This 57-minute documentary Operation Peter Pan (Operación Peter Pan) was released in 2011 and tells the story of the mass migration of Cuban minors to the United States. It uses footage from the National Archives and features interviews with individuals who traveled to the United States in Operation Peter Pan. The film primarily centers on a group of five who traveled back to Cuba for the first time after almost fifty years. Estela Bravo follows them as they explore their past and help bridge the emotional and political divides between the United States and Cuba.
This series contains footage of interviews with select individuals featured in the documentary, a selection of background footage, and a copy of the book Operation Peter Pan based on the documentary.
In 1960, rumors circulated Cuba that the new revolutionary government planned to suspend parental authority and enroll the children in military schools or send them to Russia for Communist indoctrination. In the wake of the rumors, Cuban parents sent as many as 14,000 unaccompanied children on flights out of Cuba between 1960 and 1962. The United States government facilitated this mass exodus of Cuban children, which became popularly known as Operation Peter Pan, through a clandestine program that waived the children's visa requirements and provided several million dollars to the Miami Catholic Welfare Bureau to care for the children. Many parents expected to be reunited with their children after what they believed would be the swift fall communist government. Following the Bay of Pigs invasions in 1962, however, US-Cuba relations deteriorated, and permanently separated many parents and children. Some children were able to connect with family members in the United States, but approximately 7000 were moved into long-term orphanages or foster care.
Estela Bravo's documentary Operation Peter Pan: Flying Back to Cuba about the experience of these children was selected as Best Documentary Feature at the 2011 Havana Film Festival in New York. It also won First Prize at the Festival Internacional de Cine Politico, Buenos Aires; Best Documentary at the 7th Human Rights International Festival in Bolivia; and the Coral Award at the International Festival of New Latin American Cinema.