Along the same lines, I have seen Bay of Pigs veterans from the 2506 Brigade forget the reasons why they fought, second-guess their own decisions and change their minds about their own motives with the passage of time, so I´m not surprised some Pedro Pans, who had no say in the matter back then, have done the same. But I lament it. Too bad such sentiments have turned now into a  de-facto collaboration with a tyranny.

Sincerely

Gustavo Diaz de la Peña

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On 6/22/10 Joaquin Sanchez from California writes:

 

My Name is Joaquin Sanchez I arrive in Miami Dec. 13, 1961, I'm a Pedro Pan.  I watch the program twice and both times it brought a lot sad memories that I had hidden inside me and that I had block away.... I was 8 it was very hard for me, all I did was cry because of the separation of my parents and my family...It was a great documentary but it really brought out a lot sad memory. While I watch the program all I did was cry.  My brother was also part of the Pedro Pan in fact he submitted a few pictures for the documentary his name is Luis Sanchez. 

I just wanted to thank you for such a wonderful documentary it would had been nice to see all the pictures of the kids that arrive through Pedro Pan.

Thank You

Joaquin Sanchez

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On 6/22/10 Maria Hernandez from Florida writes:

 

This is the first time I hear about the letter from the California group, and I feel proud and satisfied at the work you have done.  You four should have been the ones to produce this program instead of Miss Gripenburg, who was nice enough but also personally promised in an email to let me know the exact date and time of the show airing and I never heard from her. 

 Your letter is well researched and you back up everything stated in the letter while maintaining a calm and authoritative tone throughout.  Kudos to you all!

Con mucho orgullo...   
Maria Hernandez Mills
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On 6/23/10 Luis Valdivieso from Washington D.C. writes:

A very dear close friend, a Peter Pan, sent me a copy of your answer to the producers of the Special. I could not agree more with you. I include a copy of my own answer to that unfortunate attempt to historical honesty and objectivity.

Best Wishes for you and the entire generation of Cuban - American Sisters and Brothers that make us all so proud!

 A response to the Special "Escape from Havana" on CNBC - May 27, 2010
I must confess that I finished watching your special with mixed feelings. I'm a 74 years old Cuban with many close Peter Pan friends. I was glad to see that finally this long forgotten and ignored American and Cuban Saga was finally given its well deserved attention but a combination of factors left me confused, upset and disappointed:

1. The inevitable "MTV Syndrome" used today in Television montage and editing which is pathetic! (The younger generation in TV editing are clueless as to the normal function of the Human mind and attention span. A total waste
of resources!!!);

2. A better chronological development of the topic; There was nothing secret at the time when the Airlift occurred!!!

3. More emphasis on the incredible function of the Catholic Church and Msgr. Walsh in the entire operation;

4. Some statistics as to the actual result of the operation, Successes and failures, number of professionals, thousands of incredible stories, not 4 or five.

5. Where are they now? ,  Etc.

6. Why did you not ask Andy Garcia or another Cuban Professional to produce this project? There is a lack of empathy and understanding of the entire episode, its roots, development and consequences.

7. Why Now? - Is there, a hidden economic and political agenda on doing this Special now for political gains? I could go on and on... and I'm almost tempted to say thanks, but no thanks. Cordially. Valdivieso

***************************************************************************************************************************************On 6/23/10 Aida Morris from Almeria, Spain writes:

Hello Pedro Pan brothers and sisters,

As I now live in Almeria, Spain, I had been disappointed that I would not be able to see this "documentary".  Clearly, it was no great loss.  It never fails to amaze me how naive I can be, still expecting unbiased, truthful reporting --without a self-serving agenda-- from certain sources.  And I was just wondering if CNBC might have a facility, such as is the case with the BBC in the U.K., whereby if there is a substantial public outcry about the contents of a program, they make it public.  Does the almighty CNBC offer such a thing?  (And, no, this time I will NOT be amazed if the answer is "no"). 

Having read the comments to your letter, I would like to add my thanks and congratulations.  I would also like to say to the author of the ONE single dissenting comment (who thought the 'documentary' was great) that they are blatantly clueless about the subject.  The 'freedom of expression' argument doesn't wash -- it might carry some weight IF the 'different point of view' they refer to happened to be TRUE.

I would also really appreciate it if Fernando "Fernan" Hernandez, or anyone, could please let me know when his book about the legacy of Cubans and Cuban-Americans in the U.S. has been published, as I would be very interested in obtaining a copy.  I would really like my daughter to have it.  Thanks! 

Un afectuoso saludo a todos,

Aida (Cabrera) Morris

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On 6/24/10 Raul Miranda, from California, writes:

I too saw the documentary and found it to be fairly accurate and balanced. The PP experience was a bitter one for us, for some more than for others. There are many truly uplifting stories and some downright sordid and sad. To believe that the CIA was not somewhat involved, is at least disingenious and besides it does not in anyway detract from the fact that we were all escaping totalitarian communist.

I greatly enjoyed Mr. Eire's book, however, and this my personal and humble opinion he came across a bit too emotional and dogmatic, almost chastising others that may to go to Cuba to visit, he is entitled to his opinion.

There are over fourteen thousand of us "Pedro Pans" we are not a monolithic group (thank God) although we share many commonalities we may have many different political ideas. No one voice speaks or represent all or most of us, to think so is at least presumptuous.

Those that use the PP name, should be careful and respectful and frame personal opinions as such so as not to pretend that they speak for the whole or even most of our group.

 

Respectfully,

 

Raul Miranda, MD.

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