effort (December 1960
- October 1962
), in which more than 14,000 children were brought from Cuba
to the United States
Planes left from Rancho Boyeros Airport and landed in Kingston, Jamaica, with kids holding British visas. The United States then issued visas for travel from Jamaica to the United States.
These young refugees were placed with family members or friends of the family. Kids who had no family or friends to live with in the US were placed in foster homes and boarding schools until their parents could get visas.
When Operation Pedro Pan was ended an 1962 by the political aftermath of the Bay of Pigs invasion, some 50,000 children in Cuba had been issued visas but were still waiting to leave the island. Several years later, in 1965, flights resumed; the parents of Pedro Pan kids in the US were given top priority so that the families could be reunited.
The Operation Pedro Pan Group (pedropan.org), a nonprofit association of Pedro Pan kids who are now adults, now exists to tell the story of this exodus and to fund projects for children.