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 de los Angeles Menendez Suarez

General Information
Current Name
Maria de los Angeles Sorondo
Current Location
United States of America
Name on Arrival
Maria de los Angeles Menendez Suarez
Age on Arrival
17
Date of Arrival
Monday, August 13, 1962
Relocated To
CWB Florida City
Stayed With
Nino & Peluca Cesari

Maria de los Angeles's Story

This person has not yet filled out their story about their flight as a part of Operation Pedro Pan.

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Mery,yo tambien estoy planeando ir al dinner/dance, hoy hable con Melvin a ver si nos ponian juntas a las de Cesari. Espero poder verlos. Carinos Carmen Guerra

Message by Carmen Guerra Quevedo | Oct 2nd 2010

Mery,vienes a alguna actividad de los PP o al dinner dance? Dejame saber, Zoe me llamo hace unos dias para decirme de las actividades.Espero estes bien al igual que tu familia. Carinos, Carmen Guerra

Message by Carmen Guerra Quevedo | Oct 1st 2010

Mery.!!!!. muchas gracias, todavia estamos disfrutando el nacimiento. Te acuerdas cuando tu estabas mas adelantada que yo en el colegio.? Bueno tirame un cabo y matriculame para las clases de abuelo 101 que tu y Victor enseñan.Cariños a los dos....MELVIN

Message by Melvin F Noriega Plasencia | Aug 26th 2010

Que tal Mery espero estes bien al igual que tu familia,acuerdate dejarme saber cuando vuelvas a Miami o cuando vengas a algun desayuno. Carinos, Carmen Guerra

Message by Carmen Guerra Quevedo | Aug 1st 2010

Mery, Gracias por las felicitaciones, recuerdo a tu esposo

Message by Frank ( Paco ) Echeverria | Jul 22nd 2010

Querida Mery: Me alegro que te hayan gustado las fotos...Neyda està muy bien y mentalmente fabulosa.....La pasó muy bien y quiere ir a los desayunos de Pedro Pan.....estuvo muy contenta....POR CIERTO QUE ELLA ME HABIA PREGUNTADO POR TI....RECUERDA QUE TU CANTABAS COMO SARITA MONTIEL; QUE TE PARECE????? Mi brazo mejora, pero, simplemente cuando estoy en grupos me lo tengo que proteger porque sin querer siempre los golpes SIEMPRE VAN A DAR AHI MISMO. Y tó sabes que nososotros somos efusivos y nos abrazamos mucho (debo cuidar el brazo).....de Juanita Gonzalez tengo dos fotos aquí en casa y estàn muy decoloradas.....todavía no he tratado de ponerlas en el network pero no creo que salgan bien, hablé con Celia Capote y nos vamos a poner de acuerdo para ir a verla, ella està en un centro en Hialeah....y para mí ir a Hialeah es una PRUEBA.....HE ido tres veces y me he perdido las tres. Un beso, Otmara

Message by Otmara Capote | Jul 22nd 2010

Hola, Mary: Gracias for el saludo cumpleañero -llegó justo a tiempo. Como seguramente has visto ya, el sábado pasado pude ir al desayuno y allí estaba Neyda Quesada. Del grupo de muchachitas en su casa tambien estuvimos Janet Martinez, Lidia Merida, Zoe Carvajal y yo (si hubo otra mas, no recuerdo ahora). Mira las fotos en el profile de Otmara para que veas que bien está, y clara de mente tambien. A ver cuando nos vemos otra vez. Cariños.

Message by Yolanda Cardenas Ganong | Jul 20th 2010

Mery, que haces tu despierta a esta hora?. Bueno, ya que no ha tocado el timbre del campamento, tengo tiempo para decirle "good night" a mis hermanos Mery y Victor......MELVIN

Message by Melvin F Noriega Plasencia | Jul 19th 2010

Maria de los Angeles-- Despues de ver y saber toda tu popularidad, me alegro haberte conocido antes que fueras famosa, aunque mi hermano Agrupado Victor me lo habia dicho. Saben que los queremos CLEMJAM

Message by Justo Alejandro Martinez Monzon | Jun 29th 2010

Mery, Escribiendote se me olvido decirte que el dia del desayuno el 19, se me enfermo mi gatica y tuve que ir de emergencia al veterinario.Bueno deja ver si nos vemos pronto. Carmen

Message by Carmen Guerra Quevedo | Jun 28th 2010

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