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:

Luis R Gonzalez Rivero

General Information
Current Name
Luis R Gonzalez (Dorticos)
Current Location
United States of America
Name on Arrival
Luis R Gonzalez Rivero
Age on Arrival
Date of Arrival
Saturday, March 17, 1962
Relocated To
CWB Matecumbe
Haiti Pedro Pan
Luis R has volunteered to help the children of Haiti. Find out how you can help, too.

Luis R's Story

Leaving Cuba and the flight over feels to me like a movie. However I do remember meeting George and asking him for Chiclets. He then took the morning flight group to a house in SW and after the aftern...

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Luis R has updated their profile.

Status update | May 2nd 2011

Averiguaré lo de Chicharito con el que me lo dijo. Gracias. Manny

Message by Manuel Gutierrez Fernandez de Castro | Nov 19th 2010

hola Luis, no se si te acuerdas de mi, oero creo que estabamos junto en la carpa de Alberto, cuando yo llegue me dieron el apodo eisenghower porque tenia una pijama con muchas medallas en el bolsillo de la camisa.Me alegro estes bien y feliz Raul Alvaro Reyes. yo me fui para helena montana en Noviembre 1962

Message by Raul F de J Alvaro Reyes | Sep 4th 2010

Hola Luis, Feliz dia de los Padres - Reina queria que te enviara lo siguiente. La reunion de los cubanos en nebraska es el 17 de Julio en Gables Banquet hall. creoo... no estoy seguro que es en Coconut Grove..o Creek. si quiera come le puedes enviar 40 a santos gomez 3202 Portofino #C-1 Coconut Creek FL 33066... desde luego que puedes ir y no comer... un abrazo reina

Message by Hiram | Jun 20th 2010

Luis R has signed up to volunteer for the Haiti Pedro Pan group.

Status update | Jan 20th 2010

Luis , te doy las gracias nuevamente por las bellas fotos que tomastes en nuestra reunion de fin de semana,gracias a ti pudimos hacer una sencilla tarjeta de Navidad para todos Cariñosamente,tu hermana Juanita.

Message by Juanita Garcia | Dec 12th 2009

Hola Luis ,me dio mucho gusto conocerte en persona ya que te conocia por tu otro nombre "Dorticos",gracias por invitarme a tu mesa el sabado y compartir el vino, espero sigamos en contacto,si quieres y no es mucha molestia las fotos las puedes enviar a mi email, o ponerlas en un disco,no se como te sea mas facil. Un abrazo. Juanita.

Message by Juanita Garcia | Nov 9th 2009

Te quiero dar las gracias por habernos visto en casa de Juanita en la reunion de los Pero Pan CCC. Fue fenomenal ver tantos Pedro Pan de nuevo. De verdad que estas reuniones de los CCC son anuales pero son especiales. Y mas me diverti cuando fuimos las muchachitas a tomarnos las fotos y cantamos las canciones de Florida City, pero mas fue cuando fueron los muchachitos a tratar de cantar, vaya eso si fue fenomenal.. let's keep it up y seguir asistiendo y viendonos en cuanto podamos.. Recordando siempre a Florida City y esos tiempo de dolor, tristeza y a la misma vez una nueva vida llena de travesuras de ninos sanos de Cuba !!

Message by Ileana Arriola (Minico) | Nov 7th 2009

Les quiero saludar a cada uno de uds desde aca Las Vegas. Gracias a Dios llegue ayer y aun no he salido; saben que se toma un dia adaptarse a un nuevo horario, pero no obstante ya manana si Dios quiere empezaremos a salir...los quiero e inviten mas Pedro Paneros a entrar a grupo..Bendiciones.. ileana/Minico

Message by Ileana Arriola (Minico) | Sep 1st 2009

Hola, Luis. Mira en las fotos que acabo de poner en mi profile hay una donde aparece Gladys. Ella era el centro de la atención. Creo que acababa de recibir alguna noticia. Pregúntale a ver si se acuerda de la ocasión. ¿Cuándo me va a saludar mi antigua amiga? Dile que ya supe de Adele y de Ana Rafaela. Me falta saludar a Gladys y localizar a Niurka Ruiz. Estoy pensando ir a la reunión de los ccc en noviembre. ¿Quizas ahi pueda verlos? Yolanda

Message by Yolanda Cardenas Ganong | Aug 24th 2009

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