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:

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Silvia, Feliz 2011, que el Senor te traiga muchas cosas buenas, nos vemos en Enero. Un abrazo Tete.

Message by Maria T Extremera Hernandez de Armas | Jan 1st 2011

Que pasa Silvia te escribo unas lineas para desearte muchas bendiciones por las Navidades y el nuevo ano

Message by Caridad Cesari Quevedo | Dec 19th 2010

Hola Silvia, que alegria me dio verte de nuevo aunque en la fiesta no pudimos hablar solo saludarnos fue una gran alegria, espero poder vernos de nuevo en Enero en uno de los desayunos. Carinos Tete.

Message by Maria T Extremera Hernandez de Armas | Dec 5th 2010

Silvia E has uploaded new photos.

Status update | Sep 11th 2010

Hi tocaya, te llame para hablar contigo y no pude comunicarme. Bueno un beso bien grande, mua, mua, Sil

Message by Silvia Budejen Trujillo | Aug 21st 2010

Silvia E says: Ya nacio el nieto de Melvin peso 7 lbs y 13 onzas y midio 19 pulgadas. Todos estan bien. Ya tenemos otro nietecito Pedro Panero. Felicidades

Status update | Aug 17th 2010

Hi tocaya, gracias por todo, el lunes te llamo, pues voy estar en casa ya despues te cuento. Un beso bien grande, te quiero, Sil

Message by Silvia Budejen Trujillo | Aug 14th 2010

Ya puse una protesta por el cuño, la de adentro no quiero ni decir a que me parezco. Sin enbargo, tu estas bella en todas las fotos....

Message by Susy Rodriguez | Aug 11th 2010

Ay, Ay, Ay, Silvia....con que el stamp quedo perfecto???!!! Claro porque el HO de Rancho quedo en la misma bella carita de esa niña tan preciosa!!!! :)

Message by Susy Rodriguez | Aug 11th 2010

HOla Silvia, solo unas para decirte que me dio mucha alegria verte y reencontrarnos de nuevo esto es algo maravilloso que el nuestro Dios nos reuna de nuevo. Carinos Tete.

Message by Maria T.Extremera (Tete) | Aug 8th 2010

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