“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Florida City in Miami-Dade County, Florida — The American South (South Atlantic)

Operation Pedro Pan

Operación Pedro Pan

Operation Pedro Pan Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By J. J. Prats, February 10, 2014
1. Operation Pedro Pan Marker
Inscription.  On this site, which was officially known as the Florida City Shelter of the Catholic Welfare Bureau’s Children’s Program, thousands of Operation Pedro Pan children found refuge from Communist Cuba between 1961 and 1966. Operation Pedro Pan was conceived and organized by Monsignor Bryan O. Walsh of the Archdiocese of Miami and James Baker, headmaster of Ruston Academy in Havana, Cuba, at the request of parents who sought to prevent Communist indoctrination of their children. It was financed largely by the United States Government with full support of the Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson administrations, and was supervised by the State of Florida. Between December 1960 and October 1962, over 14,000 Pedro Pan children arrived in South Florida. The Florida City shelter was the largest of the Operation’s facilities in the state. It housed girls 5-19 years old and boys under 13 who lived in home units under the care of exiled Cuban couples who served as house parents. Its day-to-day operations were managed by Catholic priests and Sisters of St. Philip Neri. Many Operation Pedro Pan children went on to plant deep roots in the region and made
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significant contributions to Florida and the nation.

En este sitio, denominado Refugio de Florida City del Programa de Niños Cubanos del Buró Católico de Bienestar Social, miles de niños integrantes de la Operación Pedro Pan recibieron albergue de Cuba Comunista entre 1961 y 1966. La operación fue concebida y organizada por el Monseñor Bryan O. Walsh de la Arquidiócesis de Miami y por James Baker, director de la Academia Ruston, ubicada en La Habana, Cuba, a solicitud de padres que no querían que sus hijos fueran adoctrinados por el régimen. Fue financiada por el gobierno estadounidense, con respaldo de la administraciones de Eisenhower, Kennedy y Johnson y supervisada por el gobierno estatal de Florida. Entre diciembre de 1960 y octubre de 1962, más de 14,000 niños cubanos llegaron al sur de Florida. En el Refugio de Florida City, el mayor del estado, se acogieron niñas entre 5 y 19 años de edad y niños menores de 13. Los menores residían en hogares encabezados por matrimonios cubanos exiliados que fungían como padres. La administración estaba bajo la dirección de sacerdotes católicos y las Hermanas de San Felipe Neri. Muchos niños de Operacion Pedro Pan echaron raíces en la región y contribuyeron al desarrollo socioeconómico y cultural de Florida y del país.

Placa patrimonial de Florida auspiciada por Operación Pedro Pan Group., Inc. y el
Operación Pedro Pan Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By J. J. Prats, February 10, 2014
2. Operación Pedro Pan Marker
Departamento de Estado de Florida.

Erected 2012 by Operation Pedro Pan Group, Inc. and the Florida Department of State. A Florida Heritage Landmark. (Marker Number F-739.)
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Charity & Public WorkHispanic AmericansSettlements & SettlersWar, Cold. In addition, it is included in the Former U.S. Presidents: #34 Dwight D. Eisenhower, the Former U.S. Presidents: #35 John F. Kennedy, and the Former U.S. Presidents: #36 Lyndon B. Johnson series lists. A significant historical month for this entry is October 1962.
Location. 25° 27.59′ N, 80° 28.81′ W. Marker is in Florida City, Florida, in Miami-Dade County. Marker is at the intersection of NW 14th Street and NW 2nd Avenue, on the right when traveling east on NW 14th Street. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 155 NW 14th St, Homestead FL 33034, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Landmark Hotel (approx. 0.7 miles away); Redland District (approx. ¾ mile away); The Hotel Redland (approx. ¾ mile away); The Seminole Theater (approx. ¾ mile away); Historic Town Hall (approx. ¾ mile away); First Baptist Church
Operación Pedro Pan Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By J. J. Prats, February 10, 2014
3. Operación Pedro Pan Marker
(approx. 0.9 miles away); First United Methodist Church (approx. 1.1 miles away); Dr. James Archer Smith House (approx. 1.3 miles away).
More about this marker. This official state historical marker is the first with both English and Spanish text. The English face is towards the street.
Related marker. Click here for another marker that is related to this marker.
Additional commentary.
1. Peter Pan: The Fairy Tale That Became a Reality.
2012 paper by Yenisel Porro Delgado at UNC Charlotte. “No one really agrees on the exact origins of the name Operation Pedro/Peter Pan, however, there are two popular theories. The first is that Father Walsh named it Operation Pedro Pan after Pedro Menendez, a fifteen year old boy whose parents sent him to the United States alone in order to protect him from communist indoctrination. Pedro was the first boy that Walsh encountered before the start of OPP. Parents, fearing for their children’s safety, began to send their children to the United States through tourist visas before the operation was even considered. Most who sent their children in that manner, however, had relatives and friends who would agree to care for the children temporarily.
Operation Pedro Pan Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By J. J. Prats, February 10, 2014
4. Operation Pedro Pan Marker
Pedro was not so fortunate, he was found in the streets homeless after his struggling caregivers had to abandon him. The second theory is that a reporter from the Miami Herald gave it the name Operation Peter Pan because it resembled the story of Peter Pan and the Lost Boys in Never Land. As Maria de los Angeles Torres quoted from the Miami Herald, ‘This is the underground railway in the sky — Operation Peter Pan.’ ” (Originally submitted on February 22, 2014, from
    — Submitted November 25, 2017, by J. Makali Bruton of Accra, Ghana.
Credits. This page was last revised on October 27, 2020. It was originally submitted on February 22, 2014, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio. This page has been viewed 2,226 times since then and 121 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on February 22, 2014, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio.

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Jun. 22, 2024