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:

Jose A. Gonzalez Guardado

General Information
Current Name
Jose A. Gonzalez Guardado
Current Location
United States of America
Name on Arrival
Jose A. Gonzalez Guardado
Age on Arrival
Date of Arrival
Tuesday, May 15, 1962
Relocated To
Camp Matecumbe/Carpa de Jose Luis
Stayed With
See above/Catholic Welfare Bureau

Jose A.'s Story

I am originally from Sta. Clara where I attended Los Maristas and Gonzalez del Valle schools. In 1960-61 I went into hiding due to the "Alfabetisación project" and spent time moving from my home tow...

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Jose A.'s News Feed

Leave a public message for Jose A..

jose he estado lellendo todo los escrito yo tambien soy de santa clara despues de 48anos fui en marzo y trigo fotos del instituto del parque tambien veo que mencionan ave tonta que tipos ahi te mando mi email

Message by zoila sanchez | Sep 22nd 2010

Jose A. says: Looking for Richard (Ricardo) R Alonso who attended St. John Bosco High in Bellflower Calif. in 1965

Status update | Jun 7th 2010

Jose, no he sabido más de tí, me dijiste que me contactabas cuando llegaras a tu casa. No tengo tu información directa. Un abrazo Pedro

Message by Pedro leon | Aug 15th 2009

PS, Se me olvido decirte que mi madre estudio en Gonzalez de Valle y siempre esta quoting a Antolin Gonzalez del Valle.

Message by Carmen Valdivia | Aug 8th 2009

Hola Jose, veo que eres de Santa Clara y que fuiste a los Maristas. Yo tambien soy de Santa Clara e iba a las Teresianas. Me imagino que debemos de tener muchas amistades en comun pero lo que mas me llamo la atencion es que mencionaste La Boca y presumo que es la Boca en Trinidad. Mi abuelo paterno cuando se retiro se fue a vivir a la Boca y alli pasaba el dia pescando que era lo que mas le gustaba hacer. Nunca he dado con nadie que conosca la Boca y sin embargo recuerdo unas playas muy bellas alli especialmente una que creo que se llamaba el ojo del Toro y se bajaba por hueco en el piso, una vez alli era una especie de cueba. Si la conoces dejamelo saber. Me encanta lo que estas haciendo con la iglesia de mi Virgencita tocalla, recuerdo la iglesia aunque yo iba al Buen Viaje que es donde nos daban los comprobantes para llevar al colegio los lunes. No digas muy alto que eres de Santa Clara pues por ahi hay algunos Matanceros que lo toman a mal. Me gustaria saber mas de tu obra, Cariños, Carmen

Message by Carmen Valdivia | Aug 8th 2009


Message by Mario Carvajal Sanchez | Jul 30th 2009

Jose mi nombre es FERNANDO COLLADO Henry Rodrigues [ el musico] me dijo que tu sabes el lugar donde viven JORGE Y JAVIER ACEVEDO [ LA HURRACAS] si es posible mandame los detalles que yo hase muchos anos que los esoty buscando a los dos ya que ellos y yo estuvimos juntos en MATECUMBE Y en FLORIDA CITY. GRACIAS. MI CELLULAR ES 847-533-0152 y mi profile esta en aqui mismi como el tuyo . gracias FERNANDO COLLADO

Message by Fernando L Collado Gonzalez | Jul 30th 2009

Hola Jose veo que eres de Santa Clara, yo curse estudios en Santa Clara tambien, dime si las Urracas que tu mencionas en tu profile, son Javier y Jorge Acevedo que estuvieron con nosotros en Matecumbe en el 1962, Mira en mi profile y ahi veras unas fotos de ellos. Henry.

Message by Henry/Enrique Rodriguez (EL MUSICO) | Jul 30th 2009

Coño, mi hermano, al fín te encontré otra vez. Soy Pedro León tu amigo de Sta. Clara. email me at or call me (562)760-929

Message by Pedro León | Jul 30th 2009

Well Jose, you were lied to because the only home for Cuban kids in Wichita Kansas was the Mariana Home. There were never any Hurracas there as I was there from 61 to 68 and met every single Cuban that lived there (over 100). It was no where near an "Orfelinato", most kids that went through there were extremely successful in life. I am glad that you did ok in California but I would never let anyone think that was our Father Kocour did in Wichita was nothing but great for so many Cuban kids. So tell the Hurracas to tell you a different story. Good luck to you.

Message by Jorge | Jun 7th 2009

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