Cuban immigrants share precious family heirlooms to show history of Cuban exiles by Janey Fugate Julia Adán Pelegrín, 71, opened a black suitcase full of faded elegant shirts. Those shirts, she explained, belonged to her father, Emilio Adán Silva, when he was a Supreme Court justice in Cuba, and they represented his life before he and 12 other justices signed a letter denouncing Fidel Castro’s government. Eight years later, his family moved to Miami. Those shirts, Pelegrín says, represent the sacrifice her father made for his family and express the pride she feels. “These are not only memories but items of everyday use when Cuba existed as a nation,” Adán said. “[These shirts] were on the streets of Havana. They lived there.” Such feelings of pride and nostalgia prevailed Saturday in the lobby of the Freedom Tower, when dozens of Cubans gathered to donate or lend objects of historic interest that document their exile experience. More than 300 items — passports, documents, photos, clothes — will be part of an exhibit that will open at the tower in September. The inauguration of the exhibit is a key step in the preservation of Cuban history, said Alina Interián, host of the event and executive director of Miami Dade College cultural affairs. “We want to pay tribute to the people to whom this tower means so much,” said Interián, who also was processed at the Freedom Tower when she arrived from Cuba. Between 1962 and 1974, Cuban refugees were processed at the tower, known as “The Refuge.” It was added to the United States National Register of Historic Places in 1979 and designated a National Historic Landmark in 2008. The exhibit, titled “The Exile Experience: Journey to Freedom,” is a collaboration between Miami Dade College and the Miami Herald Media Company. Its objective is to document, preserve and share the history of the difficulties the exiled Cuban community went through since Fidel Castro’s rise to power. The facility has deserved a project like this for some time, said Luisa Meruelo, 93, who worked for the tower’s immigration service for nine years. “I was always wondering why no one had done something about the refugees here,” Meruelo said. “This is a long story, a beautiful story.” The exhibit is a way to thank the nation that gave them refuge during that turbulent time, she said. “We have to thank the people of the United States for being so generous to us at a very difficult time,” she said. Now, the museum can show items like the first coins earned in this country, the tie that an immigrant was wearing when he arrived, a wedding gown and the tiny dress of a 3-year-old. To the people who wore them, these items are intimately associated with the difficult experience of having to abandon their native country. One of those people was Mercy Advocat, who arrived in 1962 with her brother in the Pedro Pan Operation. That exodus took place between 1960 and 1962 and brought more than 14,000 unaccompanied Cuban children to the United States. “The last thing our parents told us before leaving was that my brother and I should never be separated,” Advocat said. “We then boarded the plane and, when we landed, the first thing they did was separate us — the girls from the boys.” Advocat and her brother eventually were sent to the same foster home in Albuquerque, N.M., and they ended doing what their parents had told them. After two years, they were reunited with their mother in New York. The black-and-white photos Advocat brought to the tower show her mother’s tears when she reunited with her children. She is lending those photos and a doll brought from Cuba — some of her most precious keepsakes — to the museum. She is not ready to part with them yet. “I’m not so old to have to donate them,” she said. © 2014 Miami Herald Media Company. All Rights Reserved. Read more here:

John. Mas Enjamio

General Information
Current Name
John Mas Enjamio
Current Location
United States of America
Name on Arrival
John. Mas Enjamio
Age on Arrival
Date of Arrival
Wednesday, August 2, 1961
Relocated To

John.'s Story

Got here August 2,1961---Kendall-Matecumbe---Wichita,Kansas----Mariana Childrens Home.

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Status update | Feb 24th 2011

John. says: Hope you are going to Reunion John

Status update | Feb 24th 2011

Buenas tardes John, Estoy en la busqueda de fotos de Mariana Home para publicar en mi libro que saldra pronto con el favor de Dios. Durante mi estancia en Mariana nunca pude tomar fotos y quisiera añadir una o dos al libro. Esas fotos que muestren algunos hermanos y tu, por favor mandame la lista de esos en las fotos. Gracias hermano.

Message by Oscar R Vega Hernandez | Jul 28th 2010

Juan, voy a naples con mi esposa en Octubre 3 para la boda de Sean. nene

Message by Luis T Garcia Menendez | Aug 19th 2009

Oye Flaco, dice la Senora Fernandez que despues de Siberio tu uras su favorito.

Message by Kojak | Jun 25th 2009

Claro que me recuerdo, fue mi primera actividad cuando llegue a Wichita, y rapidamente " i hit the road Jack". Que rapido se aprendia todo en aquellos tiempos. Oye tu no estabas conmigo en la clase de Sister Mary en St. Joseph's?

Message by Leonardo Viota Sesin | Jun 22nd 2009

No Juan yo me fui de Mariana el dia siguiente a nuestro primer juego de la Liga. Tercer bate y segunda base. Sin errores y de cuatro uno. El pinaculo de mi carrera en el beisbol organizado!! De ahi cuesta abajo!!!. Te recuerdas cuando el Brother Pious nos saco a los cubanos en Notre Dame y nos dio un balon de soccer pensando que nosotros sabiamos jugar. Nadie tenia una perra idea...

Message by Leonardo Viota Sesin | Jun 22nd 2009

Espia, Que es de tu vida? Mira ver cuando puedes ir conmigo a ver al Sr.Leonardo Viota Sesin (el mejor nadador de Mariana)y a tu amigo Hector.

Message by Antonio J Garcia Menendez | Jun 21st 2009

Mariana es con una n. Mira las camisas Quien era el americano al lado mio?

Message by George Mas Enjamio | Jun 21st 2009

Solamente a Valentin. Estubo aqui con Tony. Hable con Viota, Rapado, Mario, Bofil y Merci esposa de Campuzano el mayor.

Message by George Mas Enjamio | Jun 19th 2009

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