Cuban immigrants share precious family heirlooms to show history of Cuban exiles by Janey Fugate jfugate@elnuevoherald.com 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. http://www.miamiherald.com Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/07/26/v-print/4257131/cuban-immigrants-share-precious.html#storylink=cpy

Elsa Bulnes Lopez

General Information
Current Name
Elsa Bulnes-Garcia
Current Location
United States of America
Name on Arrival
Elsa Bulnes Lopez
Age on Arrival
16
Date of Arrival
Saturday, December 2, 1961
Relocated To
CWB Fla. City/ Spokane, Washington State
Stayed With
NINO AND PELUCA CESARI

Elsa's Story

This person has not yet filled out their story about their flight as a part of Operation Pedro Pan.

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Claro que me acuerdo de ti y de Eugenia, no las puedo olvidar. Se te puede conocer porque estás igualita. ¿Dónde vives? Yo sigo en Maryland desde el '70. Cariños, Misha

Message by Maria Elvira Lasaga Guerra | Jul 2nd 2010

Elsita, yo si me acuerdo de ti de Lourdes y de Villa Madonna.Tu eras una muchachita trigueña muy bonita y siempre buena amiga. Creo que te conoci cuando yo tenia 10 años en La Vibora y eras vecina de Caridad Cesari y de Guillermo Paz y si mal no recuerdo tu casa estaba muy cerca de Los Escolapios y de Nuestra Señora del Pilar. Tambien se que te casastes con un instructor muy querido por los muchachos de Matecumbe--Edgar Garcia. Te esperamos en la proxima reunion pues estas perdida. Te quiere tu primo-hermano. MELVIN

Message by Melvin F Noriega Plasencia | Jul 2nd 2010

Elsa, voy a estar por miami el 12 de junio, se no es el desayuno Pedro Pan pero es que salimos el 13 para Bahamas de Miami y quisiera tomarnos un Cafesito please planea con Melvin nos vamos a quedar overnight en su casa quisiera verlas a todas...sino sera en otro momento besos Caruca

Message by Caridad Cesari Quevedo | May 29th 2010

Elsa, cuando puedas usa mi e-mail que es mas facil comunicarnos. AdeleGonz@aol.com Carinos, Adelaida (Saludos a Eugenia)

Message by Adelaida Gonzalez Rivero | Feb 17th 2010

hi elsa, como no tengo tu e-mail, me comunico contigo de nuevo a traves del website. el viernes 11 Ana r, va a estar en casa, y voy a hacer un motivito me gustaria que vinieras, llamame 305-231-0871 un abrazo,maggie

Message by maggie | Dec 2nd 2009

Elsa, aqui estoy de nuevo ya que no lo hago muy amenudo, tengo muchas ganas de verte no solo por Pedro Pan sino por nuestro colegio, mira trate de ir a la reunion pero se me hace tan dificil estos fines de semana de diciembre etan muy ocupados, y yo vivo a 2 cuadras del Stadium de Football y tengo siempre el patio lleno de gentes es una locura, no voy a poder ir se que Zeida va pero yo le dije a Borjita que este ano me iba a ser imposible,,,nunca he ido...a principios de ano Mercy Amparito y yo pensamos ir en un viaje relampago a ver si vamos a un desayuno de Pedro Pan, bueno tengo tu telefon y te voy a llamar besitos Caruca

Message by Caridad Cesari Quevedo | Nov 23rd 2009

Elsita,gracias por acordarte!. Tu siempre eres una prima-hermanita especial. Hable con Pepe y esta ocupado el sabado.Te llamo el viernes para ponernos de acuerdo. Carinos a los dos. MELVIN

Message by Melvin F Noriega Plasencia | Nov 18th 2009

Gracias por las felicitaciones, Elsa. Tengo mucho embullo para la celebracion del Colegio, ya nos queda poquito....un abrazo

Message by Carmencita Romanach | Nov 16th 2009

Elsa estuve e unviaj a miami hoy de un dia para la toma de posecn de Tomas regalado, esty penando en ver como puedo escaparme para la reunion de el colegio yo te voy a llmar melvin me dio tu tlefono besitos caruca

Message by Caridad Cesari Quevedo | Nov 11th 2009

Elsita, acabo de hablar con Gema Perez y me dijo que le gustaria ir a algun desayuno. Acuerdate que a Guillermo y a Maria Antonia Perez Planas los querian todo el campamento. Tambien me dijo que Maria Elena esta al llegar pronto y que va a la reunion de Lourdes. Todavia Michael no me ha copiado las fotos. Espero que me lo haga esta semana.Me dijeron que te vieron acompanada por un buen querido instructor de Matecumbe.Cuidalo porque dicen que es de oro.Carinos a los dos: MELVIN

Message by Melvin F Noriega Plasencia | Nov 10th 2009

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