Fleeing their country was something many middle and upper class Cuban families did in the early nineteen sixties after experiencing life under revolutionary leader Fidel Castro. Many children from these families were sent to Miami for safe-keeping with the expectation that parents would join them as soon as they were granted an exit visa. You can read more about this in my short summary of “Waiting for Snow in Havana,” by Carlos Eire.
Like Eire, my friend Maria was sent to Miami, the first in her family to go, as part of the Peter Pan Airlift (Pedro Pan in Spanish). After reading Eire I wanted to hear and record her story. She is the most generous person I’ve ever met. She dedicates her life to eliminating obstacles in the lives of people she cares about, starting with her large extended family and continuing with young Latinos in her community who need help realizing their dreams. I wanted to know how her early experiences compared to those of Eire and whether they influenced her actions today.
The six short interviews will be divided into three blog posts.
Part I introduces Maria’s childhood in Havana during the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista and during the revolution of Fidel Castro. “Tell me about your childhood in Havana” (1 minute 48 seconds)
Part II talks about conditions a year after the revolution, including the closing of schools, which led to a decision by Maria’s parents to send her to Miami alone. “What made your parents decide to send you to the U.S.? (5 minutes and 6 seconds)
Look for more of Maria’s story in the next few days.