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:

Jose C Fernandez Barbas

General Information
Current Name
Jose C Fernandez Barbas
Current Location
United States of America
Name on Arrival
Jose C Fernandez Barbas
Age on Arrival
Date of Arrival
Friday, January 12, 1962
Relocated To
Saginaw Michigan
Stayed With
St Vincent Home

Jose C's Story

This person has not yet filled out their story about their flight as a part of Operation Pedro Pan.

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Trying to get us together at my house week of March 14-19. Mario is coming down from Washington.

Message by Angel Braulio Canete | Feb 28th 2012

Just got in touch with Jose Cabarrocas. Mario, Jose, Raul and myself are in touch via Facebook, Are you in FB?

Message by Angel Braulio Canete | Oct 14th 2010

Raul called me this afternoon. He's ok. Let me know if has contacted you.

Message by Angel Braulio Canete | Oct 14th 2010

Jose - I'm concerned that we have not heard from Raul. Let's keep trying. If you do drive down, please let me know so that we can coordinate. I'm glad Mario will be joining us on Nov 11th.

Message by Angel Braulio Canete | Oct 6th 2010

Jose, Mario is coming to the reunion. Have you heard from Raul?

Message by Angel Braulio Canete | Oct 5th 2010

I can't believe that I am writing a note to El Gallego. I am so looking forward to going to Miami in November and catching up with all of you. It has been the wildest ride of my life and if I had to do it all over again, I surely would. My email s

Message by Mario S Garriga Cazimajou | Sep 13th 2010

Holy Shit ! How are you? Great to hear from you. Angel told me you where living in the Tampa area and that you had a very successful CPA firm. I understand that he is trying to get a bunch of us together for this coming November. I got your phone number from your site I'll give you a call in the next day or so. Great to hear from you!

Message by Raul C Ruiz Cepero | Sep 7th 2010

Jose, Welcome to the Pedro Pan Network.

Message by Pedro Pan Administrator | Sep 6th 2010

Jose C has uploaded new photos.

Status update | Sep 6th 2010

Jose C has updated their profile.

Status update | Sep 6th 2010

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