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 ...

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Ozzie, que cute el brazalete de azabache. Y parece que funcionó!

Message by Eloísa Echazábal | Feb 13th 2011

Osvaldo This is Sergio Diaz. By chance I discovered this blog and your entry from 2009. I am retired from LAPD now, but I'm the Chief of Police of Riverside, California. You can reach me at I look forward to hearing from you. Sergio

Message by Sergio Diaz | Jan 20th 2011

Osvaldo, it was only by chance (or not, since God works in wondrous ways) I searched the web and found the Peter Pan site, and with it, your message which by now is over a year old. At some point soon I hope to post my own profile and experience. My post-Helena destination was the small town of Bigfork, Montana, by the shores of Flathead Lake - a stone's throw away from Whitefish really. Your 'story' brought back long lost memories, both happy and sad. I am touched and glad after these many years. All the best. Joaquin Antonio Rambla Garcia (a.k.a. Tony)

Message by Tony Rambla | Dec 29th 2010

Hi! I was in the orphanage from October 1961 till the beginning of September 1962. I wonder if you remember the nicknames we had for the nuns. One of my sisters still corresponds with one of them. I also remember attending St Mary's School. Currently I live in Granada ,Spain but visit Miami at least once a year to Spend Christmas with my brother ans sisters, two of my sisters where in Montana with me.

Message by Julio Gonzalez Collar | Dec 21st 2010

Hi Ozzie, I haven't been on the PP Network for a very long time. I like the new photos you have uploaded. I tried to upload new photos, but the photos would not upload. Take care mi hermano, Cariños

Message by Vivian A McCombie y Salort | Sep 22nd 2010

Ozzie, Ojala que puedas venir en Nov, como te dijo Melvin, queremos reunir a Sergio, la unica persona que siempre me llamaba por mis dos apellidos, y aquel grupo de su cabana. Yo dormia en el primer "bunk bed" facing la entrada de la piscina. Oscar Torres, fue al que embarque y tomo mi puesto para Montana. Por separado te mando el nombre de alguien que conoci hace poco(cubano pero no es PP) que vive en Winston y trabaja aqui en Orlando. Mi estancia fue desde la apertura hasta Nov 6, que me dijeron de esta no te escapas, y asi es como termine en Wash., D.C. Cuidate, JAM

Message by Justo Alejandro Martinez Monzon | Sep 21st 2010

Osvaldo, da la casualidad que estoy hablando de este tema en mi blog Mi nombre en Cuba era Yolanda Lopez Miranda. Visita el blog por favor y muchísimas gracias por compartir tu historia!

Message by Adrianne Miller | Sep 21st 2010

Ozzie, I just read your story, GOOD Night to you too. Que Dios bendiga a tu familia....MELVIN

Message by Melvin F Noriega Plasencia | Sep 20th 2010

Ozzie,vi que le escribistes a una muy querida hermanita nuestra.Mercy es para todos nosotros muy especial, los que compartimos con ella en Florida City tenemos muy buenos recuerdos de cuando estabamos mas juntos.Oye, mira a ver si puedes venir al 50 aniversario JAM y yo hemos hablado de reunirnos de nuevo todos los que estabamos en la cabaña de Sergio ese fin de semana.Tambien con mi hermano Pepe podemos recordar a Santiago de Las Vegas, Rancho Bolleros y Calabazar.Te sigue queriendo, tu hermano...MELVIN

Message by Melvin F Noriega Plasencia | Sep 20th 2010

Hola Ozzie, que tal andas? Yo bien gracias a Dios, tienes toda la razón desaparezco pero por falta de tiempo. tengo mucha gente que me escribe y es dificil mantenerme en contacto con todos... no tengo mucho tiempo con el trabajo, y la vida persona de uno, ya sabes, me faltan horas..... Y además con mantenerme en contacto con Stgo de las Vegas en línea. Ahora sigo planificando mi viajecito a Miami para ver a mi madre, y comprarme mas tamales y chicharritas... que es como se decía en Santiago, lo recuerdas???? Y tu que tal andas? Sigues leyendo sobre Santiago? El otro día en el artículo del Chacolo hablarón de mi padre... la verdad me gusto mucho..... un abrazo, Mari

Message by Maria E Pazos Alvarez | Jul 20th 2010

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