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:

Jesus S Castano

General Information
Current Name
Current Location
United States of America
Name on Arrival
Jesus S Castano
Age on Arrival
Date of Arrival
Saturday, April 7, 1962
Relocated To
CWB Kendall
Stayed With

Jesus S's Story

Hi, everybody..... it is exciting to find this great website and interactive database of all the Pedro Pan kids... this is a massive effort of the Miami Herald and I sure hope that by these means, we...

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Hi Jay! I did post a photo in my profile page of the Smithsonian Pedro Pan presentation. The entire presentation can be seen in the following YouTube link: Read more:

Message by Eloísa Echazábal | Jun 2nd 2011


Status update | Jun 2nd 2011

Hola, yo soy Alberto Caraballo, mas conocido como Manzanita espero que te acuerdes nosotros fuimos muy amigos, tantos anos que pasaron.

Message by Angel A Caraballo de la Portilla | Feb 6th 2011

Mercedes y Jay, acabamos de leer el mensaje que Susy Rodriguez escribio sobre el "book signing" en Alexandria, VA del libro The Red Umbrella escrito por nuestra hija Christina. A lo mejor ustedes han leido en mensajes de otros Pedro Panes que The Red Umbrella esta considerada como una novela historica (historical fiction novel) sobre una niña de 14 años que vino sola a USA a traves de la Operacion Pedro Pan y fue relocalizada a Nebraska. Por un par de mensajes entre ustedes dos ayer vemos que ustedes viven en el area de Washington DC. Nosotros estamos "tagging along" en este "book signing tour/vacationes" y nos encantaria poder conocerlos. El "book signing" es este sabado, 26 de junio, a las 2:00PM en la tienda HOORAY FOR BOOKS que esta localizada en el 1555 King Street, Alexandria VA 22314. Por los mensajes de ustedes vemos que conocen y estan en contacto con otros Pedro Panes que viven en el area, por favor si pueden, pasenle esta informacion a ellos y a otros amigos y familiares que vivan cerca de Wahington DC/Alexandria VA. Nuestra direccion electronica es por si quieren comunicarse directamente con nosotros. Saludos para los dos y nos encantaria poder verlos y conocerlos este fin de semana, Esperanza y Delfin Diaz

Message by Delfin Diaz | Jun 24th 2010


Status update | Jun 23rd 2010

Querido Jesus: Mirando por la pagina web encontre tu nombre y veo que vives en Washington, DC. Yo vivo por Fredericksburg, Virginia y tengo una hija que vive en DC, asi que estoy por alla muy amenudo. Seria lindo podernos encontrar. Hay un grupo de Pedro Panes en DC. En que parte vives? Por favor, escribeme y nos ponemos en contacto. Con mucho cariño, tu hermana Pedro Pan. Mercy

Message by Mercedes Argiz Escribano | Jun 14th 2010

Hi, it 'white' enough yet? My sister-in-law who lives up there tolde me yesterday that a snow plow got stuck by her house and caught on fire. They called 911 and the firetruck couldn't even get up the hill so the firemen walked up!!! And so more to come this Tuesday. Good luck and keep warm. Cariños.

Message by Susy Rodriguez | Feb 7th 2010

Jay, thank you for the Belén contact. Carmencita and I just did two more interviews today. We now have eight! "For posterity," as you said. Ciao for now. Cariños, Eloísa

Message by Eloísa Echazábal | Feb 7th 2010

Querido Jay: Como soy tan "brillante" ayer te puse una notica y me la mandé a mi propio e-mail. Imagínate viniste a Miami y conociste a "la créme de la créme" Eloisa & Carmencita....Me alegran tus triunfos y tu forma de ver la vida...definitivamente fuimos parte importante de la historia de Cuba y no lo sabíamos......Gracias a Dios ahora tenemos este "network" donde hemos encontrado tantos y tantos hermanos que no sabíamos de ellos y otros que se han vuelto hermanos muy queridos sin que siquiera nos hayamos visto por primera vez. Me encanta Washington DC., he ido tres veces y siempre me gusta volver. De qué parte de Cuba eres? Recibe un fuerte abrazo de tu hermana, Otmara

Message by Otmara Capote Gonzalez | Jan 16th 2010

Hi, are you? It's been a while since we spoke in you are back in DC and I'm in Central Florida... Eloisa sent me your email but I misplaced it so I should have it now after you get my message.....Look forward to talking to you soon.

Message by Susy Rodriguez | Jan 14th 2010

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