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:

Valentin Gomez Nogueras


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We will miss you, my friend! Rest in Peace of our Lord!

Message by Susy Rodriguez | Jun 17th 2014

Valentin "GOGO" Gomez Nogueras'obituary: Valentin Gomez also known by his closest friends as “GoGo” passed away at age 66 on Friday, June 13, 2014 in Jacksonville, Florida. He was born in Guantanamo, Cuba to Teresa Nogueras and Angel Gomez on March 10, 1948. He came to the United States in 1962 under ‘Operation Pedro Pan’ and attended Bishop Carroll High School residing in the Mariana Boys Home in Wichita, Kansas. Upon graduation he served honorably in the U.S. Army. He then relocated to New Orleans and received a BS Degree in Accounting from the University of New Orleans. He is survived by his loving wife, Alicia Vazquez Gomez, his two children, Valentin P. and Sandra Gomez, two sisters, Yolanda G. Valledor (the late Ignacio) and Teresa G. Ochoa (Jorge), brothers Jorge Gomez (Alina) and the late Miguel Angel Gomez, grandchildren, Andres Gomez and Louis Ovalasiti and many loving nieces and nephews. Valentin recently retired from Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida and continued his employment at Citibank. His family is very grateful for the love and support they have received from his many friends and family. Services will be held on Wednesday June 18, 2014 at Lake Lawn Metairie Funeral Home, 5100 Pontchartrain Boulevard, New Orleans, Louisiana. A family viewing will commence at 8:30 AM followed by friends and loved ones at 9:00 AM. A Funeral Mass will be held in Valentin’s memory at 12:00 PM with interment immediately after. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in the memory of Valentin Gomez to the following address: Operation Pedro Pan Group Inc., 161 Madeira Avenue, Suite 61, Coral Gables, Florida 33134 or to the American Diabetes Association.

Message by Jose Antonio Amaro Reyes | Jun 17th 2014

Thank you, re: to the jungle, I can go eat here on any given day what you have to drive 6 hours for! ha ha ha! I had to get back to you! La pobre Alicia!

Message by Susy Rodriguez | Nov 29th 2012

Oye porque no pones una foto tuya? Tienes miedo de asustar la gente?

Message by Manolito Formoso | Jun 29th 2011

Actually, I didn't....even if I wanted to, I couldn't because this Jax pia called me 50,000 times to give me every bit of details...I felt like if I was there!!!! On a serious note, I'm so glad to hear that everything went super good....reunions and, when I warn you NOT to let people drive, maybe you'll pay attention next time...I told you that Caperucita is tremenda paraguera!!!!!

Message by Susy Rodriguez | Jun 27th 2011


Message by Susy Rodriguez | Jun 21st 2011

Aqui el unico con miedo eres tu que no fuistes capaz de ponerme el mensaje bajo tu nombre and you tried to disguise it! Even though I'm quite a bit younger and better looking if I may say so myself , I know better. :) Intimidation to get me to go, won't work. Who knows, I might reform the wild bunch! In the meantime, Little Red Riding Hood will be there and she's on her own!

Message by Susy Rodriguez | Jun 14th 2011

ATTENTION PEDRO PANS MARIANNA BOYS HOME, WICHITA, KANSAS! 50TH ANNIVERSARY REUNION WHEN? : Thursday, June 23 at 3:00pm - June 26 at 10:00am PEDRO PAN - MARIANA BOYS HOME 50 YEAR REUNION Thusday, June 23rd .....Mariana Home visit 3:00 to 6:00 Dinner at Tommy's Restaurant. Open bar, dance floor, Open dinner Menu. Friday, June 24th .....Civic Act of Appreciation to Wichita and others. Ceremony and lunch at Eberly Farm. 10:00 - 4:00. $50.00 per person. Pay Valentin Gomez ahead of time or make arrangements with him. Evening on your own. Spend time with old friends. Open Grouping. Saturday, June 25th......Visit and tour of Bishop Carroll at 9:00 AM. Starting at noon Linda and Julian Guerra will host with LECHON ASADO AND TRIMMINGS until you want to leave. Beer provided. Bring other drinks if you care to do so. Sunday, June 26th......Mass of Thanksgiving at St. Joseph's Church. Tour of the grounds after mass. Official end of the event. If you have any questions, please contact: San Martin 316-640-3421

Message by Susy Rodriguez | Apr 19th 2011

Good morning! Ya despachastes la suegra? Como te fue el viaje y que comistes por la capital?

Message by Susy Rodriguez | Apr 13th 2010

I guess the one frozen is the 'more' dude and the old, very old, retiree is the one that lives in that city with the name of a capital in Spain! It's a good thing you keep young and energetic! cough, cough...sorry I suddenly got a cough attack!

Message by Susy Rodriguez | Apr 7th 2010

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