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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Pues mira Luisito es la Elsa de casa de las monjas. Como estan? y Gladys y los muchachos?

Message by ELSA BULNES LOPEZ | Aug 24th 2009

Luisito, que desastre soy no tengo idea como rayo poner mi historia help me

Message by Margarita M senra | Jul 31st 2009

Gracias Luis, estare al tanto para asistir este a~no

Message by Hiram Perez Blanco | Jul 29th 2009

Luis, cuando es la reunion en nov? Se me habia olvidado preguntarte. HP

Message by Hiram Perez Blanco | Jul 28th 2009

Luis es cierto, "el camello" era mas feo. No se comolo confundi. Nos vemos en unas dos semanas. HP

Message by Hiram Perez Blanco | Jul 27th 2009

Dorticos me imginaba que irias al cumpleanos de Hiramcito (???) que bueno y como todo un caballero ven tu a m mesa a saludarme aunque yo soy una pepilla muy moderna y no me importa ir a la tuya pero ahora estoy como a la antigua me gusta que el hombre venga a mi..jajaja que descarada..pero bueno cada loco con su locura y yo mas te veo el 8/8/09 y despues en Juanita's en los CCC que me encantan..besitos

Message by Ileana Arriola (Minico) | Jul 27th 2009

Dorticos vaya ya te estoy dejando mensajitos..para informacion de los que quieren ir a la reunion de los pedro pan CCC es en noviembre 5-7 (creo) Juanita Diaz ya envio la invitacion.. espero conocerte si vas yo estoy segura que ire si Dios quiere...especialemente la del viernes...con mucho carino

Message by Ileana Arriola (Minico) | Jul 25th 2009

dorticos... sabes cuando es la reunion en nov? quisiera ir,pero lo tengo que planear... gracias hermano

Message by Ramon I Reina Bordallo | Jul 19th 2009

DORTICOS!!! Por supuesto que recuerdo aberte visto hace anos atras. No tienes que buscarme en la guia. Mi telefono en la oficina es 305 446 7472, en la casa 305 6677415 y el celular 305 7854752

Message by Leonardo V Lopez Barredo | Jul 12th 2009

dorticos.. puse una foto aqui hoy mirala a ver si conoces quien soy. yo habia puesto nombres atras de la foto, pero de verdad que no me recuerdo nada mas que de dos o tres... dicelo a hiran tambien

Message by Ramon I Reina Bordallo | Jul 5th 2009

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