History Miami packed the house with a VIP reception on June 25, 2015 to inaugurate the exhibit Operation Pedro Pan: The Cuban Children's Exodus.
As one of the largest migration of children ever recorded, Operation Pedro Pan is among the most significant events in World History. Although it affected the lives of vast numbers of young and old alike, most people today are unaware that this event ever took place. During a period of only twenty months, between December 26, 1960 and October 23, 1962, over 14,000 minors arrived in the US to be placed in homes with relatives or unknown host families. It is one of the most heart-wrenching expressions of fear, faith and hope. Think of it. Under what circumstances would you allow your children to travel to another country to live with a family that you do not know, with the possibility that you may never see them again? That was the essence of Operation Pedro Pan. This mass exodus is part of American History and Cuban History, as it refers to the migration of children who travelled from Cuba to live with host families in the United States. Many of them never saw their parents again. Some had wonderful experiences. Others were not so lucky. Some Pedro Pan children grew up to become notable political and successful business leaders. This is a story that needs to be told and the museum is telling the story visually.
The exhibit contains artifacts from the period, photographs, video recollections of participants and art installations relating to the event. Some of those children (now with grandchildren of their own) were present at the opening of the event. One could see the joyful embraces of reunions after not seeing each other for years. There were also tears that the memories of separation brought forth. The exhibit will be open to the public until January 2016 at the museum known as History Miami, which is located in Downtown Miami, across from Miami's Main Library (101 West Flagler StreetMiami, FL 33130) .