Pedro Pan and the US Senate

Mel Martinez was sworn in yesterday and is now the first ever Cuban born US Senator in history. Regardless of personal politics, every Cuban-American has got to feel a certain pride in Mr. Martinez.

”Mel, welcome,” said Cheney to the man who served as President Bush’s housing secretary. During the ceremony, Martinez sat in the chamber with other political stars such as New York’s Hillary Clinton, Arizona’s John McCain and Illinois’ Barack Obama.

He passed his finger pensively over a bronze plaque that bore his name on a wood desk.

”It was just, wow, it happened. And I was really humbled by it,” he said. “I never dreamed this big. I promise you.”

Martinez, who was born in Sagua la Grande, Cuba, fled Fidel Castro’s government when he was 15 as part of Operation Pedro Pan, a massive airlift of thousands of Cuban children out of the island in the early 1960s. He settled in Orlando, where he met his wife, Kitty, and launched his political career.

At the ceremony were dozens of other Cuban-Americans that had been part of Operation Pedro Pan. They were all beaming with pride. I dont think any of them could have ever imagined, back then, having been separated from their parents and living in a new country, that one day one of them would achieve such an honorable and prestigious position in the government of the United States.

There was a video clip run on yesterday’s local news here in Miami that showed a smiling Mel Martinez with two men, older men, at his side. Both men were Cubans, and in their faces you saw not only pride in Martinez, but a certain satisfaction. It was their generation that paved the way for Martinez’s – and all other Cuban-Americans of his and my generation – to succeed.

So today, the US Senate has has Cuban in it. That’s a great thing, folks. We Cubans dont mess around. Resolvemos.

5 thoughts on “Pedro Pan and the US Senate”

  1. My daughter has a Cuban American friend. He introduced himself to her at middle school back in 1989. She was a hot 9th grader, he a scrawny 7th grader. He had what in our family we call Chutzpa, he was a perfectionist, a strait A student. He said he was going to attend Harvard, be sucessful, all through school he worked his ass off. This past June he graduated from Harvard, receiving his MBA. I have no doubt that one day we’ll have a Cuban American president. You Cubanos are amazing.

  2. I voted for the man, also. You should’ve seen all of the Martinez yard signs here in Pensacola…you would’ve thought that Mel was from around these parts. My neck o’ the woods gets branded as a hick backwater region, but we dispensed with all that and came out in full support of Mel and the other grown-ups running for office.

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