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

Melvin F Noriega Plasencia

General Information
Current Name
Melvin F Noriega Plasencia
Current Location
United States of America
Name on Arrival
Melvin F Noriega Plasencia
Age on Arrival
15
Date of Arrival
Tuesday, October 10, 1961
Relocated To
Matecumbe Camp
Stayed With
Sergio Garcia -- Cabaña 1

Melvin F's Story

A mis hermanos

“CUANDO LLORÁBAMOS JUNTOS”

Tengo en mi alma guardado

Un gran Hecho que contar

Ahora que encuentro a mi hermano

Se lo qui...

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Hola Melvin, me encanta tu historia sencilla y feliz. Ya veo que nuestra amiga Yolanda esta de fiesta, yo voy a poner mi musiquita de Guillermo Portabales ahora mismo para participar de ese guateque. Cariños, Carmen

Message by Carmen Valdivia | Aug 31st 2009

Melvin querido: Leer tu historia o conversar contigo es terminar sonriendo y sintiédose bien. Eres un sol. --Ahora te digo que hace un rato estuve hablando con Ma Elena Pomar, que acaba de llegar de mudada desde España y está en camino a North Carolina, donde piensan radicarse./// Podemos cantar el punto guajiro: «Hay guateque en el bohío del compadre Pedro Pan... siguen llegando bailadores, compay, por lo camino ata'cao...» Un cariñoso saludo y abrazo de una de tus miles de hermanitas, yo

Message by Yolanda Cardenas Ganong | Aug 30th 2009

Melvin, al fin pusiste tu historia.....muy bonita y con buenos recuerdos.....eres una persona muy especial y carinosa...un abrazo de Carmen

Message by Carmencita Romanach | Aug 30th 2009

Hola Melvin: Te demoraste pero valio la pena que historia tan bonita, pero no se podia esperar menos de ti. Alguien tan especial como tu tiene que escribir una historia especial. Me siento honrada de ser una de tus hermanas y amigas, y espero seguir siendo parte de la post data de los desayunos. Te felicito. Un fuerte abrazo

Message by Silvia E Portu | Aug 30th 2009

Hi Melvin, gracias por tus palabras de consuelo en momentos tan duros. La suerte es que nunca he estado sola sobre todo de Silvia, Norma y Tere han sido como hermanas cuando gustes me puedes llamar tu sabes que nuestra casa es tu casa Carinos Tere

Message by Marcia Caridad Ramos Gonzalez | Aug 26th 2009

MELVIN CUANDO VA HACER LA REUNION DEL MES DE OCTUBRE PUES YO QUIERO IR A MIAMI ESE MES Y QUIERO SABER SI CONSIDE CON MI ESTANCIA ALLA Y DIME LADE NOVIEMBRE SI LA SABES

Message by Alejandra Gutierrez Ramos | Aug 25th 2009

MELVIN MI HERMANA LE GUSTARIA HABLAR CONTIGO PERO ELLA AHORA NO TIENE COMPUTADORA ELLA VIVE EN MIAMILAPUEDES LO CALIZAR EN EL NUMERO 305 854-6094 ELLA SIEMPRE ESTA ENLACASA.

Message by Alejandra Gutierrez Ramos | Aug 25th 2009

Pues mi hermanito Melvin, tengo un album con fotos del campamento, pero quieres que te diga la verdad, no se como ponerlas para que todos las vean. Besos, ELSITA

Message by ELSA BULNES LOPEZ | Aug 24th 2009

Melvin, eres lo mas popular que visto y leido en Pedro Pan Network, me encantaron tus fotos, tu mama, Nino, Pepito...cuantos recuerdos se atropeyan de momento!nos une un pasado comun y un carino verdadero. Un fuerte abrazo Estelita

Message by Estela Prieto | Aug 24th 2009

MELVIN DESDE EL DIA QUE NOS VIMOS EN WALGREENS NO HE SABIDO DE TI, YA NO ESTOY TRABAJANDO (EARLY RETIREMENT),PERO ME PUEDES ESCRIBIR O LLAMAR CUANDO QUIERAS, ME SALUDAS A PEPITO. TE QUIERE, ELSITA.

Message by Elsa Bulnes-Garcia | Aug 23rd 2009

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