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Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives logo

Guide to the Estela and Ernesto Bravo Film and Video Collection TAM.616

Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archive
Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
70 Washington Square South
10th Floor
New York, NY 10012
(212) 998-2630

Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives

Collection processed by Jan Hilley, with the assistance of Heather Mulliner

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on March 28, 2018
English using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Container List

Series XXII: Operation Peter Pan: Flying Back to Cuba, 1979-2013

Historical/Biographical Note

In 1960, rumors circulated Cuba that the new revolutionary government planned to suspend parental authority and enroll the children in military schools or send them to Russia for Communist indoctrination. In the wake of the rumors, Cuban parents sent as many as 14,000 unaccompanied children on flights out of Cuba between 1960 and 1962. The United States government facilitated this mass exodus of Cuban children, which became popularly known as Operation Peter Pan, through a clandestine program that waived the children’s visa requirements and provided several million dollars to the Miami Catholic Welfare Bureau to care for the children. Many parents expected to be reunited with their children after what they believed would be the swift fall communist government. Following the Bay of Pigs invasions in 1962, however, US-Cuba relations deteriorated, and permanently separated many parents and children. Some children were able to connect with family members in the United States, but approximately 7000 were moved into long-term orphanages or foster care.

Estela Bravo’s documentary Operation Peter Pan: Flying Back to Cuba about the experience of these children was selected as Best Documentary Feature at the 2011 Havana Film Festival in New York. It also won First Prize at the Festival Internacional de Cine Politico, Buenos Aires; Best Documentary at the 7th Human Rights International Festival in Bolivia; and the Coral Award at the International Festival of New Latin American Cinema.

Scope and Content Note

This 57-minute documentary Operation Peter Pan (  Operación Peter Pan) was released in 2011 and tells the story of the mass migration of Cuban minors to the United States. It uses footage from the National Archives and features interviews with individuals who traveled to the United States in Operation Peter Pan. The film primarily centers on a group of five who traveled back to Cuba for the first time after almost fifty years. Estela Bravo follows them as they explore their past and help bridge the emotional and political divides between the United States and Cuba.

This series contains footage of interviews with select individuals featured in the documentary, a selection of background footage, and a copy of the book Operation Peter Pan based on the documentary.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 72 Folder : 25 Operación Peter Pan: Book Based on the Documentary by Estela Bravo
Box: 40 Cassette : ref730 (Videos) Mendieta, Ana: Interview also "Juan Monge and Zenon"

Historical/Biographical Note

Ana Mendieta (1948 – 1985) was a Cuban American performance artist, sculptor, painter and video artist. Born in Havana, Mendieta and her sister were sent to the United States as a part of Operation Peter Pan in 1961. Their first weeks were spent in refugee camps before moving to several institutions and foster homes in Iowa. They were eventually reunited with their mother in 1966 and their father in 1979.

circa 2010
Box: 95 Dvd : ref730 (Access dvd)
Box: 40 Cassette : ref733 (Videos) Mendieta, Ana: Interview "and Zenon and Monge"
circa 2010
Box: 95 Dvd : ref733 (Access dvd)
Box: 40 Cassette : ref744 Walsh, Bryan O.: Interview

Historical/Biographical Note

Monsignor Bryan O. Walsh (1930-2001) was born in Ireland, moved to the United States and was ordained for the Diocese of St. Augustine, Florida in 1954. He directed the Cuban Children’s Program, which brought 14,000 unaccompanied children from Cuba to the United States.

Box: 40 Cassette : ref741 Walsh, Bryan O.: Interview
circa 1979
Box: 40 Cassette : ref734 Interview with girl (Nina), Casa de las Americas
Box: 23 Cassette : ref537 "Early interview with Emilio Cueto"

Historical/Biographical Note

Emilio Cueto is a lawyer, author, pianist, and collector of Cuban cultural artifacts. Born in Cuba, he came to the United States as one of the Operation Peter Pan children.

Box: 40 Cassette : ref736 "1st Part - "Traidor" (traitor) L Fonseca; 2nd Part - New Jersey, Walsh"
Box: 32 Cassette : ref632 "Peter Pan"
Box: 40 Cassette : ref739 "Camp Photos, Walsh"
Box: 40 Cassette : ref742 "Part of 'Lost Apple'"
Box: 39 Cassette : ref801 "Walsh, Lost Apple, Peter Pan"

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