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Lost in the Dominican Republic


During my afternoon outing, I stroll along the road that leads to Sosua Beach passing by an interesting collection of colorful stalls and little shops.  more...


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During my afternoon outing, I stroll along the road that leads to Sosua Beach passing by an interesting collection of colorful stalls and little shops. A light skinned man wearing a Ralph Lauren shirt addresses me: “You have a nice camera, a new model isn’t it?” By the looks of his fancy clothes and expensive shades I presume he is a tourist. I smile and proudly mention that I indeed purchased this fine camera just two weeks ago. Once the gentleman tells me that he is actually a Cuban residing in the Dominican Republic I catch myself thinking: “be careful Debbie” and realize that I apparently react differently to a local person when being approached in exactly the same way.

NN runs a gallery a few meters further down the road amidst the stretch of Sosua tourist and souvenir shops. I realize my cynicism was not misplaced when NN starts trying to sell me a painting. Unfortunately for NN, I am not in the mood for buying a piece of “art” but I cannot help to inquire about how a Cuban ended up in living in Sosua!

Just before, during and after the Cuban revolution of 1959, led by Fidel Castro and Che Guevara, many Cuban families with children left all their belongings and their country, Cuba. Many of these "Cuban Exiles" including the parents of NN, feared for their lives and livelihood, as they were often owners of private companies opposing nationalization or were staunch supporters of the Batista regime.

The, in my opinion, saddest part of the Cuban mass exodus took place between 1960 and 1962 when more than 14.000 Cuban children found themselves being involved in the so-called "Operation Pedro Pan" (Unaccompanied Cuban Children¹s Program). In this case parents did not want to relinquish their houses and life¹s work but somehow became convinced that a better future awaited their children in the USA, thus sending them unaccompanied on a plane to Miami. A fairly large part of these children were being taken care of by other family members, some would even be reunited with their parents but a very large number of children ended up in orphanages and foster parent¹s homes and would never meet their parents again. Operation Pedro Pan made history as being the largest migrations of unaccompanied refugee minors in the Western Hemisphere.



For more information from different perspectives :

- Official website Pedro Pan
- Article Suite 101
- Article Progreso Weekly

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