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:

Rafael A Carvajal Ramos

General Information
Current Name
Rafael A Carvajal Ramos
Current Location
United States of America
Name on Arrival
Rafael A Carvajal Ramos
Age on Arrival
Date of Arrival
Saturday, August 18, 1962
Relocated To
CWB Matecumbe

Rafael A's Story

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

Rafael A's News Feed

Leave a public message for Rafael A.

Rest in peace, Rafael! Rafael passed away on 1 October 2013. Rafael, who arrived in Camp Matecumbe at age 15, was relocated to Albuquerque, NM. He is survived by his Pedro Pan sister Zoe, who stayed in the Florida City camp. He will be missed by his many relatives, Pedro Pan brothers and sisters and friends. Funeral Arrangements: Viewing: Wednesday, October 2, 2013 6:00- 11:00 p.m. Memorial Plan Kendall 7355 SW 117th Ave. Miami, Fl 33183 Phone: 305 728 3900 Celebration of Life Holy Mass Thursday, October 3rd., 2013 10:30 a.m. Epiphany Catholic Church 8235 SW 57th Ave. Miami, Fl 33143 Phone: 305 667 4911 Burial: 12:00 p.m.

Message by Jose Antonio Amaro Reyes | Oct 2nd 2013

Camello a ver si t acuerdas d mi:me llamo Reinaldo guerra,me decian Guerrita o enano,espero q t acuerdes.saludos y te recuerdo con mucho carino d hermano,llamame cuando puedasal78 378 1930.Estuve hablando con Wilfredo Bbenitez y hercules y les pregunte x ti.Espero saber d ti.

Message by Reinaldo Guerra Hernandez | Sep 22nd 2012

Camello dame un timbrazo que tengo que hablar contigo ok. bye FERNANDO COLLADO 847-533-0152 PS y por favor pon tu foto ok.

Message by Fernando L Collado Gonzalez | Jul 6th 2009

Camello, es Dorticos, como estas, I am having a blast hooking up with old friends.

Message by Luis R Gonzalez (Dorticos) | Jun 5th 2009

Camello,tu amigo de la cabana de Cuartas Enrique Rodriguez, amigos de la infancia de los Hnos. Braceras te manda saludos llamame al (786)385-5426.

Message by Henry/Enrique Rodriguez (EL MUSICO) | May 20th 2009

Camello, tu tocayo (El Mono) Mario Carvajal, Saludos. Call me 786-218-1207

Message by Mario Carvajal Sanchez | May 20th 2009

Hola Rafael contactame, 786-348-1085,

Message by Hiram Perez Blanco | May 18th 2009

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