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

Rafael Quintero Valdivia

General Information
Current Name
Rafael Quintero Valdivia
Current Location
United States of America
Name on Arrival
Rafael Quintero Valdivia
Age on Arrival
14
Date of Arrival
Friday, May 4, 1962
Relocated To
CWB Matecumbe

Rafael'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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Carmen, buenos dias, te saluda Billy Espinosa. Quisiera pedirte un favor, le escribi por este portal a tu primo Rafael Quintero Valdivia quien fue companero mio en el colegio La Salle pero no me contesta, tu crees que le podrias decir que le deje un mensaje en su PP page y que me gustaria hablar con el, yo estare participando en la reunion PP en Noviembre, estare en la mesa de New Orleans/Georgia de Emy Botet. Espero tener el gusto de conocerte a ti tambien en esa reunion, creo que conocemos a varios PP que son amigos de los dos. Cordial saludo de tu hermano Pedro Pan Billy Espinosa

Message by Billy Espinosa | Oct 31st 2011

Rafael, este es Billy Espinosa y fuimos companeros en el colegio La Salle aunque creo tu estabas en la clase de uno de mis hermanos. Quisiera comunicarme contigo directamente pero no tengo tu correo, si te es posible enviame un corto mensaje cuando puedas. Estare presente para la fiesta gala PP el 19 de Noviembre y me gustaria verte. Abrazos, Billy Espinosa

Message by Billy Espinosa | Oct 25th 2011

Rafael yo busco a un primo que vino por peter pan y no he savido de el nunca mas Angel Martinez(papo)su padre Angel Martinez murio en California su mama Ofelia el tenia una hermana menor su direccion en cuba Cubay Obrapia donde jugabamos de ninos si alguien sabe de el por favor comunicarme al email

Message by Maurilia Martinez Rego | Aug 31st 2011

Sr Rafael, por curiosidad estaba buscando algunos datos sobr la Familia Rionda de Sancti_Spiritus y encontre su nombre relacionado con ellos. Mi nombre es Isaida Hernandez y mis padres fueron muy amigos de Manolo y Consuelo Rionda (Mancine) y queria saber si usted sabie algo de ellos, u saludo a usted. Isaida

Message by Isaida Hernandez | Aug 6th 2010

Hola a todos estos Valdivias. Soy antonio Valdivia y os invito a visitar la web de los valdivia. www.losvaldivia.es

Message by Antonio Valdivia | Jul 14th 2010

Hola primo, todo muy bien gracias a Dios. Fijate en la foto que puse mia con Eric, cuando bebe; no se si recuerdas que nos la tomaste tu. Vi un mensaje de fotos de Tuinucu, tu tienes fotos de Trinidad/Sancti Spiritus?

Message by Carmen Valdivia | May 22nd 2010

Rafael; te queria pedir permiso para finalmente tener una foto del central o destileria de central tuinucu. este interes es porque hace unos anos hice una guaracha dedicada al aguardiente tuinucu; canciones por las cuales fui encarcelado por el exoterico comandante Fidel castro. le saludo y le deseo lo mejor en espera de tener una de esas fotos para hecer mi filme en you tube.

Message by lazaro cardoso | May 16th 2010

Rafael, Yo estuve en Matcumbe desde Abril '62 hasta Septiembre. Estaba en la carpa de Sergio. No se con que instructor tu estabas, pero parte de tu estancia en Matecumbe coincidio con la mia. Yo tenia un hermano menor, roberto que estaba tambien en matecumbe conmigo

Message by Lorenzo P Martinez Pestana | May 3rd 2010

Rafael, saludos, me alegros estés bien. Manolo Jiménez

Message by Manuel E Jimenez Rodriguez | Dec 30th 2009

RAFAEL: FELICIDADES POR TU SANTO HOY 24 DE OCTUBRE. QUE TENGAS SALUD, PAZ Y ALEGRíA. UN ABRAZO, Yolanda

Message by Yolanda Cardenas Ganong | Oct 24th 2009

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