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June 1, 2023 47 mins

In Part 3 of “Operación Pedro Pan: The Voices and Stories of Cuba’s Child Exodus—A Knights HistoryCast Mini-Series,” the Department of History’s Sebastian Garcia talked with former U.S. Senator Mel Martinez, who served in the U.S. Senate from 2005-2009. Mel Martinez was the first Cuban-American to serve in a presidential cabinet (President George W. Bush, from 2001-2003) and the first-ever Cuban-American to serve in the United States Senate. Before his career in Washington D.C., Mel Martinez was the Mayor of Orange County (Orlando, Florida) from 1998-2001. As if the résumé was not already astounding, Mel Martinez arrived in the United States at the age of 15 via Operación Pedro Pan.

Like other Pedro Pans, Senator Mel Martinez is a testament to the success and power of Operación Pedro Pan (and of immigration more broadly). One of the most prestigious and acclaimed guests this podcast has ever seen, he walks us through his life, his story, and how this historic event forever shaped him.

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