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:

Carlos W. J. Bermúdez Zayas

General Information
Current Name
Carlos W J Bermudez Zayas
Current Location
United States of America
Name on Arrival
Carlos W. J. Bermúdez Zayas
Age on Arrival
Date of Arrival
Friday, July 20, 1962
Relocated To
Matecumbe, Florida City, Matecumbe, Opalocka, Albuquerque
Stayed With

Carlos W. J.'s Story

Carlos W. Bermudez

Emperador de Antilla, Virrey de la Bahía de Nipe y Conde de Alburquerque,

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Hola Carlos me preguntas si me acuerdo de Perico y la verdad es que no lo recuerdo a lo mejor si te acordaras de su nombre tal vez, oye dice Collado que Mario Carvajal se tropezo Con Ave Tonta "Carlos" en Texas y que el lo llamo por su apodo y el le dijo que si lo llamaba Ave Tonta otra vez lo iba a matar. Ya le escribi a Mario para que me de su telefono.

Message by Henry/Enrique Rodriguez (EL MUSICO) | Jul 24th 2009


Message by Fernando L Collado Gonzalez | Jul 24th 2009

Oye Carlos si logras averiguar el telefono o e-mail de Carlitos Ave Tonta a traves de Mario Carvajal me lo dejas saber, me gustaria saber de el, yo lo jodia mucho. Henry

Message by Henry/Enrique Rodriguez (EL MUSICO) | Jul 23rd 2009

Carlos SI NO ME EQUIVOCO ase unos meses atras hable con Mario Carvajal, y el me dijo que cuando lo mandaron de beca para KANSAS CITY ahi se encontro AVETONTA. trata de ponerte en contacto con MARIO para ver si el sabe. el me dijo que cuando lo vio y le dijo AVE TONTA como estas el le dijo si me llamas avetonta aqui te mato!!!!!!!!

Message by Fernando L Collado Gonzalez | Jul 23rd 2009

Carlos mi amigo como estas? que rapido pasan los anos verdad? voy a tratar de llamarte esta semana ok. yo voy por aya la primera semana de nov. te mandare todos los detalles para que sepas donde nos vamos a reunir y que dias ok. bye FERNANDO COLLADO. PS de las uracas no se nada los estoy buscando hase tiempo. tienes alguna idea adonde fueron cuando se fueron de OPA-LOCKA?

Message by Fernando L Collado Gonzalez | Jul 21st 2009

Hola Carlos,no he sabido nada de Alberto Cuartas todavia, me parece que Jorge Braceras telefono 305 856-4594 puede saber algo de el, pues eran muy buenos amigos llamalo en la tarde despues de las 4;00 pm pues el esta en el negocio a esa hora, con respecto a Carlitos Ave Tonta, me gustaria averiguar algo sobre el, yo lo jodia muchisimo, y me reia mucho con el, tal vez Fernando Collado sepa algo de el su telefono es 847 533-0152 gracias tu amigo Henry

Message by Henry/Enrique Rodriguez (EL MUSICO) | Jul 20th 2009

Carlos mi nombre es Jose Aquino yo me comunique con tu hermano hace varios dias y he estado por comunicarme contigo tambien pero he estado bastante ocupado inclusive le dije a tu hermano que pasaria a verlo y no lo he podido hacer. Espero que ayas visto la foto que nos tomaron en el Zoologico, yo se la envie a tu hermano y tambien esta en mi profile. Espero que estes bien, Saludos Jose

Message by Marcia Caridad Ramos Gonzalez | Jul 20th 2009

Hola Carlos, te estoy enviando el telefono de el cura Sergio Garcia Miro que es muy amigo de Alberto Cuartas y le puedes preguntar por su telefono, el telefono de Sergio es 305 8542041 , el te puede ayudar a localizarlo, y despues me lo dejas saber.

Message by Henry/Enrique Rodriguez (EL MUSICO) | Jul 18th 2009

Carlos, estuve en Florida City después de pasar por Matecumbe y Kendall. Francamente, no recuerdo los nombres de los matrimonios que estuvieron a cargo de las dos casas en las que me albergaron durante mi estancia en Florida City. Sin embargo, recuerdo a dos hermanos de apellido Bermúdez que procedían de Gibara. Soy oriundo de Holguín. ¿Serás tú uno de los hermanos? En todo caso, hermano de Pedro Pan, te deseo todo lo mejor. ¡Muchas felicidades!

Message by Jose Antonio Amaro Reyes | Jun 7th 2009

Carlos por lo que veo pasastes por todos los campamentos...ya sabes tu de todo

Message by Ileana Arriola (Minico) | May 29th 2009

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