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:

Susana (Susy) Garrandés Gonzalez

General Information
Current Name
Susy Rodriguez
Current Location
United States of America
Name on Arrival
Susana (Susy) Garrandés Gonzalez
Age on Arrival
Date of Arrival
Friday, March 23, 1962
Relocated To
St. Vincent's Orphanage, Vincennes, Indiana
Stayed With
Velasco family-Florida City
Haiti Pedro Pan
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Susana (Susy)'s Story

Truly blessed for having been raised in the USA!

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Susana (Susy) has updated their profile.

Status update | Apr 14th 2010

Susana (Susy) says: Looking for Lombardia brothers from St. Vincent's in Vincennes, In. If you know them, please let me know. Thanks

Status update | Apr 14th 2010

Susana (Susy) says: PP children from St Vincent's Orphanage, Vincennes,IN. Reunion is being organized there in Aug. by Pat Clark,Orph.historian please contact me fr info

Status update | Apr 14th 2010

Susy, la dirección no es ¨vn´ es ¨vm¨. En cuanto a reunirnos, digan el día y la hora y está hecho. Cariños, Mery

Message by Maria de los Angeles Sorondo | Apr 13th 2010

GOOD NIGHT SUE!!!!!!!!!! IAM getting on that midnite train to GEORGIA!!!!!! hope to wake up on time tomorrow. to follow up with more constructive comments for you ok.

Message by Fernando L Collado Gonzalez | Apr 12th 2010

Susy hay algo malo con el agua por la FLORIDA? HAY una persona que te escribio dandote las gracias por averla ayudarla en buscar algo. y ahora PACO te dise que es una lastima que tu vives tan lejos de el? oye yo voy a llamar a EPA. del estado de la FLORIDA porque ami me parese que el agua que esa jentes se estan tomando esta contaminada. imaginate alguien dandote gracias ati por cosas buenas que tu les has echo. quisas por fin te distes de cuenta que cuando tratas a las personas mejor ellos en regreso te harian lo mismo? NAH es imposible que tu te estes portando bien. yo creo que tu misma estas tomando la misma agua contaminada. bueno dejame despedirme para no despertarme y darme de cuenta que todo esto bueno que te esta pasando no es nada mas que un sueño mio porque con todo esto que te digo todavia no lo creo!!!!!!

Message by Fernando L Collado Gonzalez | Apr 12th 2010

Susy this past week end here in CHICAGO ON THE 5.00 O'CLOCK NEWS they reported that a woman [ with a big mouth] was attacked by a 7. foot alligator while working on her yard. I GOT very excited listening to the news hoping to hear the womans name but my luck has it it was not you. WELL NEXT DO ME A FAVOR AND WORK A LITTLE LONGER ON YOUR YARD!!

Message by Fernando L Collado Gonzalez | Apr 12th 2010

Susy, gracias por ayudarme con las fotos. Voy a tratar a ver que pasa. Cariños.

Message by Maria de los Angeles Sorondo | Apr 12th 2010

Susy, gracias por ayudar a otras personas que me piden ayuda,esperando verte en el deayuno por el dia de las Madres. Hace falta que vivas mas cerca. Nos vemos pronto. Saludos

Message by Frank ( Paco ) Echeverria | Apr 10th 2010

Susy, me ganaste -por el momento. A mí el pasaporte se me aparece de vez en cuando -solito. Oye, voy a tener que prestarte a mi hija para que te ayude a encontrar tus extraviados miscelaneos. Ella es la cátedra en encontrar cosas perdidas. Figúrate, tantos años de práctica conmigo... je, je, jé.

Message by Yolanda Cardenas Ganong | Apr 7th 2010

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