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:

Oscar Espinosa Martinez

General Information
Current Name
Oscar Espinosa Martinez
Current Location
United States of America
Name on Arrival
Oscar Espinosa Martinez
Age on Arrival
Date of Arrival
Tuesday, February 13, 1962
Relocated To
Stayed With
Matecumbe and in April 1962 sent to New Orleans

Oscar's Story

Mi nombre es Oscar Guillermo Espinosa tambien conocido por mis amistades y familia como Billy Espinosa. Sali de la Habana el 12 de Febrero del 1962, yo tenia 15 anos, mi hermano Esteban 13 y mi herman...

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Billy, hallé el siguiente artículo sobre tu padre en la página 9 de la revista Acadiana Profile, el cual fue redactado en 1970, y me imaginé que te interesaría conservarlo digitalizado.

Message by Jose Antonio Amaro Reyes | May 28th 2011

buen dia oscar estoy tratando de comunicarme con tigo ya que tenemos una serie de proyectos en los cuales tu podrias apoyarnos

Message by Carlos Cifuentes | Feb 4th 2011

Hola Billy que es de tu vida, no sabemos de ti hace tiempo, vas a ir a la reunion de Noviembre?

Message by Betty Gonzalez Penton | Aug 21st 2010

Billy, la reunion de la UCE de NO (en la que habemos muchos Pedro Pans) se acerca...y que yo sepa, todo el mundo quiere ir...que divertido. Ya estan al confirmar las fechas....

Message by Emma A. Botet Zuloaga | May 6th 2010

Yo no se si te acuerdas de mi, Evis LoisYo sali unos dias despues que Juan Pedro Parilla y Juana Dias y el hermano.Dime donde vives yo vivo en Palm Beach me guataria hacer una reunion con todos los Tuinuquences.Tus padres siguen vivos? Yo ya tengo 66 Abriles. Recuerdos a tus hermanos Evis

Message by Evis Lois | Oct 16th 2009

Holya Billy, te quiero decir que el mercado de foreclosures y short sales cogio fuerza en Miami y mi area, Aventura y la playas...hemos vendido muchisimo esta semana...barato...pero la gente se "decidio" a un buen sintoma en cuanto a la "economia"...espero no haberte asustado! Carinos siempre, Emy Botet

Message by Marcia Caridad Ramos Gonzalez | Jul 29th 2009

Hola Billy, quiero repetir lo que dice Betty en su ultimo mensaje a ti. Estas de vacaciones? Avisamos si quieres organizar una reunion de la gente de Tuinucu? Estamos listos para ayudarte! Carinos, Mary

Message by Maria Petronila Hernandez Mills | Jul 16th 2009

Hola Billy, estas bien? hace tiempo no escribes,te pasa algo? Oyeme tu que te acuerdas de medio Tuinucu y Sancti-Spiritus queremos saber si organizas el reunir a los Pedro Pans, te ayudamos unos cuantos, que dices? Betty

Message by Betty Gonzalez Penton | Jul 12th 2009

A lo mejor en un viaje que des a Miami, puedes ir a uno de los desayunos mensuales, si coincides en las fechas....estoy tratando de que Carmen Guerra, que vive aqui, vaya al desayuno del Sabado proximo...deja ver si tengo exito...Emy Botet

Message by Marcia Caridad Ramos Gonzalez | Jul 12th 2009

On the site: El sitio para los Espirituanos, Groylan Pereira disenador del sitio, pregunta: Que es Cuba? Respondi: Cuba es mi patria, mi casa, mis muñecas, mi amaca, mi familia, mi playa, mi escuela, mis amiguitas, mi naturaleza, mi niñez abandonada, mi presente anhelado, y mi futuro perdido.-Mary

Message by Maria Petronila Hernandez Mills | Jul 5th 2009

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