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April 14, 2023 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm

In-Person: An Evening with John A. Gronbeck-Tedesco


April 14, 2023
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm


zArchive2-Books & Books Coral Gables
265 Aragon Ave
Coral Gables, FL 33134 United States
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Books & Books and FIU’s Cuban Research Institute present…

AN EVENING WITH John A. Gronbeck-Tedesco


Operation Pedro Pan: The Migration of Unaccompanied Children from Castro’s Cuba

(Potomac Books, $32.95)

Friday, April 14th, 7 PM | LIVE & IN-PERSON at Books & Books, Coral Gables



Books & Books and FIU’s Cuban Research Institute are thrilled to present an evening with John A. Gronbeck-Tedesco discussing his book: Operation Pedro Pan: The Migration of Unaccompanied Children from Castro’s Cuba (Potomac Books, $32.95).

This event is FREE and open to the public and books will be available for purchase the night of the event so make sure to stay after the talk for a book signing! Please RSVP only if you intend to join us.

About the Book:

At the outset the proposal seemed modest: transfer two hundred unaccompanied Cuban children to Miami to save them from communism. The time apart from their parents would be short, only until Fidel Castro fell from power by the result of U.S. force, Cuban counterrevolutionary tactics, or a combination of both. Families would be reunited in a matter of months. A plan was hatched, and it worked—until it ballooned into something so unwieldy that within two years the modest proposal erupted into what at the time was the largest migration of unaccompanied minors to the United States.

Operation Pedro Pan explores the undertaking sponsored 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. Operation Pedro Pan was the colloquial name for the Unaccompanied Cuban Children’s Program, which began under government largesse in February 1961. Children without immediate family support in the United States—some 8,300 minors—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.

Using personal interviews and newly unearthed information, Operation Pedro Pan provides a deeper understanding of how and why the program was devised. John A. Gronbeck-Tedesco demonstrates how the seemingly mundane conditions of everyday life can suddenly uproot civilians from their routines of work, church, and school and thrust them into historical prominence. The stories told by Pedro Pans are filled with horror and resilience and contribute to a refugee memory that still shapes Cuban American politics and identity today.

★”Operation Pedro Pan is more than simply the retelling of history. It is the experience of real people, making their way in the unpredictable storm of historic events.”Cold War Book Reviews

★“A fascinating but forgotten story about the Cold War, child refugees, and civil rights. This is more than a book about the beginnings of Cuban Miami or a foreign relations alliance between the Catholic Church and the U.S. government; it is also a reminder of the complex origins of our own times. Operation Pedro Pan is a brilliant history by a stellar writer.”—Christopher R. W. Dietrich, author of Oil Revolution: Anticolonial Elites, Sovereign Rights, and the Economic Culture of Decolonization


About the Author:

John A. Gronbeck-Tedesco is an associate professor of American studies at Ramapo College of New Jersey. He is the author of Cuba, the United States, and Cultures of the Transnational Left, 1930–1975. His articles have appeared in scholarly journals as well as Washingtonpost.com, TheHill.com, and TalkingPointsMemo.com. Gronbeck-Tedesco has been a guest on SiriusXM’s POTUS channel, NPR’s Marketplace, and WHYY’s Radio Times.