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:

Mirta Zoe Gil Miranda

General Information
Current Name
Mirta Zoe Van Gorden Gil Miranda
Current Location
United States of America
Name on Arrival
Mirta Zoe Gil Miranda
Age on Arrival
Date of Arrival
Monday, April 30, 1962
Relocated To
CWB Florida City
Stayed With
Perez Plana

Mirta Zoe's Story

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

Mirta Zoe's News Feed

Leave a public message for Mirta Zoe.

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Mirta Zoe has updated their profile.

Status update | Apr 13th 2014

hola mirta,yo tambien vine en abril 30 1962. estuve en matecumbe y que casualida que me mandaron a Chicago en river forest con una familia Americana,quizas nos conocemos,mi nombre es leonel.pls. se gustas puedes llamarme al 847-674-4564 para cambiar historias

Message by leo vallejo | Apr 12th 2014

Be sure to mark your calendar for our Sunday March 11th Georgia Pedro Pan luncheon and reunion at 1 pm. I expect a good get together and we would love to meet you if you're in Atlanta. Please e mail me at or call me at 404-775-0440 if you need to contact me. Hoping to meet you in Ga. We love to continue gathering the Pedro Pan and their children that enjoy the continuity of our "Historical Flight". Regards.

Message by Emy Botet | Jan 13th 2012

Mirta Zoe, Is too bad I never got your message...but we had a very nice Reception at the Sandler Hudson Gallery in Atlanta, Ga at the Mario Petrirena Art Show/Pedro Pan Gathering where we had appetizers and a fun gathering getting to know each other. Please do keep my e mail, so I can send you notice of whatever cultural gatherings we may plan in 2012! Have a wonderful Christmas, glad to be in touch.

Message by Emy Botet | Dec 15th 2011

Hello Mirta, I did not receive this message I just happened to look at the PPan Website out of curiosity today. That's why it's taken me so long to answer. We will be having a luncheon next year which hasn't been planned. We did have an art Gallery Reception in December in Atlanta, I'm so sorry I had not read your message, obviously there are some "kinks" in the Miami Herald Pedro Pan website. Please write down my e mail address: to keep in touch. I plan a reunion at Mojito's in Norcross, Ga sometime in the early months of 2012, haven't set a date but do e-mail me so I can have you on my list.

Message by Emy Botet | Dec 15th 2011

Mirta, I received your note I was in Perez Plana from July 23,1962 to when they stop having bigger kids I kept in touch with Maria Antonia until her death. I do not remember you too well but like I see you remember the house that we were there.

Message by Alejandra Gutierrez Ramos | Nov 29th 2011

Mirta, I also remember what you used to say if you married a boy with the last name Perez. If I am not mistaken, you had blonde hair at that time. You were about 5 years younger than I was. But all my life I have remember the PerezGil.

Message by Lourdes Cabrera | Nov 13th 2011

Mirta Zoe has updated their profile.

Status update | Oct 16th 2011

Mirta Zoe, congratulations! You are the 1,550 Pedro Pan to register on this Network! Now we look forward to seeing your photo(s) and story. Welcome!

Message by Pedro Pan Administrator | Oct 16th 2011

Mirta Zoe has joined the Pedro Pan Network. Please welcome them!

Status update | Oct 16th 2011

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