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
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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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Gracias Paco, por tu ayuda en localizar a Sarmientos, el estuvo conmigo en Matecumbe, Opalocka Y tambien en Fort Wayne, Indiana en el ano 1964. Yo atendia la escuela La Salle de Miami cuando estaba en Matecumbe y Opaloca, pero de ti no me recuerdo mucho, aunque estas en la foto con Sarmientos, asi que la memoria me puede estar fallando. tu amigo Henry

Message by Henry/Enrique Rodriguez (EL MUSICO) | Jun 7th 2009

Hola Paco, yo soy Henry, y veo en esta foto en que tu estas con Jose Sarmientos yo llegqe a Matecumbe el 9/13/62 y tambien estuve en Opalocka en donde conoci a Sarmientos, despues nos enviaron a un Foster Home en Fort Wayne Indiana Casa de Caridad, y atendiamos el Central Catholic de dcha ciudad, por favor me puedes informar como localizar a Jose Sarmiento, tu amigo Henry

Message by Henry/Enrique Rodriguez (EL MUSICO) | Jun 7th 2009

Paco, ¿Sabes cuando comenzó el campamento de Opa-Locka? Me acuerdo que pasamos las primeras Navidades en U.S. estando en Kendall (1962). Al año siguiente nos mudaron para Opa-Locka, y ese curso escolar lo empezamos en Septiembre 1963 en el Pace Hi.

Message by Miguel M Miguel de la Puente | Jun 5th 2009

Paqo, me parecio reconocer to foto de el libro anual de Hermanos Maristas. No me acuerdo si te conoci en persona. Yo soy la hija menor de Raul Medina y Delfina Perez. Mi hermana se llama Mari Delfi. No se si tu los conocias. Mis padres eran maestros. Mi nombre esta bajo Maria de la Concepcion Medina Perez (Maria Conchita). Saludos.

Message by María C. Monteagudo | Jun 5th 2009

Querido Paquito: Estuve fuera de circulacion todo el año pasado porque tuve un accidente grandisimo...alguien se llevo una luz roja y a mi con ella...pero bueno ya estoy mucho mejor. Saludos Cienfuegueros!!!!! Otmara

Message by Otmara Capote Gonzalez | Jun 4th 2009

Hola Paquito: Soy Sylvita ya me inscribi - mi nombre actual es Silvia Gamoneda Gimenez.

Message by Silvia Gamoneda Gimenez | Jun 4th 2009

si. juvenal es mi hermano.

Message by Hilarion Martinez Llanes | May 31st 2009

Se que existen otras fotos de aquellos tiempos en Los Maristas de Cienfuegos que tenemos en la familia, en cuanto las encuentre las "escaneo" y las anexo a mi perfil. Saludos. Lazaro.

Message by Lazaro A Alvarez Campos | May 31st 2009

Paco, yo tampoco se que haría el Hermano Paul allí, pero en muchas funciones benéficas iban muchas personas a participar. Ya le dí el mensaje a Pepe, espero que se registre pronto, les hice ver a él y a Rodolfo, lo importante que es tener las historia de todos los que vinimos en la Operacion Pedro Pan. Ultimamente he estado recordando nombres de muchachos que pasaron por Kendall y Opa-Locka, pero a veces me acuerdo del nombrete solamente. Te acuerdas de un muchacho que se la pasaba imitando a Elvis Presley, en su propio "ingles"?

Message by Miguel M Miguel de la Puente | May 31st 2009

francisco el mensaje para Raimundo Santamaria me lo mandastes a mi Raimundo Espinosa los dos estamos en la foto de OpaLocka

Message by raimundo Espinosa | May 30th 2009

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