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date: 23 May 2017

Operation Pedro Pan

This is an advance summary of a forthcoming article in the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Latin American History. Please check back later for the full article.

Between the autumn of 1960 and October 1962, more than 14,000 unaccompanied Cuban children were sent to the United States by their parents, where a young Irish immigrant priest, Father Bryan O. Walsh, arranged for them to be cared for by U.S. foster homes and in Catholic children’s homes and orphanages. The exodus of Cuban children would later become known as Operation Pedro Pan; the federally funded and Catholic Church administered program that was established to care for them would be called the Cuban Children’s Program. Their interconnected histories were central to the development of post-revolutionary Cuba and the Miami Cuban exile community, and they shed important light on U.S.-Cuba and U.S.-Latin America relations during the height of the Cold War.