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...

Click here to read the full story

Yolanda's News Feed

Leave a public message for Yolanda.

<< Prev Page 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 Next >>

Hola Yolanda, hoy le entregue copia de tu email a Jose Calderon. Lo vi sorprendido por tus palabras y me dio la impresion que le agrado mucho tu mensaje, espero que se pongan en contacto contigo, saludos Jose

Message by Marcia Caridad Ramos Gonzalez | Aug 16th 2009

Extortion, you said? Nah! Let me paraphrase the words of the infamoous Don Corleone: "We're making you an offer you can't refuse." Capisci? Bona fortuna! José Antonio Amaro Reyes

Message by Marcia Caridad Ramos Gonzalez | Aug 16th 2009

Yolanda, if not completely getting over it, I will certainly overcome this hurdle. I'm actually in awe of how many caring people have expressed their sentiments without having ever met me and I feel like I've made 'instant' friends with you, Jose Antonio Amaro, Nelson del Valle, Carmen Romanach, Carmen Valdivia to name a few. I'm honored. Happy Sunday!

Message by Susy Rodriguez | Aug 16th 2009

Well, Yolanda, there you have it. I'm not the only who thinks you should write a book. "Oye, yo creo que tú teha' equivocao conmigo; ser compay de monte adentro no significa mentecato. ¡Mira, no seré cienfueguero como tú, pero yo también como candela!" In other words, just as I can spot a tiger a mile away by its stripes, I can also spot the makings of a very good writer. Like Carmecita said: "Déjate de egoísmos con tus hermanos de Pedro Pan." So get with the program "y no te hagas rogar que no te pega." You catch my drift? "Por cierto que la descripción de cómo te paseabas, bajo la luz de la luna, por los cultivos de chile en Nuevo Mexico me recordó la novela The Milagro Beanfield War." What else can I say!(Or need I say more?). Respetuosamente, el compay José Antonio.

Message by Marcia Caridad Ramos Gonzalez | Aug 16th 2009

Querida Yolanda, ayer tuvimos una reunion muy bonita, con 61 pedropanes, imaginate! Te echamos en falta, tu eres parte muy importante de este grupo y se que estabas con nosotros en el corazon, de verdad tengo muchisimas ganas de darte un abrazo en persona, me parece que te conozco de toda la vida. Lo que si puedo prometerte es que NUNCA va a haber un batido de mamey en ninguna reunion, hasta que no llegues tu! Creo que nos vamos a pelear todos por poderte dar ese gusto, que tu te mereces. Tambien quiero sumar mi voto a la sugerencia de que escribas un libro, tienes un don muy especial y hay que compartirlo, chica! Nada de egoismos a estas horas, con tus hermanitos pedropan.....Tambien queria que me dijeras como fue que lograste que te invitaran a la fiesta de noviembre 7, porque a mi nadie me ha invitado todavia(aunque pienso ir, ya tengo mi chaleco blindado de todas formas). Un abrazo de Carmen

Message by Carmencita Romanach | Aug 16th 2009

Yolanda, me le escape a Guillermo y el hurricane plan porque se me olvido lo mas importante; Me uno todos los que desean que escribas tu libro. El destino te llama, no puedes negarlo. Cariños, Carmen

Message by Carmen Valdivia | Aug 16th 2009

Good morning Peter Pans. Hi Yolanda, its been a few days. El viernes fue grandaughter day, y ayer el desayuno. Hablamos asta por los codos, we lingered for 8 hours pero la pasamos requetebien. Needless to say, we missed you. Melvin nos conto que te habia enviado un Cubania care package y veo que lo recibiste y que te encanto. Ya ves, estabas presente sin estar aqui. Hoy estoy en hurricane readiness mode, just in case. Love, Carmen

Message by Carmen Valdivia | Aug 16th 2009

Querida Yolanda: El desayuno quedo muy bueno, fueron mas de 60 personas. Yo me encontre con con tres hermans. Dos de ellas hacia como cuarenta y cinco anos que no las veia. Una de ellas es Carmen Valdivia que ya tu sabes que es tan especial. Yo fui al mismo colegio que ella en Cuba, y me ha traido una foto del grupo con el uniforme de gala que es una belleza. Y esto gracias a su esposo que fue el me la hizo. El tambien es una gran persona tan especial como ella. Estubimos en restaurant por largo tiempo. Melvin tambien es un hermano especial. Que bueno es conocer tanta gente linda y que sean parte de nuestras vidas. Mi vida ha cambiado despues de este website y de estas reuniones. Dios quiera que puedas venir al alguno de los desayunos. Son siempre los tercer sabados del mes. Tambien conoci a Ileana (Minico) Muy simpatica igualita que en sus Emails. Yo me uno al grupo de los que piensan que debes escribir un libro. No desperdicies ese talento que tienes. Tengo que escribirte para contarte de mi hija, pero ya es muy tarde, le tengo que preguntar si sabe donde hacen fritas vegetarianas. Ella tambien lo es. Por supuesto que hablamos de ti en el desayuno aunque no nos tomamos el batido de mamey. Bueno mi hermana, espero poderte conocer pronto. Un Beso

Message by Silvia E Portu | Aug 16th 2009

Yolanda, disculpa que meta la cuchara en el asunto, pero concurro con Lázaro A. en que debes escribir un libro. El mágnifico manejo que posees del idioma, acompañado de tus valiosas experiencias de índole profundamente humano y amplios conocimientos de psicología y literatura, con toda seguridad te permitirían redactar una obra sumamente interesante. José Antonio Amaro Reyes.

Message by Marcia Caridad Ramos Gonzalez | Aug 15th 2009

GRACIAS YOLANDA POR CONTACTARME. ESTOY MUY AGRADECIDO POR SUS COMENTARIOS. YA QUE PASE LA EXPERIENCIA DE TODO LO RELACIONADO CON PUBLICAR MI LIBRO, ESTOY A SU DISPOSICION PARA AYUDARLA CON INFORMACION DE COMO PUBLICAR SU LIBRO, DE ESTO SER REQUERIDO. YA CUMPLO MIS "62" DENTRO DE UNOS DIAS, PERO SIEMPRE RECUERDO MUCHO MIS RAICES Y MI CIENFUEGOS. POR FAVOR MANTENGA EL CONTACTO Y DE NUEVO, MUCHAS GRACIAS. LAZARO ALVAREZ

Message by Lazaro A Alvarez Campos | Aug 15th 2009

<< Prev Page 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 Next >>

Leave a message for Yolanda

 
Your message
Your name
Your e-mail