Book Talk: “Operation Pedro Pan: Childhood in the US-Cuban Cold War”


Operation Pedro Pan was the extraordinary undertaking by the Miami Catholic Diocese, federal and state offices, child welfare agencies, and anti-Castro Cubans to bring more than fourteen thousand unaccompanied children to the United States during the Cold War. Officially called the Unaccompanied Cuban Children’s Program, children without immediate family support in the United States—some 8,300 kids—received group and foster care through the Catholic Welfare Bureau and other religious, governmental, and nongovernmental organizations as young people were dispersed throughout the country. Pedro Pans entered the United States as sanctified members of the Cold War nuclear family. In Cuba, Fidel Castro and other leaders made the revolution a moral imperative. Children were the future of the reengineered socialist nation, inheritors of the great political experiment in the Western Hemisphere. Across both nations, the period’s confrontational language was inscribed on the bodies of their youth.

Thursday, March 16, 2023

6:00 PM – 7:30 PM EST

CUNY Graduate Center

Room 9205

This event is free and open to the public. RSVP:
John A. Gronbeck-Tedesco is Associate Professor of American Studies at Ramapo College of New Jersey. He is the author of the books Cuba, the United States, and Cultures of the Transnational Left, 1930-1975 (Cambridge) and Operation Pedro Pan: The Migration of Unaccompanied Children from Castro’s Cuba (Potomac Books). His writing has appeared in American Quarterly, Journal of Latin American Studies, as well as Slate Magazine, Washington Post, Talking Points Memo, and other outlets. He lives in New York City.
COVID-19 and Building access:
Non-CUNY attendees will need to show ID, proof of vaccination or a negative PCR test taken within seven days of the event.
CUNY affiliated attendees will need to show their Clear4 Pass.

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