Last week marked the 50th anniversary of a very sad chapter in the history of the United States and the U.S. Catholic Church. The mainstream American news media celebrated it. I am talking about the infamous Operation Peter Pan. It was a joint effort of the CIA and the US Catholic Church, and maybe also the top hierarchy of the Catholic Church in Cuba. It was based in the inherent hatred of the U.S. government and of the U.S. Catholic Church toward Cuban Communists. History repeated itself in 1960-61; during the Spanish Civil war, the Catholic Church of Spain sided with the ultra right-wing Falangistas of Francisco Franco. The blue-shirts of The Falange murdered thousands of Communists, Socialists and Anarcho-Syndicalists.
I was one of the victims of Operation Peter Pan in 1961. I had a great-aunt, who also happened to be my godmother. Her name was Rosina Moreno. She was one of those spinsters who spends all their days in church. She spent a lot of time with a Monsignor Lobato in Havana. I felt that she was probably in love with him.
As soon as it was realized that the Cuban Revolution was going to bring radical changes to Cuban society, the campaigns of vilification and lies started. The biggest lie was created by the CIA and the Catholic Church. The revolutionary government was going to take away from parents “la patria potestad,” the ability of parents to raise their own kids. My godmother was one of those who propagated the lies. She constantly pestered my parents with tales of how I was going to be shipped to the Soviet Union for brainwashing and that they would make me a communist. I didn't know they were lies. When you are 17 you know very little about communism, capitalism or any other ism. Especially if you had spent eleven years in a Catholic school where hating communists was part of the daily curriculum.
My parents swallowed the bait, hook, and sinker. I was sent to Miami. The lives of about 14,000 Cuban children were about to be destroyed.
Monsignor Brian Walsh ran Operation Perter Pan. The U.S. Catholic Church probably made millions of dollars, courtesy of the U.S. government and American Taxpayers.
The unaccompanied Cuban boys were lodged at Camp Matecumbe in the Florida Everglades. All was paid by the U.S. government. Two or three of the kids lodged there told me that they had been molested by Monsignor Walsh. Some told me that they would run to the woods when Monsignor Walsh visited Camp Matecumbe.
Many of the boys in Camp Matecumbe were sent to orphanages, (the dreaded orfelinatos, in Spanish,) where they were abused and beaten. The kids at Matecumbe would read in horror the tales that we received from some of the kids when they wrote back to us. Many kids were psychologically scarred for life.
Fast forward to the late 1980's when I was working as a computer programmer/analyst at Editorial America, the publisher of Vanidades and other Spanish magazines. My boss, Rene Smith, had also been a student at Colegio De La Salle, in El Vedado, La Habana, before the triumph of the Cuban Revolution. He was one grade above mine. He related to me how a Christian Brother nicknamed El Yuca, (The Yucca,) put his hand in his thigh and molested him. His parents removed Rene from La Salle immediately. El Platano would be my teacher later on.
The horror stories do not end there. This week, that dishonest and disgusting U.S. newspaper that goes by the name of The Miami Herald, the mouthpiece of the Miami Batistianos and gusanos, published a story praising Operation Peter Pan. It was accompanied by a photo.
I accuse the Miami Herald of doctoring the above photo in their offices.
It shows Monsignor Brian Walsh with other Cuban kids during Operation Peter Pan. What caught my attention was a sweater. Two of the kids were added up to that photo, most likely by the Miami Herald.
When I was living in Portland, Oregon, after being sent there with five more Cuban kids from Camp Matecumbe, one morning we awoke to a huge snowstorm. The six of us went out and took photos with my camera. I placed them in an album. The album was stolen from me by my former wife, who was fanatically anti-communist.
Back to the sweater. On the lower right of the photo you can see two young kids. I immediately recognized Porfirio Ferrer, because he was wearing his favorite sweater that day. The other kid is yours truly, Jorge Gonzalez.
I remember very well when one of the kids in our group took that picture after the snowstorm. The picture of Porfirio and myself were lifted from that snowstorm photo and were added to the photo where Monsignor Walsh appears. How do I know that? It is very easy. There was no second floor at Camp Matecumbe. Look in the background. You can see a second floor very easily. The kids who are standing up I do not know and I never met them. The picture is a fraud.
I again accuse The Miami Herald of having doctored the picture, probably using PhotoShop.
After what I learned about Monsignor Walsh and his “activities” at Camp Matecumbe, the last thing I would do was to agree to be in a picture with that vile priest. I hope he roasts in Hell!
Today, I have overcome all the anti-communist fanaticism that Catholics spread at their churches and their schools. I have met and interacted with many communists, most of them in Oregon, and I have deep respect for their honesty, their intelligence and their commitment to the struggle for the defense of the rights of the working class. I have read Karl Marx. His books were not available at Colegio La Salle del Vedado. I agree with his analysis about the nature of Capitalism.