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:

Oneida Moreno Abreu

General Information
Current Name
Oneida Moreno Abreu
Current Location
United States of America
Name on Arrival
Oneida Moreno Abreu
Age on Arrival
Date of Arrival
Saturday, September 8, 1962
Relocated To
CWB Florida City
Haiti Pedro Pan
Oneida has volunteered to help the children of Haiti. Find out how you can help, too.

Oneida's Story

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

Oneida's News Feed

Leave a public message for Oneida.

Page 1 2 3 4 Next >>

Hi Oneida, I posted a few pictures of you on the website from the Dinner Dance, they are very good. If you would like me to email them to you, let me know at Hugs, Niurka

Message by Niurka A Strong | Nov 18th 2010

Oneida, It was great seeing you after 46 years, a wonderful reunion. Take care hugs. Niurka

Message by Niurka A Strong | Nov 15th 2010

Oneida, hoy recibi tu mensaje, pues no tenia la computadora, hoy al fin ya esta ready. Cuanto siento no poder haber visto a los ninos, el lunes te llamo o.k. besos, Sil

Message by Silvia Budejen Trujillo | Aug 14th 2010

Oneida has signed up to volunteer for the Haiti Pedro Pan group.

Status update | Jan 28th 2010

Querida Oneida: Tengo tremenda pena contigo. Ayer se me descargó el celular y lo puse a cargar. Cuando lo volví a encender vi a un muñequito en la parte de abajo de la pantallita que no habia visto antes. Hace solamente dos meses que tengo este teléfono y todavía no me he aprendido ni la mitad de lo que hace. Bueno, al fin averigüé que el muñequito era la señal de que tenía un mensaje. Por éso es que fue ayer cuando vine a oir tu lindo y cariñoso mensaje del sábado pasado. Por favor te pido que me disculpes esta demora en contestarte. Yo tambien te recuerdo con mucho cariño y te deseo lo mejor para el 2010. Espero volver a vernos pronto. Besos y abrazos de Yoli

Message by Yolanda Cardenas Ganong | Jan 7th 2010

Muchas felicidades para ti,y el Argentino Pedro Pan,nos vemos pronto Un abrazo Juanita.

Message by Juanita Garcia | Dec 18th 2009

FELIZ NAVIDAD y muchas cosas linda para el ano nuevo, mucha salud, y Paz en el Mundo, les deseo a todos mis Hermanas y Hermanos Pedro Pan junto a su Familia. Besos y Abraso Oneida.

Message by Oneida Moreno Abreu | Dec 18th 2009

Oneida, que linda la foto que tirastes con Guille y las demas muchachitas, quedaron super pero super bien. Besitos, Sil

Message by Silvia Budejen Trujillo | Nov 24th 2009

Oneida esta foto donde estamos tu Celia y yo quedamos tan bien que si alguien no nos conocen dira, que personas tan desentes son estas tres personas. pero como el resto de la tribu de FLORIDA CITY, nos conocen quien supiera los disparates que estan disiendo. vaya yo estimo que hablaran mas mal de ti que de Celia y yo no crees? bueno mi hermana cuidate y no llebes a ese argentino tan resio ok el parese una persona muy buena. bueno tiene que haserlo para pder estar contigo. JUST KIDDING estoy jugando ok. asi que no te vayas a poner braba por lo que te digo. bye FERNANDO

Message by Fernando L Collado Gonzalez | Nov 24th 2009

Las fotos estan muy buenas. Que bueno que ya tienes un ayudante. Deja estas por unos dias y despues ponemos las de Fl City, y creo que debes poner una de Cuba. Un abrazo

Message by Silvia E Portu | Nov 23rd 2009

Page 1 2 3 4 Next >>

Leave a message for Oneida

Your message
Your name
Your e-mail