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

Marta Amalia Villa Alacan

General Information
Current Name
Marta Amalia Villa Alacan
Current Location
United States of America
Name on Arrival
Marta Amalia Villa Alacan
Age on Arrival
15
Date of Arrival
Thursday, September 14, 1961
Relocated To
Kendall

Marta Amalia's Story

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

Marta Amalia's News Feed

Leave a public message for Marta Amalia.

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hello Marta Amalia, te contare que las ninas de la casa cesari y muchachos nos reunimos este pasado Sabado a desayunar con respectivos media naranjas. Fue muy agradable re-encuentro y recordar, con un futuro repetido. El Sabado hay un desayuno en el que se unen todos los grupos de Pedro Pan, si Dios quiere mi esposo y yo asistiremos. Dime de tu hermanita y como estas? Carinos. Nina

Message by Nina Rodriguez Vilaomat | Jun 15th 2010

Marta Amalia, que gusto recibir tu notica en mi cumpleanos, Caruan y su sobrino Melvin. Me emocionaron mucho. esto de escribir es un vicio...aqui esta mi familia que vinieron a estar conmigo por la fecha y yo aqui contestando...pero esto es muy refrescante recordar tiempos de aquella epoca. te dejo por ahora. Tengo un bonito espacio de Ustedes en mi corazon, muchos carinos,

Message by Nina Rodriguez Vilaomat | May 30th 2010

Que gusto encontrar nombres de mi ninez, pero te recuerdo muy bien a ti, pues estas en la primara posicion de la foto con chinitas. Este fin de semana voy a llevarlas para ponerlas en CD y ya la veran. Saludos y carinos. Nina

Message by Nina Rodriguez Vilaomat | May 25th 2010

Marta Amalia, veo tu foto y asi mismo te recuerdo de cuando estuvimos en Florida City. Hace dias no se de ti, que bueno que conoces a Eloisita, yo era companera de ella de las clases de piano. Cuando pueda visitar Miami nos reuniremos. Carinos, Noelia

Message by Noelia M Monne y Martinez | Nov 25th 2009

Marta espero no se pongan brava conmigo pero es que nunca me siento en la computador a y Melvin siempre me esta reganando, cuanto daria por poder verlos a todos seria bueno pra principios de ano hacer una reunion besos Caruca

Message by Caridad Cesari Quevedo | Oct 31st 2009

Hola Marta Amalia: Un saludo carinoso de una de tus companeras del Colegio Cima. Nos reunimos en casa el mes pasado Cecilia Fiterre, Patricia Medrano, Roxana Saa, Myrna Bloch y Hortensia Corton. Estamos tratando de ampliar nuestra lista. Nos vamos a reunir de nuevo en diciembre en casa de Patricia. Un beso, Gelsys

Message by Gelsys Obregon Cardenes | Sep 19th 2009

Marta Amalia perdoname la tardanza en contestarte. Pues bueno te dire que estoy casada y tengo dos hijas Marlene de 42 e Yvonne de 40. Pero nietos ninguno. Yo me retire early cuando cumpli los 64 en Abril, asi que ahora tengo mas tiempo de disfrutar la vida. Ah! mis dos hijas estan casadas. Cuentame de ti. Te recuerda siempre. Elsa

Message by Marcia Caridad Ramos Gonzalez | Sep 11th 2009

HOLA MARTA AMALIA TE ACUERDAS DE MI EN FLORIDA CITY QUE ESTABA CON LOS CESARI LLEGUE ALLI EL 2 DE DICIEMBRE DE 1961

Message by Elsa Bulnes-Garcia | Aug 23rd 2009

Marta que alegria saber de todas ustedes, la verdad que los tiempos aquellos nadie los puede olvidar,, mira te acuerdas de las galletas de azucar....cuentame por donde andas viviendo...yo vivo en Tampa, bueno otro dia te escribo besos Caruca

Message by Caridad Cesari Quevedo | Aug 15th 2009

Marta Amalia Villa! Llevo anos buscandote y aunque he vivido en Miami un par de veces no daba contigo. Soy Luisa Ma. Valcarcel y nunca olvidare la representacion tuya haciendo de "Alvin, the chip munk"(?)Desde que nos vimos en aquella tienda have tantos anos en Miami, he querido saber de ti. Cuando ordeno flores de Trias, siempre me recuerdo de ti-familiares creo. Estoy en el centro de la Florida y quisiera saber de ti.

Message by Luisa M Valcarcel Suero | Aug 7th 2009

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