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

Francisco F Echeverria Rabassa

General Information
Current Name
Frank ( Paco ) Echeverria
Current Location
United States of America
Name on Arrival
Francisco F Echeverria Rabassa
Age on Arrival
15
Date of Arrival
Monday, August 6, 1962
Relocated To
CWB Matecumbe
Stayed With
Matecumbre, Kendall, Opa-Locka
Groups
Haiti Pedro Pan
Francisco F has volunteered to help the children of Haiti. Find out how you can help, too.

Francisco F's Story

Despues de irnos a despedir de nuestro padre a la carcel de Isla de Pinos, Fuimos de Cienfuegos para la Habana a un hotel donde nos encontramos por casualidad con el papa de los Hnos Ferrer (Jorge,Jul...

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Paco como estas ,te acordeste de mi,LITO,TU estas en contacto con Franklyn Sosa?Mandale saludos.LITO.

Message by Angelo G Jimenez | Sep 3rd 2009

Paco como estas? hase tiempo que no se nada de ti le pregunto al PESCAO y tambien me dise lo mismo. que hase un tiempo que no te ha visto. acuerdate que yo llego por alla el dia 3 de nov. un martes vas a venir a la casa del FISH. el miercoles por la noche? I hope so. bye FERNANDO

Message by Fernando L Collado Gonzalez | Sep 3rd 2009

Hi Paco, yo soy adicta a las fotos y cada vez que entro a la website lo primero que miro son las fotos y me gustan mucho ya veo que te gustan a ti tambien, ponle los nombre para saber quien son pero estan fantasticas. Tu hermanita de PP, Sil. PD Saludos a tu familia

Message by Silvia Budejen Trujillo | Aug 30th 2009

Paco, disculpa la demora en dar respuesta a tu pregunta sobre Paco y Carmen Artiles. No, yo no los conocí en Kansas, pero que conste que yo viví allí solamente entre los años 64 y 67 en dos poblaciones muy pequeñas, donde apenas habían latinos y aún menos cubanos por aquella época. Las ciudades más grandes del estado son Kansas City, Topeka y Wichita. Por los comentarios que he visto en este sitio muchos pedropanes fueron enviados a "foster homes" y "group homes" en Wichita, algunos de los cuales han permanecido viviendo allí y se han mantenido en contacto a través de los años con los que se fueron. Te sugiero que le preguntes a Antonio J García Menéndez o George Mas Enjamio, del "group home" Mariana House, quienes aparentemente están en contacto con algunos de los pedropanes de Wichita. Quizás ellos te puedan hacer algunas sugerencia para que puedas localizarlos. Por cierto que ellos me ayudaron a encontrar a un amigo de Matecumbe en el estado de Indiana. Con un cálido abrazo pedropanero, un servidor, José Antonio Amaro Reyes.

Message by Marcia Caridad Ramos Gonzalez | Aug 28th 2009

Hola Paco: Otra vez vienes al rescate para ayudarme a comunicarme con los Cienfuegueros. Ya hable con Paquin y senti muchisima alegria al hacerlo, ahora me falta Carmen, La voy a llamar por la noche ya que Paquin dice que trabajaba hasta tarde. A Jorge hace dias que no lo llamo, pero lo estube llamando a diario por semanas y nunca me contestaron. Hoy lo vuelvo a llamar. Maybe it's my lucky day to contact old friends. Un abrazo.

Message by Silvia E Portu | Aug 27th 2009

Paco, Sólo 2 letras para darte las gracias de nuevo porque hoy hablé con Paquin y con Carmen. Te contaré cuando conversemos en el próximo desayuno. Un saludo, Teresita

Message by Teresita Gonzalez-Angulo | Aug 27th 2009

Paco, Que Dios te Bendiga!! Creo que has logrado encontrar a Carmen Artiles. Aunque el mensaje se lo mandastes a Silvia, ella esta noche no me llamó y no creo que lo haya leido pues ya te hubiera contestado. Yo confio en que mañana encontremos a nuestra hermanita Carmen. De nuevo, un millón de gracias y ahora nos queda a ti y a mi encontrar a Juan Agramonte, pero ya lo vamos a lograr pronto. Un afectuoso saludo. Teresita

Message by Teresita Gonzalez-Angulo | Aug 27th 2009

Paco, gracias por el comentario que le hiciste a Otmara sobre la fecha de apertura del campamento de Opa-locka. Estoy seguro de que no me enteré hasta el verano de 1964, cuando viajé a Miami desde Kansas y me reuní con el cienfueguero Miguel de la Torre, quien por algunos años me mantuvo al tanto de lo que ocurría en los campamentos. José Antonio Amaro Reyes.

Message by Marcia Caridad Ramos Gonzalez | Aug 22nd 2009

08/22/09 Querido Paquito: Estoy bien fastidiada (hasta me da pena decirlo); me intoxiqué con un "pain killer", tuve una reacción alérgica de espanto....llevo una semana solamente tomando para la alergia...........SIN PAIN KILLERS..........Ya vendràn tiempos mejores...... Un beso, Otmara

Message by Otmara Capote | Aug 22nd 2009

Hola Paco, como estas? yo bien gracias al Senor. Te cuento que ya puse mis fotos, pero esto fue un martirio pues la queria poner todas, pero bueno las ire cambiando de vez en cuando, mira te voy a mandar por tu correo electronico unas fotos de los varones yo creo que tu estas en una de ellas, dejame saber o.k., bueno saludos a tu familia y tu recibes todo mi carino y un bezo de tu hermanita de Pedro Pan, Silvia

Message by Silvia Budejen Trujillo | Aug 19th 2009

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