Boxing for Cuba
In 1961, fearing the communist rule of Fidel Castro, Guillermo Vicente Vidal’s family sent him to America through Operation Peter Pan. He arrived in Colorado and was sent to an orphanage with his brothers, and his family reunited four years later. Fifty years later, he served as Denver’s mayor. This is his story of overcoming incredible odds.
The whims of politics are at the fore of my memoir, in which three young boys become men in the shadows of the Cuban Revolution and our personal turmoil. I write about my family’s participation in events that forever altered U.S.- Cuban relations after an effort to free children from the threat of Communist rule sparked the exodus of 14,000 Cuban children to America as part of Operation Peter Pan. From chance encounters with Fidel Castro and Robert F. Kennedy to life in a dismal Catholic orphanage in Colorado, I eventually persevered to embrace my life as a proud and successful Cuban American. My account is a poignant story of forgiveness and the joy of returning home. It is also a worthwhile read for anyone who wants to understand the American immigration experiences.