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

Jose L Oroza Ruilopez

General Information
Current Name
Joseph L Oroza Ruilopez
Current Location
United States of America
Name on Arrival
Jose L Oroza Ruilopez
Age on Arrival
9
Date of Arrival
Saturday, March 24, 1962
Relocated To
CWB Florida City

Jose L's Story

My story is not much different than most of the other stories of children that left Cuba under the same circumstances as I did. It still upsets me after these many years to remember and tell my story....

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Status update | Nov 28th 2013

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Status update | Apr 5th 2013

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Status update | Apr 5th 2013

parte 3. Siempre te recuerdo con mucho carino al igual que a tus queridos padres Dona Rosalina y Don Jose Luis. Quizas puedas dejarme saber algo mas de ti dejando un mensaje tuyo en este tu mismo update page y yo lo leo. Fue de pura casualidad que te encontre aqui. Estaba pensando en ti y entre tu nombre completo en Google Search. Me lleve la tremenda sorpresa que apareciste en este site. Ahi lei tu historia (que ya conocia) y corrobore que eras tu! Hay que buscar la manera de comunicarnos otra vez. Yo voy a estar en el sur de California visitando unos amigos desde el 14 de agosto hasta el 23 de agosto. Estare en Laguna Beach.

Message by carmelo | Jul 24th 2011

parte 2. Pero creo que a traves de este site solamente recibes el mensaje y no hay forma de que sepas mi e-mail address. Sigo viviendo en Puerto Rico, mis padres fallecieron ya ambos. Soy paciente de cancer en remision..... Todo el que te conocia cuando comenzamos en American me han preguntado por ti, y nunca le pude dar noticias tuyas. Tampoco estoy en Facebook ni ninguna otra comunidad cibernetica. Si no se nada mas de ti, que Dios te bendiga y sigas tan bien!

Message by carmelo | Jul 23rd 2011

Dios mio! por fin te encuentro y se de tu vida.... nos perdimos en el tiempo y el espacio y jamas supimos el uno del otro. Me retire de American Airlines en 2004. Ojala me envies un e-mail a mi direccion para completar el encuentro! Siempre quise saber de ti.....

Message by carmelo | Jul 23rd 2011

Jose L has uploaded new photos.

Status update | Jun 7th 2011

Hola Jose te acuerdas de nosotros? Las gemelas de la clase del 70? Quien me diria que ademas de ir al colegio juntos tambien eramos Pedro Pan. Jamas lo supe hasta que Rita me lo conto, tambien eran Mari Tere Reyes y Matilde Aguirre, las recuerdas? Bueno conectate, vivo en Miami y me encantaria verte, sin no por aqui, por Facebook, acabo de regresar de la reunion de la clase, que pena que no fuistes, la pasamos muy bien. Yo soy relativamente nueva con Pedro Pan, pues ni sabia que cualificaba como tal, pues nunca fuimos a los campamentos y nos mandaron a Puerto Rico directo con familia. Rita tambien fue la que me informo y por ella me reconecte con ellos. Vas a alguno de los desayunos o actividades? Me gustaria compartir, pero en realidad no conosco a nadie de los de aqui, pues como sabes nos criamos en PR. Buenos, carinos y nos vemos pronto, pasala bien! Miriam

Message by Miriam Castro Fernandez | Aug 10th 2010

Mrs. Rivas taught at Sagrado Corazon for probably 30 years beginning about 1966...she was passionate about teaching and I still bump into students that remember her fondly. Unfortunately, although in good health, her memory was lost several years ago.

Message by Susy Rodriguez | May 6th 2010

Hi, Jose: The Academia Sagrado Corazon in PR, is it the one in Santurce? If so, do you recall a Mrs. Rosa Rivas?

Message by Susy Rodriguez | May 6th 2010

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