Cuban immigrants share precious family heirlooms to show history of Cuban exiles by Janey Fugate jfugate@elnuevoherald.com 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. http://www.miamiherald.com Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/07/26/v-print/4257131/cuban-immigrants-share-precious.html#storylink=cpy

Maria del Carmen Valdivia Martinez

General Information
Current Name
Carmen Valdivia
Current Location
United States of America
Name on Arrival
Maria del Carmen Valdivia Martinez
Age on Arrival
12
Date of Arrival
Wednesday, August 8, 1962
Relocated To
CWB Florida City
Stayed With
Casa Suarez
Groups
Haiti Pedro Pan
Maria del Carmen has volunteered to help the children of Haiti. Find out how you can help, too.

Maria del Carmen's Story

Florida Heritage Landmark Dedication Ceremony, Historical Reference

By Carmen Valdivia,

OPPG Historic Committee Chairperson

OPPG Board of Directors

Florida City Alumni

The state of Florida ha...

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Buenos dias, mi hermanita linda! que bueno que pones orden en el rasol, yo a veces me salgo del plato, pero regreso enseguida y me porto bien. Que tengan tu y Willie un feliz fin de semana, Besos, para los dos. Sil

Message by Silvia Budejen Trujillo | Oct 24th 2009

Hola, Carmen. Acabo de entrar en el PPN para ver lo que estaba pasando sin mí y ya veo que la actividad sigue con los mismos "perps" de siempre. Como veo que hace unos minutos pusiste un mensaje, te escribo a ti para saludarte y por medio de ti saludarlos a todos. Siento decirte que mi mamá sigue poniendose peor. Mañana es posible que ya entre en Hospice care, lo cual ya habia calificado hace dos meses, pero no me había decidido. Ya la situación está mas complicada. Por suerte estamos junticas y tenemos gente buena alrededor. Como puedes imaginar, estamos viviendo de momento a momento. Besos y abrazos de yoli

Message by Yolanda Cardenas Ganong | Oct 23rd 2009

Mi linda Mona Lisa, desea usted que le limpie la casa mañana? Estoy entre asignments y tengo tiempo. Tambien puedo planchar la ropa o sacar el perrito a pasear. GoooooCanes

Message by Marcos F. Pinedo | Oct 23rd 2009

Querida amiga, Carmen, no se porque tu dices que yo no soy nice. Es de la manera que tu lo lees. Trata de leer las cosas que yo escribo with a new attitude and you'll see how nice it sounds. Really!

Message by Susy Rodriguez | Oct 23rd 2009

Carmen, yo voy a tener que dejar esta website por un tiempo, pues creo me voy a enfermar de tanto reirme, cada minuto que entro y leo algo nuevo, me entra el mal de risa, esta Susy, siempre tiene algo nuevo y nuestro hermanito Fernandin ni se diga, es algo que no me puedo contener y cuando tu entras, ya tu sabes. Besos, Sil

Message by Silvia Budejen Trujillo | Oct 23rd 2009

Mi querida hermanita: Muchas gracias. Ahora mismo voy a tratar de nuevo. Ya tengo los dedos cansados de tanto marcar! Ahi voy: NADA. Oye yo creo que esto es culpa de mi computadora. Seguro que no soy yo. Que estoy haciendo mal? Carmencita, que deseos tan grandes tengo de verte el mes que viene. Los dias no vuelan lo suficientemente rapidos para mis deseos. Oye, es verdad que tu eres de la Vibora tambien? Tenemos que juntarnos para que ese Fernandin no se salga siempre con la suya. No crees? Entre todas nosotras seguro que lo podremos mantener bajo control. Un beso y un abrazo bien grande, tu hermanita PP. Merceditas

Message by Mercedes Argiz Escribano | Oct 23rd 2009

Buenos dias, mi hermanita mas LINDA del campamento, bueno por lo menos esos son lo votos que me han llegado y por supuesto yo pienso igual. Carmen, viste que contento se puso J.A. con la foto, pues yo me alegre mucho por el. Hablamos luego, Besos, para ti y Guille, Sil

Message by Silvia Budejen Trujillo | Oct 23rd 2009

Fijate bien en la pinta de cool gang dude, or maybe pre-rocker...las manguitas remangaditas, el cuellito levantadito. algo asi como de Grease...

Message by Susy Rodriguez | Oct 23rd 2009

'lucian' is the keyword..that's not going to fool me.

Message by Susy Rodriguez | Oct 23rd 2009

Susana por favor, mira la foto de nuevo y dime si nuestros hermanitos no lucian todos unos angelitos buenos.

Message by Carmen Valdivia | Oct 23rd 2009

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