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Operation Pedro Pan and the Exodus of Cuba's Children$
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Deborah Shnookal

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781683401551

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9781683401551.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM FLORIDA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.florida.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University Press of Florida, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in FLASO for personal use.date: 03 July 2022

The Pedro Pan Paradox

The Pedro Pan Paradox

(p.197) 6 The Pedro Pan Paradox
Operation Pedro Pan and the Exodus of Cuba's Children

Deborah Shnookal

University Press of Florida

This chapter considers the many myths and contradictions in common understandings of Operation Pedro Pan. Although people on the island often regard the exodus as a criminal act against the Cuban revolution, no children were prevented from leaving and no one was ever charged or imprisoned for organizing their departures. This chapter also discusses how the story of the “rescue” mission became an ideological foundation of the Cuban-American community in the United States and how, ironically, in the 1999–2000 international custody battle over the refugee child Elián González, a Cuban father’s right of patria potestad was temporarily overturned by the toxic exile politics of Miami’s Cuban community. The author also explains how some young Cuban-Americans, many of them former Pedro Pans, later took the initiative to establish the Antonio Maceo Brigade in order to reconnect with their Cuban roots, despite threats of physical attacks (and even murder, in the case of Carlos Muñiz) by anti-Castro terrorist groups, such as Omega 7.

Keywords:   Elían González, Carlos Muñiz, Antonio Maceo Brigade, patria potestad, Miami’s Cuban community, exile politics, Cuban-American, refugee child, anti-Castro terrorist groups, Omega 7

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