Don't miss Black Pedro Pan, a book presentation by Pedro Pan author, Ricardo Gonzalez Zayas

September 3, 2021 at 7:00 PM at the American Museum of the Cuban Diaspora


Born in Havana, Cuba, in 1949, Ricardo arrived in the United States as part of Operation Pedro Pan in 1962. A 1968 graduate of Belen Jesuit Preparatory School, he received a BA in Liberal Arts from Miami’s Biscayne College in 1972. After a long career in the private insurance sector, he moved back to Miami and worked in different capacities in local government. Now retired, Ricardo and his wife Mariana live in Northeast Florida.

In his book, Ricardo relates his experience as a black Cuban refugee who came to America at the peak of the Cold War, the Civil Rights Movement, and the Vietnam War. (From the book cover) “The early migration of Cuban refugees to the United States after the ascent to power of the Cuban Revolution in 1959, was made up in disproportionate numbers by white (or lighter skin) Cubans. As part of that migration, Operation Pedro Pan reflected the racial make-up of those seeking to leave the island. In Black Pedro Pan, the author recounts his childhood and major family influences that gave shape to his life. As he entered his teenage years, his life is abruptly interrupted by his participation in Operation Pedro Pan, a program that saw the mass exodus of over 14,000 unaccompanied Cuban minors ages 6 to 18 to the United States, where the vast majority were received and sheltered by the Catholic Welfare Bureau.


He then briefly describes his participation in the program, his personal experiences and observations after his reunification with his exiled parents at age 17. As he continues his life’s journey, he offers, through a series of vignettes and anecdotes, his outlook on racial issues in general, his insights into the Cuban exile and African American communities and the relationship between the two, and, from a distance, his impressions on the state of his native country, all from the perspective of a Black Cuban (or perhaps as appropriate, a Cuban Black).”

American Museum of the Cuban Diaspora 305.529.5400 thecuban.org