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

Eloísa Echazábal Pi

General Information
Current Name
Eloísa Echazábal
Current Location
United States of America
Name on Arrival
Eloísa Echazábal Pi
Age on Arrival
13
Date of Arrival
Wednesday, September 6, 1961
Relocated To
Kendall Camp and Buffalo, NY
Groups
Haiti Pedro Pan
Eloísa has volunteered to help the children of Haiti. Find out how you can help, too.

Eloísa's Story

My story is unique, as is each one of the over 14,000 Pedro Pan stories. Some are happier; some are sadder. I believe the decision to send my sister and me alone to the United States was made by my pa...

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Eloísa's News Feed

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Eloísa has uploaded new photos.

Status update | Mar 8th 2010

And what are you doing awake on a day you are off?

Message by Susy Rodriguez | Mar 8th 2010

Hola Eloisa, no si ni como logré llegar a esta pagina y te vi. yo soy Teresita Martinez, y tengo una hermana jimagua, me acuerdo de ti del Colegio Verbo Encarnado en Cuba, tan pronto vi el retrato me vinieron muchos recuerdos. No se si te acuerdes de mi hermana y de mi.

Message by teresita martinez | Mar 4th 2010

Thank you for the welcome. One thing is for sure by the time those nuns got through with you you can recite all the states capitals in your sleep!

Message by Jose Arango Buzainz | Feb 18th 2010

Eloísa says: Barry Archives-In Oct. Catholic Charities blocked everone's access to these archives & plan to move them somewhere else.Thus my project there stopped

Status update | Feb 15th 2010

Ok,. Ok...enough advertising the PPN. I know better than anyone the benefits of this network...and it keeps growing every day. Un abrazo

Message by Susy Rodriguez | Feb 8th 2010

Elo: Yo no sabia que tu conocias a Matilde! It's a small world. She and I were in the same orphanage in Indiana,

Message by Susy Rodriguez | Feb 8th 2010

Hola, Eloísa! Ayer me puse a mirar unas fotos de la reunión del pasado noviembre, alegrándome otra vez al recordar los buenos ratos que pasamos. Oye, la gente del documental no me llamaron. Ya ví que estuvieron por Miami en las actividades PP. Como ves, no he podido volver. Ahora estoy debatiendo si coger la carretera para ir a ver a Fernando Rubio. Me gustaría mucho verlo y felicitarlo en persona por la publicación de su libro. Pero tengo que pensarlo bien porque mis huesos ahora me hacen pagar caro cuando los traqueteo demasiado. De todos modos siempre estoy conectada en espíritu con mis queridos hermanos Pedro Pan. --Me da gusto ver como sigues con tu magnífica labor. Más de nosotros siguen entrando en este website, encontrando viejos amigos y nuestras historias siguen dando testimonio de nuestra extraordinaria experiencia. Un abrazo, Yoli

Message by Yolanda Cardenas Ganong | Feb 7th 2010

HI, ELOISA..... FINALLY, I AM ON THE PEDRO PAN LIST.... I JUST WANT YOU TO KNOW THAT I SPOKE WITH MY CO-WORKER ANA MARIA BUENO.... SHE SAID IT'S FINE IF YOU WANT TO CONTACT HER DAD REGARDING THE CATHOLIC SCHOOLS AND THE VERY FIRST PEDRO PAN KIDS ARRIVING IN MIAMI WHO WERE STUDENTS WITH THE JESUITS OF CUBA. PLEASE GET IN TOUCH WITH HER FIRST AND TELL HER THAT ARE IN THE PROCESS OF MAKING INTERVIEWS "FOR POSTERITY" OF THOSE KEY PERSONS WHO HAVE SO MUCH OF THE PERSONAL AND COLLECTIVE HISTORY OF PEDRO PAN.... HER DAD IS A GREAT GUY AND NOW LIVES IN FLORIDA.... I'M SURE YOU COULD GO MEET HIM SOMETIME... PERHAPS YOU AND CARMENCITA AND LUISA FROM THE MIAMI HERALD MIGHT FIND HIS NARRATIVE AND TESTIMONY AS A REAL TREASURE..... PLEASE CONTACT ANA MARIA AT AMNUEVO@AOL.COM CIAO FOR NOW..... SURVIVING THIS SNOW STORM WITH NETFLIX, THE KITTIES AND LOTS OF "IRISH COFFEE".... QUE SIGA LA NIEVE....! CARINOS, JAY

Message by JESUS CASTAÑO | Feb 6th 2010

Well, now that you know the 'before' and 'after' te das cuenta que no te perdistes nada!!! Pero no se lo digas a el..yo te lo menciono aqui porque todos los mensajes son privadisisimos!!!!

Message by Susy Rodriguez | Feb 3rd 2010

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