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

Yolanda Cárdenas Díaz

General Information
Current Name
Yolanda Cardenas Ganong
Current Location
United States of America
Name on Arrival
Yolanda Cárdenas Díaz
Age on Arrival
17
Date of Arrival
Saturday, August 4, 1962
Relocated To
CWB Florida City
Stayed With
Espinosa-RdgzHaded-Quesada
Groups
Haiti Pedro Pan
Yolanda has volunteered to help the children of Haiti. Find out how you can help, too.

Yolanda's Story

A story teller once told me that all stories begin in the middle. As I write this, the middle of my story has 17 years on one side and 47 on the other. For thousands of us Pedro Pan children, the midd...

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Yolanda's News Feed

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Hola Yoli, ya se que estuviste por Miami, en las reuniones y desayunos, lastima que no me llamaste para habernos vistos, bueno sera en la proxima visita. Me gustaria saber de Zoe Carvajal, si sabes algo de ella, dile que yo tambien la estoy buscando. Un fuerte abrazo de tu PP hermana, Lydia

Message by Lydia E. Hackney | Nov 10th 2009

Yoli tienes mucha razon la unica manera por la cual no me caigo en muchos mas huecos es por el tamaño de mis pies . size 14 WIDE. eso es lo unico que me salva ami. que tal la pasastes? solamente por el tiempo que estube contigo se que la pasastes muy bien pero despues que te fuistes y te ajuntastes a los otros VILLAREÑOS ahi fue donde seguro que no te sentisites bien!!!!!!!!!!!!!! JUST KIDDING. te has fijado que el destinguido JOSE ANTONIO esta perdido? ya estas en tu casa de vueltas o todavia estas en MIAMI?

Message by Fernando L Collado Gonzalez | Nov 10th 2009

Yolanda, siento mucho lo de tu mama y me uno a las oraciones de todos para que te encuentres con paz y aceptacion. Tambien siento mucho no haber estado presente en la reunion de Noviembre pero yo no sabia nada. Espero que la proxima me lo dejen saber. besos maggie

Message by margarita senra (dominguez | Nov 9th 2009

Yoli que encanto fue el conocerte en persona.. wow mi hermanita que alegria me dio el verte. Sabes que si antes me tenias aca; ahora me tienes mas y mas profundamente.. te quiero y te veo manana en el otro desayuno..carinos...

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

Buenos dias Yoly, solo queria saludarte. Siempre te tengo en mis oraciones, ojala todo mejore y puedas venir a la reunion. Besos, Sil

Message by Silvia Budejen Trujillo | Oct 28th 2009

Hola Yolanda, hable con Susy y me dijo que tu mama esta aliviada. Últimamente no tengo tiempo de escribir con los preparativos de la boda y con el trabajo pero siempre están en mis oraciones. Cariñooooooooos, Carmen

Message by Carmen Valdivia | Oct 28th 2009

Yolanda, se me escribiste hace tiempo pero nunca te he constestado pero he visto que tu mama esta malita te dire que estamos contigo nuestras oraciones nunca le faltaran esperando que siga mejorando. Nosotros tenemos a nuestro suegro aunque no tan delicado pero ya no puede caminar y no puede valerse por el mismo y necesita asistencia 24/7 asi que se por lo que estan pasando. Saludos

Message by Frank ( Paco ) Echeverria | Oct 28th 2009

Yolanda, solamente una breve nota para dejarte saber que estamos rezando por ti y por toda tu familia. Yo he pasado por esa montaña rusa emocional con mis padres y hermana. Que Dios los bendiga a todos. Guillermo

Message by Guillermo R Paz Vazquez | Oct 28th 2009

Mi querida Yoli: Acabo de enterarme por el grapevine de nuestra website que tu mama esta muy malita y que probablemente no vas a poder ir a la reunion. Cuanto siento querida hermanita que estes pasando por estos tiempos tan dificiles y dolorosos. Espero que te sea de ayuda y te sirva de apoyo saber que todos tus hermanos y hermanas Pedro Pan estan pensando en ti y en tu mami y que las tenemos en nuestras oraciones. Yoli, si puedes, por favor mandame tu numero de telefono por mi e-mail asi me puedo comunicar contigo de esa forma mas personal. Que Dios te bendiga. Muchos cariños, Mercy

Message by Mercedes Argiz Escribano | Oct 27th 2009

Yolanda, en estos momentos todos tus hermanos estan contigo.Tu sabes que te queremos mucho. MELVIN

Message by Melvin F Noriega Plasencia | Oct 26th 2009

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