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:

Maray M Gil Rubio

General Information
Current Name
Maray M Stowell
Current Location
United States of America
Name on Arrival
Maray M Gil Rubio
Age on Arrival
Date of Arrival
Thursday, March 1, 1962
Relocated To
CWB Florida City
Stayed With
Pancho y Chea houseparents in Florida City

Maray M's Story

I'm very proud to be a Pedro Pan and I congratulate the Miami Herald for having the vision to keep the records of our exodus for posterity. I am immensely grateful to my parents and to all the dedica...

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Maray M has updated their profile.

Status update | Jan 20th 2010

I'm sorry I couldn't be part of the reunion this year (2009). I have only missed the first one, because you guys could not find me on time and this one. I will always cherish our sisterhood, 47 years and counting. Our God is an AWESOME God and to Him is all glory, honor and power for the wonderful things He has done in our lives. Shalom dear sister and enjoy the cruise.

Message by Nieves Aulet de Velazquez | Jul 22nd 2009

Por fin pude lograr encontrar y poder entrar en este web site, Que la pases bien el cruise

Message by Lil Mallo Garcia | Jun 2nd 2009

Estoy súper contenta de tener esta database. I love sharing with all my sisters and brothers from Pedro Pan. Love, Maray

Message by Maray M Stowell | May 27th 2009

Yo no he podido encontra algo de mi en el data base, he puesto mi info

Message by Lil Mallo Garcia | May 27th 2009

Maray: Como te hubieras divertido en Cuba Nostalgia con toda la Cubania

Message by Fabiola M Hernandez Castro | May 18th 2009

Maray, el database esta fantastico, te quiero y cuento los dias para vernos en el crucero. Estoy en el database por Josefa Bouza

Message by Josefa Palau Bouza | May 18th 2009

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