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

Ramón L. de Guzmán Chaple

General Information
Current Name
Ramón Luis de Guzmán Chaple
Current Location
United States of America
Name on Arrival
Ramón L. de Guzmán Chaple
Age on Arrival
17
Date of Arrival
Sunday, January 14, 1962
Relocated To
CWB Matecumbe
Stayed With
Padre Palá

Ramón L.'s Story

When I arrived in Miami I always realized that I was not going to see my parents soon, my brother was a political prisoner and they refused to leave him behind. It took over eleven years and totally a...

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Ramón L.'s News Feed

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Ramón L. has updated their profile.

Status update | Dec 27th 2013

Ramon, very happy to see you see you are here. Se te quiere hermano.

Message by Armando Vizcaino | Dec 27th 2013

Ramón L. has updated their profile.

Status update | Nov 25th 2013

Ramon: Just read your message to José Antonio.....so so good to hear that your brother was able to rebuild a good life and enjoying his large family now. God bless all that stood up to evil! Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

Message by Susy Rodriguez | Nov 21st 2013

Nice photo, Ramón!

Message by Eloísa Echazábal | Nov 21st 2013

Ramón: What became of your political prisoner brother? Two of my youngest uncles were imprisoned for anti-communist activities and sentenced to 30 and 18 years. Those freaking Mother F..kers could really hand out long sentences to frighten the population into submission. Castro's reign of terror!

Message by Jose Antonio Amaro Reyes | Nov 21st 2013

Ramón L. has uploaded new photos.

Status update | Nov 21st 2013

Likewise, Ramon. If you are not in touch with the Operation Pedro Pan Group, a non profit organization, please contact them at members@pedropan.org. They will add you to their mailing list and will receive info on activities and reunions of the pedro pan children. Their website is www.pedropan.org. The annual gala is coming up on November 23rd. Also check out http://www.cubankids1960.com/ which is a Pedro Pan organization in California which also have annual activities. And finally, http://www.campmatecumbeveterans.com/ which is a website initiated and maintained by Manuel Gutierrez, a Pedro Pan child. He sends a monthly newsletter and keeps count of PP that have been located. Good Luck!

Message by Susy Rodriguez | Nov 7th 2013

Welcome to the PP Network, Ramon! I am sorry to hear that it took so many years before you were reunited with your parents. Yep, it's time for most of us to slow down! We've earned it!

Message by Susy Rodriguez | Nov 7th 2013

Ramón L. has uploaded new photos.

Status update | Nov 6th 2013

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