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:

Manuel Gutiérrez Fernández de Castro

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I arrived on August 29, 1961 and I was going to go to my uncle's house in Hialeah but so were two brothers and one sister and my uncle asked me if I would be so kind as to go with George Guarch who w...

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Que tal Manny al fin me pude conectar con el webside de los Peter Pam.Este es Jesús Alonso.Yo leo tu gran newsletter todos los meses y cada ves se pone major. No pares de escribir ,que por ti yo me pude comunicar con mi major amigo de Cuba ,Que esta ahora en Miami.KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK. Jesusito

Message by Jesus Eliseo Alonso Collado | Jul 3rd 2014

Mi pesame en la muerte de tu mama. Que Dios la tenga en la gloria, fue una mujer muy valiente.

Message by Marcos F. Pinedo | Jan 16th 2012

Manny: I just heard about the passingof your mom! I wanted to mention her here to make sure that we acccount and honor all our parents who made such a brave choice to save us, their children. May she rest in peace in the glory of Our Lord, Jesus Christ!

Message by Susy Rodriguez | Jan 16th 2012

LOL! Those were the good ole days!!!

Message by Susy Rodriguez | Sep 18th 2011

Manny, a mi tambien me agrado mucho poder volver a vernos despues de tantos años. Cuantas cosas tenemos en comun, aparte de una gran memoria y gratos recuerdos. La idea de la poesia me vino a la mente cuando recorde mis primeras noches en la cabaña de Sergio, estoy seguro que tu integrabas el "CORO " nuestro tambien. Dios siempre nos acompañaba y cuidaba nuestra hermandad. Un fuerte abrazo....MELVIN

Message by Melvin F Noriega Plasencia | Mar 22nd 2011

Sí, eso me dice todo el mundo. Ahora yo tampoco me acuerdo del nombre del artista.

Message by Eloísa Echazábal | Jan 6th 2011

Very nice photos, Manny!

Message by Eloísa Echazábal | Jan 6th 2011

Manuel has uploaded new photos.

Status update | Jan 5th 2011

Manny, Correcto Jose Luis Maneiro fue a los Maristas y tenia dos hermanos(Ovidio y Manuel).Tambien debes de conocer a Miguel Jaureguizar, quien tenia un hermano(Luis)Ellos junto con otros nos fuimos para Wash., D.C. Nov-6-61 La ultima vez que vi a Jose Luis fue en mi boda (8-20-66), vivian en Salem Mass y desde entonces nada. A Miguel si lo vi en Washington hace tres anos, el esta en las afuera de D.C. Si miras mis fotos hay una, el dia que llegaron los padre de Jose Luis y otra del grupo de los mayores. Cuidate JAM

Message by Justo Alejandro Martinez Monzon | Jan 4th 2011

Hello Manny Saludos, like i told you some time ago, last year at a PP. picnic "El Chicharo" Armanduco y yo estubimos hablando de lo mismo , it seems like someone is killing us alive , well i know it's not intencionatly , did you ever talk to Larry Ramos ?? ese es otro PP. muerto en vida .well bye now kid, un abrazo "El Frances"

Message by Eddie Enrique Fernandez Tramezaygues | Nov 20th 2010

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