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

Elda Fernandez Rebollido

General Information
Current Name
Lupe Casanova
Current Location
United States of America
Name on Arrival
Elda Fernandez Rebollido
Age on Arrival
17
Date of Arrival
Wednesday, September 5, 1962
Relocated To
CWB Florida City
Stayed With
The Velazcos family

Elda's Story

Llegué el 5 de Sept. 1962. Fuí la primera niña en casarme en el campamento de Florida City y la fecha de mi matrimonio con Guillermo Casanova (también de Cienfuegos)fue 29 de Dic de 1962. Tengo alguna...

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Lupe, en la proximas lo voy a decir, pero tu puedes escribir aqui y preguntar si hay alguna muchacha que estuvo contigo para se comunique contigo. Espero que hayas pasado unas Navidades mmuy buenas si bienes por Miami dame una llamada me gustaria verte. saludos Paquito

Message by Frank ( Paco ) Echeverria | Jan 6th 2013

Elda has updated their profile.

Status update | Jan 5th 2013

Lupe, es increible despues de tantos años descubra que tu tambien eras del campamento de FL City! Yo vine en abril del '62. Luces muy bien con el pelo corto... Saludos, Gladys Montiel

Message by Gladys Montiel Garcia | Oct 29th 2011

Elda has updated their profile.

Status update | May 20th 2011

Hi Lupe, La fiesta va a ser e Noviembre 12,13,14 te mande la informacion a tu email personal, espero que lo hayas recibido si no dejamelo saber y te lo mando otra vez. Saludos Paquito

Message by Frank ( Paco ) Echeverria | Aug 3rd 2010

Elda: Dos pregunticas. Una, ?era tu esposo también Pedro Pan? y dos : ?Fu;e también la primera boda de algún Pedro Pan o sólo de Florida City? Yo tengo un website de Pedro Pan en www.CampMatecumbeVeterans.com desde el 1999 y quisiera poner la noticia en el próximo Newsletter, Gracias, Manny

Message by Manuel A. Gutiérrez | Jul 5th 2010

Elda has uploaded new photos.

Status update | Jun 26th 2010

Querida Lupe: No pude menos que quedarme con la boca abierta cuando vi tu foto....te recuerdo tanto....llorabas tanto.....También soy de Cienfuegos...ve a mi profile. Un fuerte abrazo, Otmara Capote

Message by Otmara Capote | Jun 25th 2010

Lupe, que alegria volverte a encontrar,no te conocia por ese nombre por eso te pregunte si eras tu. Supe cuando Guillermo fallecio pero no tenia como comunicarme contigo, lo senti mucho pues a los dos los aprecio mucho,cuando me entere me recordaba cuando el te iba a visitar a tu casa, yo todavia estando en Cienfuegos pues yo siempre andaba por la cuadra de donde tu vivias. Creo que la ultima vez que los vi a los dos fue cuando vinieron a Miami a una fiesta de los Antiguos Alumnos de los Maristas. Has sabido algo de Cienfuegos como esta tu hermano. Hace un tiempo de Sra. De William Diaz me escribio un email no se si te acuerdas de el, el vivia en la misma acera que tu pasando una casa los padres de el que tenian un bodegida delante de su casa, el vive con un hijo en Ft. Lauderdale. Escribeme a mi email cuando tengas tiempo no quisiera perderte otra vez. Siento mucho la perdida de Guillermo, yo veo a cada rato a Pepin creo que el fue el que me lo dijo a Pedro casi nunca lo veo. Abrazo Paquito

Message by Frank ( Paco ) Echeverria | Jun 25th 2010

Lupe: Estuve en el campamento al mismo tiempo que tú y teníamos la misma edad. Recuerdo tu boda, no con detalles, pero me has traído el recuerdo. Por casualidad yo tambien me casé un 29 de diciembre, de 1969. Lupe, siento mucho que perdieras a tu esposo. Te doy mi sentido pésame. --Tambien soy cienfueguera de nacimiento. Mis abuelos vivían en Santa Cruz y San Luis. Yo crecí en Santiago y en La Habana, pero pasaba todas mis vacaciones en Cienfuegos. Muchos recuerdos, muchas conexiones. Mucho gusto encontrarte aquí. Tu hermana Pedro Pan, Yolanda

Message by Yolanda Cardenas Ganong | Jun 25th 2010

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