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.

Elsa's News Feed

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Elsa: Fue un gusto verte y saber que tenemos a Maria Elena en comun. En cuando pueda le voy a decir que se contacte contigo. A ver si venimos a MIami juntas y nos reunimos contigo. Cariños, yoli

Message by Yolanda Cardenas Ganong | Nov 10th 2009

Elsita, claro que me acuerdo de ti, han pasado muchos años, pero me ha dado mucha alegria haber sabido de ti, Espero vernos pronto, quizas en el proximo desayuno. Un fuerte abrazo y muchos cariños Lydia Merida Quesada-Hackney

Message by Lydia E. Hackney | Nov 9th 2009

Hola Elsa, gracias por acompañarnos en el desayuno fue un placer conocerlos,desde ya los invitamos para la reunion del proximo año.Un abrazo para ambos.Juanita.

Message by Juanita Garcia | Nov 9th 2009

Elsa: Tú no me recuerdas, hace 40 años conocí a Eugenia Bulnes tu hermana, porque estuve en el Noviciado filipense. Soy una de las mexicanas,salúdame por favor a Eugenia, Muchas gracias!

Message by María Teresa Macías Díaz Infante. | Nov 4th 2009

Hola Elsa, que alegria que hayas encontrado a Amparito Mendigutia, estube comentandolo con Haydee Gabeiras ayer. Melvin, Haydee y yo la recordamos mucho. Te estoy enviando la foto que esta en mi perfil y otras mas donde ella esta tambien, a tu email. Dile que no deje de comunicarse con nosotros cuando venga en diciembre. Tienes rason, tu y Guillermo eran vecinos en Cuba, ya Melvin se lo habia comentado a el. Un beso, Carmen

Message by Carmen Valdivia | Nov 4th 2009

Ah nunca se me olvida como Estelita y yo nos quedabamos en el colegio y yo me tire de la escalera y la madre matienzo me estaba esperando abajo y me quito la medalla de hija de maria....con el trabajo que me costo cojerla...pero la recupere, y me case con mi virjencita en el cuello....cuanto daria por ver a Paulita melvin me mando fotos de ella,,,,mira caele arriba a melvin para que prepare una reunion.

Message by Caridad Cesari Quevedo | Oct 31st 2009

Elsita perdona que no me haya sentado antes en la computadora pero es que se me complica, nunca me olvidare de ti de los tiempos del campamento ni del colegio, siempre estoy haciendo los cuentos de como yo copiaba de Borjita la verdad es que lo bailado nadie nos lo quita cuanto daria por reunirnos deberiamos de pensar en una reunion para principios de ano mi hijo se casa en Abril so vamos a hablar con Melvin que es el organizador de todo.....le mande unas fotos para que las ponga porque tu sabes el siempre esta en todo bueno ya cumplo 65 anos la semana que viene MEDICARE pero a dios le doy gracias,,,tengo 3 hijos y 4 niteos y me tienen de una en otra....bueno besitos Caru

Message by Caridad Cesari Quevedo | Oct 31st 2009

Elsita esto es por retazos ( como deciamos en Cuba), ya tienes 3 mensajes mios uno atras del otro! Que barbaridad! Si, yo vivi en Long Island ,NY. por mas de treinta anos, asi que esa fue la razon que perdi contacto con todas mis amistades de Cuba. Besitos Zeida

Message by Zeida Rife - Kirik | Oct 18th 2009

Elsita, yo creo que me confundi, Vicky tenia un novio , se caso y se quedo en Spokane por un tiempo? Si, yo me acuerdo de Alicia,y de la hermana, Livia. Livia era mayor . Me dio pena saber que Alicia murio. Besitos, Zeida

Message by Zeida Rife - Kirik | Oct 18th 2009

Elsita, que bueno saber de ti de nuevo. Si, que buena idea que tu esposo va a ir a la reunion, Ed, mi esposo es americano, pero mas cubano que yo!! Para contestarte tu pregunta,despues que yo cumpli 18, yo tuve que cojer un prestamo del govierno para completar mi educacion en Fort WRIGHT COLLEGE. Yo conoci mi esposo en Spokane. De Vicky y Livia me acuerdo un poco, Vicky era menor? Te acuerdas de Dorti y de Miriam del Portal? Yo tengo fotos de Spokane en donde tu estas con ellas. Ed y yo visitamos Spokane en 1996, el College es diferente al igual que Spokane,ya vamos a hablar en Dic. Teresita va a la reunion, y me puse en contacto con Diana Casariego, ella va a ir tambien, con el favor de Dios todas nos vamos a reunir. Para mi sera despues de 47+ anos, un sueno hecho realidad!! Besitos

Message by Zeida Rife - Kirik | Oct 18th 2009

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