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 ...

Click here to read the full story

Guillermo R's News Feed

Leave a public message for Guillermo R.

<< Prev Page 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 Next >>

Dearest Willie: You are the most outstanding human being I are so good that you could be a dog. Your capacity for forgiveness and understanding supercedes that of any Nobel Peace Prize recipient. Everyone should follow your example. Yes, Willie, it is all about you, and you, and you!

Message by Susy Rodriguez | Oct 28th 2009

Guillermo, como estan luce que hace tiempo no los veo, bueno la semana que viene nos vamos aver bastante. Yo siempre me acuesto tarde pues nunca tengo sueño el problema es por la mañana que me cuesta trabajo levantarme. Nos vemos pronto, Abrazos para los dos.

Message by Frank ( Paco ) Echeverria | Oct 28th 2009

El anterior no fue de un anonimo...mi nombre es Otmara Capote

Message by Otmara Capote | Oct 27th 2009

Querido hermano: Gracias por compartir ese tesoro de fotos que tienes en tu poder......Muy elegante tu mami. Un abrazo, Otmara

Message by Marcia Caridad Ramos Gonzalez | Oct 27th 2009

OMG OMG OMG OMG...Guille it wasn't about you...although I know everything is about you but only the positive things that make you think you are the king, you are it, you are the man...OMG OMG OMG! Mua mua!

Message by Susy Rodriguez | Oct 26th 2009

Yes, note that I remember too...

Message by Susy Rodriguez | Oct 24th 2009

Make Love Not War!!!! Remember Woodstock!

Message by Susy Rodriguez | Oct 24th 2009

Willy, I could not agree with you more. So much for peace and love. We were never flower children anyways.

Message by Carmen Valdivia | Oct 24th 2009

So much for happy Pedro Pan Place! (and I didn't even start it)

Message by Susy Rodriguez | Oct 24th 2009

To whom it may concern. This is my contribution to the peace efforts on this site. I would like to dedicate this song by Queen to all of those who are always trash talking all the Cubans in Miami to the Pedro Pan Administrator. Buddy you are a boy make a big noise Playing in the street gonna be a big man some day You got mud on your face You big disgrace Kicking your can all over the place We will we will rock you We will we will rock you Buddy you are a young man hard man Shouting in the street gonna take on the world some day You got blood on your face You big disgrace Waving your banner all over the place We will we will rock you We will we will rock you Buddy you are an old man poor man Pleading with your eyes gonna make you some peace some day You got mud on your face You big disgrace Somebody better put you back in your place We will we will rock you We will we will rock you

Message by Guillermo R Paz Vazquez | Oct 24th 2009

<< Prev Page 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 Next >>

Leave a message for Guillermo R

Your message
Your name
Your e-mail