Journey to Freedom



Who am I?????

Cuban immigration picked up sharply during the 1950's as a result of increasing political turmoil in Cuba. Many of the first Cubans to flee Castro's dictatorship in the early 1960's were from wealthy families and were well educated. The U.S. granted asylum to these people and offered federal help to qualified applicants in finding homes and in making job contacts. They were the first major influx of Cuban immigrants, coming to The United States through " Freedom Flights". Additionally, during the period of 1960 -1962, children of wealthy, politically attached and middle class families sent their children (over 14,000) to the U.S. to avoid being sent to Russian military camps. This operation was famously known as the "Peter Pan Operation". To this day, the children of Peter Pan meet annually to remember the flights. The third major influx of Cuban immigrants was the arrival in 1980 of the Marielitos, this was an influx mainly of lower class, even criminals via a "boat lift", a very dangerous undertaking for the children and families alike. 

Your task is to discover the identities of 20 famous Cubans that have entered the U.S. since 1950.  These are business people, musicians, artists, chiefs, inventors, athletes.  In one case a married couple both famous in their own right, both came to the U.S. through the Peter Pan Operation!  This task is a " Who am I?" search through various sites, that have mini clips of favorite music, of food preparation so learn and enjoy as you wander through these sites and answer a few questions about each of these stars amongst us. Then you will come to realize the effort they endured to achieve the "American Dream" and think about how they shaped your community, your neighborhood, and your friendships.  Now could you image a Miami, a Little Havana, without the arrival of the Cubans!!  Ahhh, Media Noche, Cafe Cubano, Tostado, Boliche, Picadillo, Arroz con Pollo... the restaurants- Versaillas, La Carreta, Pollo Tropical... the music -Salsa, merengue ...  Just imagine a Miami without them as you stroll through the web of information with your slough hat on...

  •   Look at the hints and find out " Who am  I?"  determine the name of the famous Cuban,

       When they came to the U.S., how they came to the U.S.;

        What they contributed to society, What was their profession;

  • Also, what charitable events, acts did they complete for society

Finally, an extra point will be awarded to the slough that finds a Cuban that came to the U.S. through the"Peter Pan" operation, freedom flights and the Mariel boat lift. Good Luck!!

Through this quest, you will learn their hardships and struggles in Florida. Who were they?  You will focus on their life, and how society and life in Miami, Florida was affected by their arrival.  Reflect about the effects of Cuban immigration on Florida's  economy and legislation. You will discover legislation coined just for Cuban immigrants "Wet foot, Dry foot" Policy. Your group will discover their " Who am I?" and present it to the class.

The final product will be an oral presentation about  your groups assigned immigrants. For the presentation you can choose to create one of the following:

  • Powerpoint Presentation: You will present the answers to the questions above, you can create a powerpoint with pictures  and mini clips of your famous people such as music videos and pictures of the inventions, or perhaps a baseball game and add photos of their lives in Cuba versus their lives here. Remember keep it brief and have fun with it be creative. 
  • Create a Book: You can create a book similar to a powerpoint but it could be perhaps a little more creative. Use construction paper or make it into scrapbook form. Provide pictures, either hand-drawn or printed online, place it in your book and describe and provide insight of your famous person and their lifestyle upon immigrating to the U.S. 
At the end of the presentations the class will vote/discuss, which Famous persons had to endure the most and which gave the most back to the community.


Web Link
  • Peter Pan Operation
    Description: Images of children arriving from Cuba to the US through the Peter Pan Operation

Web Link

Web Link
  • Freedom Flights
    Description: One of the major Cuban influxes into the US during the 60's

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