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:

Osvaldo Mora La Rosa

General Information
Current Name
Ozzie Mora
Current Location
United States of America
Name on Arrival
Osvaldo Mora La Rosa
Age on Arrival
Date of Arrival
Friday, October 13, 1961
Relocated To
Camp Kendall > Camp Matecumbe > St Joseph's Orphanage - Helena, Montana>Foster Home in Whitefish, Montana > Brondel Hall Helena, Montana> Camp Matecumbe
Stayed With
Pedro Pan Program

Osvaldo's Story

First of all, I would like to honor and pay tribute to all the Pedro Pan's parents who made the sacrifice of sending their sons and daughters to an uncertain future in a foreign country, not knowing ...

Click here to read the full story

Osvaldo's News Feed

Leave a public message for Osvaldo.

Page 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Next >>

Hola Osvaldo, yo tambien soy de Ssantiago de las Vegas, y pase mi tiempo en Matecumbe, guiandome por tu apellido, por casualidad eres familia de Elena Mora, directora del colegio Wesley en Santiago, que tambien atendi por 6 anos?

Message by Orestes Silva Fuentes | Jan 8th 2014

Osvaldo has updated their profile.

Status update | Apr 4th 2013

Hi Ozzie, my name is Silvio Rodriguez and I was also sent to Helena, MT in August of 1962. I lived at Brondel Hall till 1965, but continued living in Montana until 1997. I am now back in Montana and getting together a reunion of kids that were in Montana in the 60s. I would like to invite you and your family to this reunion. Please go to this link for details, and add yourself to the classmates: Please let me know who may have a list of the kids that stayed at the orphanage. If possible get in contact with me as soon as you can. Thank you. Silvio Rodriguez

Message by Silvio Rodriguez Cuesta | Mar 6th 2013

I went to New Mexico, but spent a few years in Gt Falls, Montana, while I was in the Air Force, and I have been thru most of the areas that you mentioned. I too got caught off guard, by the cold weather.

Message by Faustino Amaral | May 5th 2012

Osvaldo, I don't think we evrer meet, our lives has been very close. I was in Helena for almost 5 year, the lived in NJ. New Providence for almost 3 year then moved to Westfield for 25 years, raised 3 sons, and after they left the house my wife and I moved to NYC. I went to Helena on November 1962, I traveled with a 11 years old boy that went to St. Joseph orphanage. I can remember his name. Maybe some day we will finally meet. Good lucl

Message by Raul F Alvarp | Apr 25th 2012

Osvaldo has uploaded new photos.

Status update | Feb 24th 2012

Osvaldo has uploaded new photos.

Status update | Feb 12th 2012

Hi Osvaldo yes i remember Matecunbe and the bus rides to downtown Miami in the week ends, look at the pictures that i just posted from the arrival of my cousins Modesto-Gustavo-and i Rafael in Kendall first in September of 1961 and in two weeks send to Matecumbe and them send to Sparks Nevada in the winter of 1961,i was send back to Matecumbe at the bigining of the summer of 1962 and them send to St. Louis Missouri to a orphanage, but every time i was in Matecumbe i went thru all then woods and went inside the old tanks and equipment of the army that where inside them woods from the army excesises, thank you for writing to me Rafael A. Martin

Message by Rafael A Martin Garcia | Sep 18th 2011

Osvaldo has uploaded new photos.

Status update | Jul 5th 2011

Que tal Osvaldo, tambien soy Santiaguero, estuve en Matecumbe, vine a este gran pais el 21 de Marzo del 62 y al cabo de los tres meses nos mandaron a Ohio con familias Americana Al notar tu apellido, eres pariente de Elena Mora administradora del colegio Wesley situado en la calle dos? Mi nombre es Orestes Silva, y atendi ese gran colegio hasta el final del sexto grado, ha sido un placer dejar este mensaje en tus comentarios,y espero oir de ti, de nuevo gracias por la oportunidad.

Message by orestes silva | Jun 1st 2011

Page 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Next >>

Leave a message for Osvaldo

Your message
Your name
Your e-mail