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:

Jorge Viera Rodriguez

General Information
Current Name
Jorge Viera Luis
Current Location
United States of America
Name on Arrival
Jorge Viera Rodriguez
Age on Arrival
Date of Arrival
Thursday, September 20, 1962
Relocated To
CWB Matecumbe
Stayed With
to go to Spain

Jorge's Story

Mi historia es similar a muchas otras.Una sufrida y dolorosa separacion de nuestros seres queridos,adaptacion a un nuevo pais con nuevas costumbres. Haber tenido que madurar precipitadamente con grand...

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Jorge's News Feed

Leave a public message for Jorge.

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Hola Jorge. Tu historia me llego al corazon, admiro todo lo que has logrado realizar, contactame : ) Bendiciones

Message by Evelyn Gracia | Jul 8th 2014

Jorge: Gusto de haberte visto en Matecumbe en la Misa con Sergio. Lo siento mucho por la pérdida de tu esposa.

Message by Manuel A. Gutiérrez | Aug 15th 2013

Jorge: I just heard about your appointment as Honorary Consul of The Republic of Estonia. Congratulations! In re-reading your story today, I applaud you for expressing so well your story which has many similarities to the ones of other Pedro Pan. The harsh reality and pain came from the separation from our parents, many who were held back or not allowed at all to leave the country. Also, the appreciation and respect for those that sheltered us, especially Msgr. Bryan Walsh whose sacrifice, generosity and love for us 'kids' is immeasurable Truly a saint and protector to the Pedro Pan children. I hope time and faith has begun to ease the pain of the passing of your loving wife and patiently look forward to the day when you will meet again. De nuevo te felicito en el nombramiento y te deseo todo lo mejor! From a PP sister!

Message by Susy Rodriguez | Jun 18th 2013

Jorge, congratulations on your appointment as Honorary Consul of the Republic of Estonia. Best regards.

Message by Eloísa Echazábal | Jun 2nd 2013

Jorge has updated their profile.

Status update | Jun 2nd 2013

Jorge, este es Billy Espinosa. Quisiera enviarte un correo directamente a tu direccion pero no la tengo. Yo se que tu eres trustee del grupo PP y me gustaria enviarte mis dos granitos de arena con respecto al curriculum PP que se estara ensenando en las escuelas de Dade county. Estare presente para la fiesta gala de el 19 de Noviembre y me gustaria verte para saludarte y darte un abrazo, tantos anos sin vernos que es increible, yo estare hospedado en el hotel y llegare creo que el jueves. Enviame tu correo cuando puedas. Abrazos,Billy Espinosa

Message by Billy Espinosa | Oct 25th 2011

Mr. Viera: I am the woman from California who shared your dinner table at the banquet commemorating the 50th anniversary of Pedro Pan. I spoke with you and your son during dinner. I wanted to speak with you and share our life stories and where we are at this time in our journey. Please contact me to continue our conversation. It was joyful to meet you and your son.

Message by Marta Valero | Nov 20th 2010

Hola Jorge, mi "hermano" pequeño durante tu estancia en España(Canarias). Estaba buscando tu direccion o email ,se me ocurrio poner en google tu nombre + Pedro Pan y voila!, encontré tu historia que hemos compartido aunque yo no pertenezca a P.Pan por haber salido de Cuba hacia España por estar estar registrada como española en La Habana. Espero que este mensaje te llegue y podamos contactar pronto, Un abrazo grandote, Mari Carmen Lopez Rodriguez (Gran Canaria) 29 enero 2010

Message by Mari Carmen Lopez | Jan 29th 2010

Hola Jorgito me conmovió tus palabras y me hiciste recordar el 1962 y los trabajos que pasamos pero si algo estoy orgulloso es de tus logros y éxitos, tu primo, Ariel

Message by Ariel Leon | Dec 27th 2009

Jorge, salúdame a todos los Pedro Panes, especialmente a los de Sancti Spiritus mañana en el desayuno. Rafael

Message by Rafael Quintero Valdivia | Sep 18th 2009

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