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:

José Antonio Amaro Reyes

General Information
Current Name
Jose Antonio Amaro Reyes
Current Location
United States of America
Name on Arrival
José Antonio Amaro Reyes
Age on Arrival
Date of Arrival
Tuesday, August 14, 1962
Relocated To
CWB Matecumbe

José Antonio's Story

Remarks:An English translation is provided below for non-Spanish speaking relatives and friends.

Nací en el antiguo municipio de Holguín de la antigua provincia de Oriente en el año 1948. Fui bauti...

Click here to read the full story

José Antonio's News Feed

Leave a public message for José Antonio.

<< Prev Page 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 Next >>

Oye, si te portastes mal y te pusiera multa esta semana y te quedastes sin tu allowance, yo te pago el helado a ti y a los otros que quieran venir porque yo recibi mi 1.40 completico. Yo siempre me porto bien.

Message by Susy Rodriguez | Oct 1st 2009

José Antonio,si los Celticos te ofrecen el contrato, partele el brazo en seguida. Carmen y yo vamos de cheerleaders. Te podemos proveer una foto a la mayor brevedad. Just give us the word.

Message by Susy Rodriguez | Oct 1st 2009

Hola, José Antonio. Efectivamente aqui estaba sonriendo a la tarde bella que tenemos hoy con esta brisa tan refrescante. Te esperaba a ver si me invitabas a tomar un helando mientras caminabamos por la avenida. Te apetece?

Message by Susy Rodriguez | Oct 1st 2009

Jose Antonio, cuanto me alegro que te gustara la foto del equipo de volley-ball de Florida City. No he encontrado ninguna del equipo de basketball donde tu participaste pero el proceso esta comenzando asi que quien sabe a lo mejor por ahi aparece. Carmen

Message by Carmen Valdivia | Oct 1st 2009

José Antonio, good morning! Por favor, dejame saber cuando resucites....concerned.

Message by Susy Rodriguez | Oct 1st 2009

Jose A. querido hermanito, no se porque se meten contigo, cuando todos ellos saben que tu eres un hombre muy intelectual y tienes respuestas para todos ellos. Un fuerte abrazo Santiaguero, Sil

Message by Silvia Budejen Trujillo | Oct 1st 2009

José Antonio, solo lo saludaba por la tarde ya que usted es tan atento de siempre darme los buenos dias. Ademas le prometi a otro hermano nuestro que iba a ser amable con casi todos hoy...even if it kills me.

Message by Susy Rodriguez | Sep 30th 2009

Buenas tardes, José Antonio Amaro Reyes.

Message by Susy Rodriguez | Sep 30th 2009

Good morning, José Antonio Amaro Reyes y demas hierbas aromaticas. Who are you trying to fool? Dices que te quedas tranquilito en tu rinconcito y sin embargo, aqui estas tirando la piedra y escondiendo la mano. Yo voy acabar contigo. Ya te hice perder un ojo, te quedastes desplumado y sin cocorotina...I guess I'll hit low and cut your leg! It's always a pleasure 'chatting' with you.

Message by Susy Rodriguez | Sep 30th 2009

Sintonizando a Radio Bemba por todas las frecuencias. Apenas entra. La transmisión se halla entorpecida por el artifacto de repetición ubicado en la Torre de Sears en la ciudad de Chicago. La señal carece de potencia. José Antonio.

Message by Marcia Caridad Ramos Gonzalez | Sep 30th 2009

<< Prev Page 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 Next >>

Leave a message for José Antonio

Your message
Your name
Your e-mail