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:

Guillermo R Paz Vazquez

General Information
Current Name
Guillermo R Paz Vazquez
Current Location
United States of America
Name on Arrival
Guillermo R Paz Vazquez
Age on Arrival
Date of Arrival
Tuesday, October 10, 1961
Relocated To
Haiti Pedro Pan
Guillermo R has volunteered to help the children of Haiti. Find out how you can help, too.

Guillermo R's Story

The year was 1958, I was 8 years old and my life from my perspective was good. I had two wonderful parents and a loving sister who was 2 years older than I. My father was a self made man who arrived ...

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Muchas gracias te lo agradesco ok. y tambien dejame decirte que ha sido un placer haver llegado a conocerte. ps tienes que darles las gracias a Carmen ok. [ just kidding] bye FERNANDO

Message by Fernando L Collado Gonzalez | Mar 12th 2010

THAT MUST BE IT! You know what they say....'if the shoe fits'! You have such a way with words, Willie!

Message by Susy Rodriguez | Feb 26th 2010

Willie...Anoche soñe contigo...something about being a Ford Pinto.

Message by Susy Rodriguez | Feb 26th 2010

...La Habana...por Francisco Henriquez.. Provincia de campesinos que sudan la piel cubana, y van del campo a La Habana con sueños capitalinos. Parece que Isla de Pinos se fue por Batabano´: el tiempo la transformo en un huerto de toronjas, y en una balsa de esponjas flotando se eternizo´

Message by Marcos F. Pinedo | Feb 25th 2010

Guillermo R has signed up to volunteer for the Haiti Pedro Pan group.

Status update | Jan 19th 2010

Guille, le escribi a tu esposa dandole las gracias a los dos, todo fue divino y tu como siempre super atento. Besos tu hermanita, Sil

Message by Silvia Budejen Trujillo | Jan 11th 2010

Enero 6, 2010 Querido Reyes Magos: Les extrañará que les escriba hoy 6 de Enero, pero quiero aclarar ciertas cosas que han ocurrido desde el primero de este mes en que lleno de ilusiones les hice mi carta. En la misma les pedía lo siguiente: una bicicleta, un tren eléctrico, un par de patines, y un par de revólveres con sus cartucheras, un traje de pelotero y un parchi de bolas. Me destroce el cerebro estudiando todo el año, tanto que no solo fui el primero de la clase, sino que obtuve la mejor nota del colegio o mejor dicho de la escuela publica donde estoy. No los voy a engañar. No hubo en todo el barrio quien se portara mejor que yo con mis padres, con mis hermanos, con mis amiguitos, con los vecinos, etc... Hacia mandados, ayudaba a cruzar las calles a los ancianitos y no se presentaba nada que estuviera a mi alcance que yo no hiciera por la humanidad. Que caramba se creen ustedes? Ustedes no creen que es una buena basura lo que me han hecho los tres.... dejando debajo de mi cama un trompo, una corneta y un par de medias? Que han llegado a pensar ustedes, hijos de mala madre? O sea, que me han cogido de bobo durante el año, para salirse con una traición de esta categoría. Y no conforme con eso, al bobalicón hijo de la señora a la que mi Papa le maneja el carro, a ese gran come basura, sin educación, malcriadísimo y desobediente, le han dejado una cantidad de juguetes por toda la casa y el patio que no se puede dar un paso. Por eso, caramba, es que aquí tiene que venir algo que nos hunda a todos, porque con Reyes tan sinvergüenzas como ustedes que basura de país se va a salvar. Eso si, prepárense el año que viene, porque les voy a entrar a pedradas a los malditos camellos para que se espanten y tengan que fastidiarse a pie como estoy yo, ya que la bicicleta que les pedí era para ir al colegio que queda mas lejos que el diablo. No quiero despedirme sin antes mentarles la madre a los tres. Espero que los acusen de comunistas y los fusilen o les den la silla eléctrica para que no sean tan hijos de mala madre. No se preocupen, que el año que viene van a saber lo que es un muchacho terrorista, hijo de la gran madre y malo. El futuro terror del barrio, Pepito

Message by Guillermo R Paz Vazquez | Jan 6th 2010

Should old acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind ? Should old acquaintance be forgot, and old lang syne ? CHORUS: For auld lang syne, my dear, for auld lang syne, we'll take a cup of kindness yet, for auld lang syne. And surely you’ll buy your pint cup ! and surely I’ll buy mine ! And we'll take a cup o’ kindness yet, for auld lang syne. CHORUS We two have run about the slopes, and picked the daisies fine ; But we’ve wandered many a weary foot, since auld lang syne. CHORUS We two have paddled in the stream, from morning sun till dine† ; But seas between us broad have roared since auld lang syne. CHORUS And there’s a hand my trusty friend ! And give us a hand o’ thine ! And we’ll take a right good-will draught, for auld lang syne. CHORUS HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Message by Guillermo R Paz Vazquez | Jan 2nd 2010

And with that, you have now covered every possible liability for future communications to/from the 'reparto' which will hold its grand opening on the First of January 2010. Unless you fell asleep before midnight and wake up believing you are still in 2009, in that case, this desclaimer/warning will become retroactive to when you may have felt offended, insulted, terrorized, shocked and descombobulated over all transmissions dated in 2009. If you are feeling insecure, unsure, acomplejado(a) and/or otherwise inadequately fit to read or transmit, you are warned beforehand and if you do so,please be advised to do so at your own risk. You're welcome, Willie.

Message by Susy Rodriguez | Dec 31st 2009

Oye Guillermo, he leido lo que escribiste y me parece que estaba leyendo sobre mi vida con la excepcion quen otro jego que yo jugaba era con ligas disparando cartoncitos o grapas. A mi si me toco ir a un orfelinato en Indiana. Al principio no me gusto el orfelinato ni el frio pero ahora dooy gracias a Dios por los amigos que hice y como me trataron en Ft Wayne In. Gracias por lo que has escrito, me han traido gratas y tristes memorias y me han hecho sentirme muy bien. Cesar

Message by Cesar de la Guardia | Dec 26th 2009

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