CNBC News Releases


Jennifer Dauble

One-Hour Documentary Narrated by Meredith Vieira, Co-Anchor of NBC News’ TODAY, Premieres Thursday, May 27th at 9PM ET/PT on CNBC

ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, N.J., May 17, 2010—As the debate over immigration policy in the United States heats up, CNBC unearths an extraordinary chapter in American history that sheds new light on the controversial issue. It is the heart-wrenching tale of a group of immigrants who arrived on U.S. shores as children—without their parents—and have succeeded in America against all odds.

At the height of the Cold War, between 1960 and 1962, more than 14,000 Cuban children were secretly flown to the United States to escape Fidel Castro—a covert airlift that became know as Operation Peter Pan. In Spanish, Operación Pedro Pan.

On Thursday, May 27th at 9PM ET/PT, CNBC presents “Escape from Havana: An American Story,” a CNBC Original narrated by Meredith Vieira, co-anchor of NBC News’ TODAY.

The one-hour documentary tells the extraordinary stories of six Peter Pan kids: a big-city mayor, an accomplished author, a singer, an activist, a professor and a business tycoon. Fifty years after separating from their parents, they share their personal accounts of escape from Cuba and the profound obstacles they’ve overcome as immigrants to achieve the American dream.

The program paints a vivid picture of the conditions in Cuba just after Fidel Castro’s Revolution in 1959—conditions that led families to consider the unthinkable: sending their children, alone, to a foreign land. Parents feared that their children would be seized by the Cuban state—fears that were stoked as part of a clandestine plan by the United States government in an attempt to undermine Castro.

CNBC profiles business tycoon Carlos Saladrigas, a Peter Pan who arrived in the U.S. without a penny and built an enterprise that became the largest Hispanic-owned company in the United States. He sold his business several years ago for $300 million. Tomas Regalado worked his way up the ranks as a radio journalist to become a White House correspondent, covering four presidential administrations. After a storied career, he decided to enter politics himself; in 2009, he was elected Mayor of Miami, Florida. These are just two of the fascinating profiles in the hour, each of which serve to complete a portrait of a unique immigrant community that has struggled, adapted, and prevailed—and along the way, left an indelible mark on the United States.

For more information including web extras, slideshows and extended video clips, log on to:

Mitch Weitzner is the Senior Executive Producer of “Escape From Havana: An American Story.” James Jacoby is the Writer and Producer. Christie Gripenburg is the Producer. Ray Borelli is the Vice President of Strategic Research, Scheduling and Long Form Programming.

CNBC’s “Escape from Havana: An American Story” will re-air on Thursday, May 27th at 10PM ET/PT and Sunday, May 30th at 10PM ET.

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