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:

Justo Alejandro Martinez Monzon

General Information
Current Name
Justo Alejandro Martinez Monzon
Current Location
United States of America
Name on Arrival
Justo Alejandro Martinez Monzon
Age on Arrival
Date of Arrival
Monday, July 31, 1961
Relocated To

Justo Alejandro's Story


-----JULY 9,1946 THRU JANUARY 1,1959------- "HAPPY CUBAN CHILD"

Hijo de un Oficial Militar de Carrera y una Madre que era una SANTA.


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Justo: Creo que tengo el lugar que pocos fuera de aqui deben de conocer ...el Lakeside Inn in Mount Dora. Nos podemos sentar en los sillones del amplio portal mientras vemos los fuegos artificiales over Lake Dora. How about that?

Message by Susy Rodriguez | Sep 15th 2009

Justo: Precisamente te iba a preguntar a ti o a los Colladas (que conocen a Raimundo y todo el mundo). Yo aqui no conocia a ningun PP pero ahora casi te conozco a ti. Manny Gutierrez vivio mucho tiempo en Cocoa pero de eso hace mucho. The word is MUM! Yo no le voy a decir a alguien la tremendisima fiesta que vamos a tener los PPs de aqui. Y como esta was la zona magica, tu sabes que hasta las graduaciones de high school se hacen con fuegos artificiales....que tu crees, en Lake Eola o el Magic Kingdom,,,,Epcot? Porque no alquilamos el Arena? Maybe over Lake Monroe? SHHHHHHHHHHHHH que nadie se entere. Susy

Message by Susy Rodriguez | Sep 15th 2009

JAM, esto es solo para ti y aquellos que dicen que son de "La Atenas de Cuba"----or que quieran saber. EL MATANCERO AUSENTE on MySpace Music - Free Streaming MP3s, Pictures & Music Downloads

Message by Marcia Caridad Ramos Gonzalez | Sep 14th 2009

Efectivamente...les heche su buena descarga pues desde que me conocen hemos hablado de Pedro Pan y ahora de este site y nunca me habian dicho todos los PPs que conocen aqui. Por poco les quito los aguacates! Well. we have a connection...I got several things going on in the next couple of weeks, 1 out of town, so as soon as the dust settles I'll let you know and see if Central Florida can have it's own reunion!

Message by Susy Rodriguez | Sep 13th 2009

JAM: Te dolian los oidos hoy? Resulta que pasaron unos buenos amigos a recojer unos aguacates importados de la 'capital' y en conversacion se me occurre preguntar si te conocian and they do. They also live off Markham Woods Road...Alex & Melli Collado.

Message by Susy Rodriguez | Sep 13th 2009

Hola, you liked my flanes...I put them there for one of our PP brothers in Miami who was trying to give me envy because he ate one last night in la Carreta. I see you are in Lake Mary...well, I guess we are neighbors practically because I live in Longwood near SR434 and Rangeline. I would like to meet the PPs in the Orlando area, however, the next 2 Saturdays I'm already tied up. So how about if we stay in touch and maybe sometime in October. I don't know any other Pedro Pans in this area. Thank you for posting to my profile and look forward to touching base again. Regards.

Message by Susy Rodriguez | Sep 13th 2009

Querido Justo! Mira que la vida da vueltas! Gracias por compartir esta historia tan bella de tu vida. Lei tu historia con mucha emocion. Tu vida es admirable y un gran ejemplo y motivo de orgullo para todos nosotros, los Cubanos de esa generacion. Para ti y toda tu familia mi carinho y mejores deseos.

Message by Juan Vigil | Aug 15th 2009

Justo, veo que llegaste a Estados Unidos en el dia se mi cumpleanos.Lo pasamos como siempre, muy bien.Un abrazo

Message by Marcia Caridad Ramos Gonzalez | Jul 22nd 2009

Justo Mi nombre es Roberto Menendez yo vine de Cuba el 22 de Diciembre de 1961, acabados de cumplir los 16. Vine con con mis padres con visas "waiver", y nos quedamos. Aparte de ser cubanos de casi la misma zona, yo era de la calle 92 entre avenidas 41 y 43 en el reparto Buen Retiro de Marianao, lo otro que tenemos en comun es que tenemos a Mitch Merin como amigo, y como sabras eso es de oro. Bueno hermano que la pase bien y cambiese a los Tigeres de Marianao. Mitch me dijo que a usted le gusta los Leones de la Habana, pero acuerdese que los Tigeres siempre fuimos.mejores Con respeto y sabor Roberto.

Message by Roberto Menendez | Jul 17th 2009

Justo, Hermosa historia de una vida rica en experiencias y fe! Sin duda trae consigo muchos gratos recuerdos; son los momentos de alegria, asi como los de tristeza los que nos unen. Nunca olvidare cuando llegaron a Orlando y el gozo de Tony al reunirse contigo nuevamente. Este peregrinar cuando se hace con el Senor y con amigos queridos como ustedes proporciona un sin fin de bendiciones en nuestras vidas. Feliz cumpleanos y un fuerte abrazo de nuestra familia para ti, Clemencia y el resto de ustedes.

Message by Miriam Moreno | Jul 14th 2009

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