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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Guille mientra mas miro esa foto donde tu madre te esta dando algo de comer no hay manera que vea la razon por la cual Carmen dise que tu fuistes un muchacho SPOLIED!!!!!!!!! dile a ella que no hable mal de ti ok. bye FERNANDO PS LAS MUJERES DE HOY NO SON TAN COMPLACIENTES CON LOS HIJOS COMO NUESTRAS MADRES VERDAD? [ I JUST OPEN A NEW CAN OF WORMS!!!!!!]

Message by Fernando L Collado Gonzalez | Dec 19th 2009

Guille ya te dije mi respuesta de lo asombrado cuando vi a esa - - - - - - - SNOW arriba de mi carro. me pase media hora mirandola y despues la limpie de mi carro. tu sabes lo feo que es manejar con esa nieve en el carro. todo el mundo se te queda mirandote cuando estas manejando. que diran el resto del solar si se levantan por la mañana y ven a esa nieve arriba de su carro. me da escalofrio solamente pensandolo. have a nice day.

Message by Fernando L Collado Gonzalez | Dec 18th 2009

Guille, imaginate si estuvieras estas navidades limpiando tu driveway en MIAMI con ese abrigo puesto y ese gorro? todos los cubanos se mudan de ese estado de vuelta para CUBA, UNA COSA QUE ME DI DE CUENTA CUANDO ESTABAS LIMPIANDO LA NIEVE? tenias el cigarro en la boca!!!!!!!!! FELIS NAVIDA PARA TI Y CARMEN Y TODOS EN LA FAMILIA OK.

Message by Fernando L Collado Gonzalez | Dec 18th 2009

Shovel away!!! Great pics...where were these?

Message by Susy Rodriguez | Dec 17th 2009

I'm gettin' nuttin' for Christmas Mommy and Daddy are mad. I'm gettin' nuttin' for Christmas 'Cause I ain't been nuttin' but bad. I broke my bat on Johnny's head; Somebody snitched on me. I hid a frog in sister's bed; Somebody snitched on me. I spilled some ink on Mommy's rug; I made Tommy eat a bug; Bought some gum with a penny slug; Somebody snitched on me. CHORUS Oh, I'm gettin' nuttin' for Christmas Mommy and Daddy are mad. I'm gettin' nuttin' for Christmas 'Cause I ain't been nuttin' but bad. I put a tack on teacher's chair; Somebody snitched on me. I tied a knot in Suzy's hair; Somebody snitched on me. I did a dance on Mommy's plant. Climbed a tree and tore my pants. Filled that sugar bowl with ants; Somebody snitched on me. CHORUS Oh, I'm gettin' nuttin' for Christmas Mommy and Daddy are mad. I'm gettin' nuttin' for Christmas 'Cause I ain't been nuttin' but bad. So you better be good whatever you do 'Cause if you're bad, I'm warning you, You'll get nuttin' for Christmas.

Message by Guillermo R Paz Vazquez | Dec 17th 2009

Dear Willie: I have NO idea why your wife would think you were spoiled! However, people in glass houses shouldn't throw she wasn't spoiled...even in Fla. City!!!! Loved the pics and you are lucky to have them, I have none from those days of the Reyes Magos! The pics reminded me of a CHRISTmas after I widowed that I was waiting for my son to go to sleep and wrap his gifts. Instead, I fell asleep and woke up at 6:00AM. Panicking, I decided just to exhibit them just like they did in Cuba. He woke up, went to look under the tree and turned around to me and said with a sad look..."Mami, Santa didn't wrap my gifts"! OMG, did I feel lousy!!! Now, he's lucky to get any gifts! ha! ha!...Thanks for sharing Lourdes and yours happy moments. Un besito para Carmen y para ti. Merry CHRISTmas! God Bless You!

Message by Susy Rodriguez | Dec 17th 2009

Ok folks, it is during this wonderful time of the year that I remember those magical moments of waking up to a living room full of gifts. I now relive those moments watching the grandchildren opening up theirs. I have posted some pictures of past Christmas moments, now it is your turn to post yours. With this thought in mind, I would like to wish all of you a very Merry CHRISTmas and a Happy New Year! Guillermo

Message by Guillermo R Paz Vazquez | Dec 17th 2009

Guille mi hermanito, oye hablo con tu senora y a todo el mundo le digo hay Guille me va resolver lo de las fotos en la PC y al principal que eres tu no le he dicho nada, bueno yo se que no tengo problema con tu ayuda. Tu hermanita que mucho carino te ha cojido por lo linda persona que eres, Besos, Sil - Nos vemos pronto

Message by Silvia Budejen Trujillo | Dec 5th 2009

Gracias mi hermanito Guillermo. Si ves algo bueno en mi ser, fue ella y mi abuelo a quien se lo acredito. Marcos

Message by Marcos F. Pinedo | Dec 3rd 2009

Are you the guy that accompanied the Duchess to PR? Tuvistes que escojer muchos encajitos? Welcome back, buddy...missed you guys!

Message by Susy Rodriguez | Nov 18th 2009

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