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A Boy, an Orphanage, a Cuban Refugee

by Tony Dora

Why would parents send their children, unescorted, to a foreign country with no guarantee that they would ever see each other again? From December 1960 to October 1962 (during the Missile Crisis), over 14,000 unescorted children fled Cuba for the United States in what became known as Operation Peter Pan. Under Fidel Castro’s tyrannical regime, the State confiscated people’s property and bank accounts. Food, clothing and medicine were rationed. Churches, houses of worship and the clergy were attacked. There was no freedom. Cubans lived in fear. Furthermore, communism was taught in schools and children were brainwashed to spy on their parents. A rumor that Castro was sending children to the Soviet Union to receive Marxist indoctrination and serve in work camps caused panic. When Tony and Norma boarded the plane that would fly them to freedom, they had no idea what the future would hold. Theirs was a voyage into the unknown. A Boy, an Orphanage, a Cuban Refugee chronicles their emotional journey through Tony’s eyes as he and Norma navigated life for six weeks in a refugee camp and a year in an orphanage until they were reunited with their mother.

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