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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Dear James: Thanks a million for all the pick-ups, drop-offs, cafe,croquetas, cafe, fritas, cafe, corquetas and cafe. Chauffeurs like you are comparable to attorneys like me...sure to bumped and bruised! Gracias mi amigo! Remember in PR golf a lot or else you'll be picking out encajitos! Love ya!

Message by Susy Rodriguez | Nov 8th 2009

Hola Guillermo,que lindas tus fotos especialmente la que estan todos los muchachos,parece que aun estan en Fla City y Matecumbe parecen unos despistados.Un abrazo. Juanita

Message by Juanita Garcia | Nov 8th 2009

Willie: A special note to you. You are a real gentleman and that is hard to find these days. You are also a good friend and most of all.....everthing is ABOUT YOU, AND YOU, AND YOU!!!! Thanks for being my friend!

Message by Susy Rodriguez | Nov 4th 2009

Bella historia, me ha gustado mucho, lo único que siento es que tu familia haya fallecido... yo también llevo 48 años esperando volver...!!!!

Message by Maria E Pazos Alvarez | Oct 31st 2009

Guillermo. I need to explain in writing what are the dangers of running a car engine inside a closed garage...can you help?

Message by Susy Rodriguez | Oct 29th 2009

NO, can't cheat me out of my prizes....You know I won...besides Paul Anka also sang it so it was a temporay mind block...YOU KNOW I WON......CHEATER CHEATER PUMPKIN EATER!

Message by Susy Rodriguez | Oct 29th 2009

Ray Peterson, We all loved that song. Remember the song on the back of the 45 Here it goes When no-one can understand me, when everything I do is wrong You give me hope and consolation, you give me hope to carry on. And you try to show your love for me in everything you do. That's the wonder, the wonder of you. And when you smile the world is brighter. You touch my hand and I'm a king. Your kiss to me is worth a fortune, your love to me is everything. And you're always there to lend a hand in all I try to do. That's the wonder, the wonder of you. I guess I'll never know the reason why you love me as you do. That's the wonder, the wonder of you. Now I know why you looked familiar, I used to see you on Saturday Hop. Now I have to see you dance. Remember Shindig and Soul Train. There were 16 of us watching those programs every week even if we had to sit on the floor. Un abrazo hermano

Message by Silvia E Portu | Oct 29th 2009


Message by Susy Rodriguez | Oct 29th 2009

I KNOW, I KNOW...who sang Goodnight my Love.....P.A.....WFUN was my favorite but I did tune in to Ricky Ticky on WQAM...and we've already had this conversation before. Ok, so I know you didn't ask me but since I knew the answer I wanted to get the prizes!

Message by Susy Rodriguez | Oct 29th 2009

Guillermito, mi pequeno companero de vuelo. Estaba pensando en la Vibora y La Habana y quiero pasarte estos recuerdos.Sabia Usted?. : Que cuando uno pasaba en auto por la avenida De Acosta frente al Quinto Distrito en bajada uno sentia un brinco en la barriga.Que a todos nos acostaban con el canonazo de las nueve.Que las campanas que sonaban en tu casa eran de la iglesia de Jesus Del Monte y no de Los Pasionistas.Que los libros de tu colegio provenian de la libreria "La Polilla".Que la lecheria que repartia en tu barrio se llamaba Santa Beatriz. Que una vez un camion tuvo que bajar de la loma de Chaplet A Melvin porque se perdio en su cuspide.Que la Gran Via era de donde procedian tus cakes de cumpleanos.Que en la cafeteria del paradero de Colon soplaban el mejor desayuno de la Vibora.Que los mejores boyitos de carita y Los mejores bistecs de lomo empanizado los vendian en el paradero de la Vibora....Creo que te puse a pensar en nustra querida Vibora! ... Que bueno que los pilotos de nuestro avion no se quedaron dormidos! Nos hubieramos criado en Quebec! Siempre cuida bien a la "Dona" Lo mejor para ustedes: MELVIN

Message by Melvin F Noriega Plasencia | Oct 28th 2009

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