Margarita de Quesada is a native Cuban who fled her country from communism with her now-late husband Armando in November 1963.
About this episode
Margarita de Quesada and her now-late husband Armando fled Fidel Castro’s brutal communist regime by hiding away on a British cargo ship headed for Canada.
Two years before their escape, bad things were brewing in Cuba, and Margarita and Armando saw the writing on the wall. They sent their two children on a plane headed for Miami to stay with relatives, as part of Operation Peter Pan. Operation Peter Pan was a clandestine mass exodus of over 14.000 unaccompanied Cuban minors, ages 6 to 18 to the United States over a two-year period from 1960 to 1962. This program allowed Cuban parents to get their children away from the communist brainwashing that occurred in schools.
Fidel Castro took power in 1959, declared himself a Marxist, and instituted a communist government. Confiscating businesses and property, he used firing squads and imprisonment of more than 15.000 dissidents to take control. Margarita’s brother, Carlos Valls, was fatally shot while pushing back against the regime.
In this incredible interview, we talk about what life was like in Cuba before Castro’s reign, how things gradually descended into hell under communism, the escape to Canada, and eventually the entry to the United States.
The podcast concludes with a piece of original music called “Adios.” Margarita wrote this while she was hiding in a cargo ship as she left her home country behind forever. She has published several classical guitar albums under the name of Margo Valls, her nickname/maiden name.
00:06:20 – Early life in Camagüey, Cuba
00:39:32 – When Castro took over
01:00:00 – The escape
01:36:34 – Arriving in Canada
02:06:00 – Getting to work
02:15:15 – Becoming an American citizen
02:29:40 – The classical guitar
Recorded on February 29 2020; in Decatur, Alabama, USA
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