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

Fernando P Hernandez Lorenzo

Fernando P's Story

Hermanos,

En los ultimos dos años (2011-2013) he escrito dos libros sobre la inmigracion cubana a Estados Unidos; el primer libro fue The Cubans Our Legacy in the United States y en Julio 2013 se ...

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Estimado Sr.Medirijo a Vd. desde España.Trato de buscar a JOSE L.SANCHEZ CAMPINS.Com se que esta muy documentado sobre la emigración de niños en la operación PETER PAN, si fuera tan amablese lo agradecería.Com vera soy pariente de este Sr. y no sabemos nada de el.Estudio en el colegio Holguin 1956 y llego a Florida en 1961 creo.Mandeme por favor lo que sepa de el.Mi nombre Jose Mª Redondo sanches .campins.Medico.c/Manuel Benítez nº 2. 14005 Cordoba.ESPAÑA. Saludos

Message by jose redondo | Oct 16th 2013

Estimado Fernan: I'm taking the liberty of reproducing here a very moving excerpt from your book The Cubans Our Footprints Across America. I am sure that most of our Pedro Pan brothers and sisters will delight reading it. I hope you don't mind. Keep up the GOOD WORK and may God bless you and your loved ones. BOOK EXCERPT: “July 8th, 1962 was the day I left Cuba, my parents, other family members, friends, and all the memories that a nine year old boy had experienced. On that fateful day my life was changed, transformed, I was never to be the same again. It was to be also one of the saddest days of my young life as I waved goodbye to my mami. My brother and I were among 14,068 young children who left Cuba via Operation Pedro Pan, a clandestine operation from 1960-1962 that brought youngsters from 5 to 17 years of age to the United States by themselves. I am sure the communist authorities knew perfectly well that thousands of Cuba’s youngest citizens were leaving, but I believe they did nothing to abort the operation. Family separation was one of the many tactics the regime enacted, and having heart-broken parents in the island assured them of fewer political troublemakers and contrarevolucionarios. When we left from our hometown of Banes, in the Oriente province (now called Holguin), only mami accompanied us to La Habana. You may wonder, where was your father? He was too despondent, emotionally wrecked to muster the courage to bid us goodbye. He never came to see us, as my brother, mother and I got on a bus for a long ride to the capital. Papi stayed behind, comforted by our abuela and other family members. Sometimes we don’t fully grasp or comprehend the suffering that so many of our parents endured when we left our homeland. The other day a man who knew my dad told me he never met a man who shed so many tears for his children as my papi had. Our separation was close to four years, did he have any tears left? Mami showed me what unconditional love is as we spent a few days in La Habana, a city we had never visited. She took us to the zoo and went sightseeing while we waited for the departure day. She never cried or displayed any emotional weakness during the ordeal, I can still see her permanent smile and her encouraging words to my brother 11, and I. All that she knew was that we were going to a boys’ camp in Miami and then we would be relocated to either a foster home or an orphanage somewhere in the United States. My parent’s main concern was that we would live in a democratic society and that they would join us in the near future. Her anxiety, anguish, and motherly instinct of being close to us did not cloud her judgment and she proceeded to send us to the promise land. Her pain was secondary; she knew this difficult decision had to be made for our benefit. The day finally arrived. We were placed in the pecera, a large room in the airport enclosed with glass that resembled a fish bowl. We were the fish and those on the outside looked at us as if we were in an aquarium. Mami reminded us to behave well and to take care of one another. But I do not recall mami kissing or hugging us one last time. She walked out of the pecera firm, stoic, and walked to the upper level to see the plane depart. My brother and I, along with the rest of the people waiting, were notified to board the flight. As I took a seat in what was my first flight, I glimpsed out the window and saw my mami frantically waving a white handkerchief toward the plane. Then I saw her embrace another woman (perhaps another Pedro Pan mom?) and began to see her collapse in a torrent of tears. Even after 51 long years, I have to dry my eyes as I write this. I cannot forget, and I don’t ever want to forget, that moment when a mother’s heart could not be contained. Mami waited to the very last, possible second to unleash what her heart felt, she could no longer conceal her parental anguish. She thought I could not see her from the plane but my eyes were fixed on my precious mom who gave everything she had for my brother and I. As I watched helplessly, the mother I loved was baring her soul and spirit in a continuous cry. What a great blessing to have Maria Elisa Lorenzo Gonzalez as my mami! Thanks to mami and papi I had an opportunity to live as a free man. May my parents reside in a special place in heaven, a palace reserved for all the loving and courageous Cuban parents who sacrificed all so that we could live in an open, free, and democratic society.” by: Fernando “Fernan” Hernandez Author: The Cubans Our Footprints Across America (July 2013) Amazon.com.

Message by Jose Antonio Amaro Reyes | Oct 14th 2013

Fernan, llámame si deseas que te ayude a montar más fotos. Me alegro te gustó mi historia.

Message by Eloísa Echazábal | Oct 14th 2013

Fernando, I love your photos and story. I enjoyed attending the launching of your latest book. And now the Miami Book Fair, I hope!!!

Message by Eloísa Echazábal | Oct 13th 2013

Fernando P has updated their profile.

Status update | Oct 13th 2013

Fernando P says: Hermanos/as: Por este medio les anuncio que mi libro The Cubans Our Footprints Across America esta disponible en Amazon.com. Dedico un capitulo a exit

Status update | Oct 13th 2013

Fernando P has uploaded new photos.

Status update | Oct 13th 2013

Fernando P says: Mil gracias Jose Antonio por tus palabras sobre el premio que recibo hoy en Houston sobre mi libro The Cubans Our Footprints Across America.

Status update | Oct 6th 2013

¡Felicidades, Fernan! Ferna was just chosen National Award Recipient of the XI Hispanic Book Festival that will take place today, October 6, 2013, in Houston, Texas. Fernan is one more Pedro Pan who makes us proud with his accomplishments and contributions. He is testimony of our resiliency and the opportunities this great land has afforded us since our arrival. There's no better way to discredit the detractors of Operation Pedro Pan than with our accomplishments. Thank you, Fernan!

Message by Jose Antonio Amaro Reyes | Oct 6th 2013

Fernando os pido disculpa, po el mensage anterior iba dirigido a MaJosefa Enriquez Yebra, bye now un abrazo "El Frances"

Message by Eddie Enrique Fernandez Tramezaygues | Dec 30th 2009

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