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:

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
Date of Arrival
Monday, August 6, 1962
Relocated To
CWB Matecumbe
Stayed With
Matecumbre, Kendall, Opa-Locka
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...

Click here to read the full story

Francisco F's News Feed

Leave a public message for Francisco F.

<< 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 Next >>

Hola Paco: Claro que me recuerdo de ti, creo estamos juntos en una de tus fotos. Muchos recuerdos llamame cuando puedas para re-conectar. Siempre, Oscar Jimenez Aguirre

Message by Oscar Jimenez Aguirre | May 1st 2010

Escribe de vez en cuando TERNERON! Que la tierra no te trague como al Jefe De La Sangre del Mercy????????? Tengo que ir a Miami a enderezarlos!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Message by Jose A Pinon More | Apr 28th 2010

Thank you, Paco. Excellent idea! I'll give it a try in a couple of days. José Antonio.

Message by Marcia Caridad Ramos Gonzalez | Apr 21st 2010

Francisco F says: Por favor la noticia de Rolando Barberis no esta confirmada.

Status update | Apr 21st 2010

Francisco F says: Acabo de recibir la triste noticia del fallecimiento de Rolando Barberis. Que descanse en paz. Hasta el momento no sabemos los detalles funerales,

Status update | Apr 21st 2010

Francisco F says: OPPG Group Inc. tendra en Mayo 15 Swearing In Dinner Dance para mas informacion manden un email a les mando el Flyer w?informa

Status update | Apr 19th 2010

Paco, sigues de Secretary en el board 2010?

Message by Jose A Pinon More | Apr 18th 2010

Paco: Resolvistes lo de la resolusion de tus fotos? Necesito algunas de ellas para mi proyecto. Dile a Cuqui que estoy esperando reirme bastante con ella en Mayo. Cariños

Message by Susy Rodriguez | Apr 15th 2010


Message by Jose A Pinon More | Apr 13th 2010

Paquito: Ya ve como te sirvo de pregunta te la hacen a ti y la contesto yo. Que atrevida!!!! Como andan por ahi? Y Cuqui? Tengo deseos de reunirme de nuevo con ustedes asi que si Dios quiere, nos vemos pronto. Uh abrazo!

Message by Susy Rodriguez | Apr 10th 2010

<< 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 Next >>

Leave a message for Francisco F

Your message
Your name
Your e-mail