Carlos Penada

As Interviewed by Clara F., March 23, 2011
"They left in 1960, originally in hopes to come back very soon, but that never occurred."
Carlos Penada

Introductory Profile: About Carlos Penada

Carlos Penada was born and raised in Miami, Florida. Both of his parents grew up in Cuba, and escaped from Castro right after they were married. After that, his mother worked to help others to get out of Cuba. Many stories were passed down to him, and I interviewed him for such.

Before Castro reigned, Cuba was headed by Batista. He was throwing the country of Cuba into ruin, then this guy came in and had an idea to resolve the problem. This man’s name was Castro. The people began to like and trust Castro’s judgments, but once they had elected him as president, he began to start communism in Cuba. This spread poverty over the whole country, and people started suffering, and they began to leave, mostly to the United States. When Castro realized he was losing the civilians, he enforced sanctions to keep the people from leaving.

One of these sanctions did not allow entire families to leave Cuba. Out of desperation to save their children, parents would send them off all alone. After this had showed to be a common solution, there came to be an organization called Operation Peter Pan. This was started by a Catholic church in Miami, Florida, but the idea was spread all over. Operation Peter Pan found refugee children without a guardian, and put them in foster homes and Catholic schools until their parents were able to get to the US.

Carlos’ parents endured the frightening prospect of starting a new life in an unfamiliar country, leaving all but their family behind. Carlos is here to tell their tale.