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:

Rodolfo A. Pineda Herrera

General Information
Current Name
Rodolfo A. Pineda Herrera
Current Location
United States of America
Name on Arrival
Rodolfo A. Pineda Herrera
Age on Arrival
Date of Arrival
Saturday, November 11, 1961
Relocated To
Camp Matecumbe
Stayed With
Cabana Sergio

Rodolfo A.'s Story

I came to U.S.A.November 11,1961,with the box

of Cuban cigars ,which I gave to George when

he meet all the kids at the airport.

From there we went to Kendall and had dinner,and later on they took ...

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Rodolfo A.'s News Feed

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Rodolfo: Does your son live in Houston and works for Mustang Eng? If so, I know him. Small World! I got some friends that went to St. Edward University from Matecumbe

Message by Marcia Caridad Ramos Gonzalez | Jul 26th 2009

Hola Rodolfo. Soy Nelson y me alegro que ya estes en comunicacion con el resto de nosotros. Llamame para ver si nos vemos. Ya Freddy, Jesus, Tommy y yo nos hemos reunido. Mi cellular es (305)7856619. Espero nos podamos ver pronto. Nelson Egurrola

Message by Nelson Egurrola Grillo | Jun 30th 2009

Hola Rodolfo (Piramide), Soy Freddy el com quien pasates unos meses en St. Edwards H. S. Austin, Tx. Yo vivo en Hallandale mi telefono es 954-456-1194 y el trabajo 305-681-9652. Lamame o dejame saber tu email. Mi email es

Message by Alfredo N (Freddy) Martinez Vilato | May 30th 2009

Rodolfo:Al fin nos conectamos. Todo el grupo te ha buscado, pero bueno ya conectamos. mi correo electronico: Dejame saber como y por donde andas Nelson, Tommy y yo y nuestras esposas nos reunimos el viernes pasado en un restaurant y la pasamos de lo mejor y despues nos fuimos para casa de Nelson y estubimos hasta un poco mas de la media noche hablando. Vivimos cerca uno del otro. Conectate con nosotros. Great to hear from you again. Lucho,

Message by Jesus Fernandez Tabrauer | May 27th 2009

Rodolfo, al fin! Ya estabamos un poco preocupado por no saber de tí. Hace dos horas hablé con Freddy y dijimos como nada más faltaba a encontrar a Eddy y a tí. Mi e-mail es

Message by Nestor A Martinez Vilato | May 27th 2009

Parece mentira que once de nosotros aun estamos pateando. Si Dios quiere daremos con Eddy pronto.

Message by Rafael J Gramatges Figueras | May 27th 2009

No sabes como me alegre ver tu mensage. Wow!!!! OK, me imagino que ya tienes mi email, pero por si acaso, es: Ahora el unico que falta es Eddy.

Message by Raul Iglesias | May 27th 2009

Hola Rodolfo, por fin apareces. Ahora solo falta Eddy. Saludos, Tommy

Message by Tomas H. Ballesteros | May 26th 2009

Rodolfo soy Pedro (Caraballo) estuvimos juntos en Austin en el 62 Todos te buscamos Pedro

Message by pedro gutierrez | May 19th 2009

Pineda, te dejo un mensaje para añadirte a mis conecciones. Rafael

Message by Rafael J Gramatges Figueras | May 18th 2009

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