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:

Maria del Carmen Perez Cancelas (Romanach)

General Information
Current Name
Carmencita Romanach
Current Location
United States of America
Name on Arrival
Maria del Carmen Perez Cancelas (Romanach)
Age on Arrival
Date of Arrival
Thursday, October 19, 1961
Relocated To
Haiti Pedro Pan
Maria del Carmen has volunteered to help the children of Haiti. Find out how you can help, too.

Maria del Carmen's Story

Today, October 19th, 2011 marks a very important milestone in my life. On a day like this, fifty years ago, I arrived at the Miami Airport with my two younger brothers, Raul and Carlos.

I would be ...

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Maria del Carmen's News Feed

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I went yesterday to see the play SONIA FLEW at FIU. It is worth seeing it, the actors are great and the play in itself hits close to home, although I cried many times during the show, I hgihly reccommend it to all pedropans. Love,

Message by Carmencita Romanach | Sep 26th 2009

Maria del Carmen que Dios te bendiga pues estas haciendo una obra muy bella ya que todos los Pedro Pans necesitan hablar sus experiencias y sanar las huellas que fueron creadas en nuestras vida. Yo estoy muy emocionada y contenta de que nuestra historia no morrira y que nuestros hijos y nietos sepan siempre lo que sus familias vivieron. Espero tener el gran honor de conocerte personalmente para agradecerte..

Message by Carmen Gomez Calda | Sep 25th 2009

Carmencita, ya yo llame a Perla Corva para saber mas detalles de la reunion.Tambien le voy a escribir un E-mail.Sera una reunion muy emocionante! Carinos Zeida

Message by Zeida Rife - Kirik | Sep 25th 2009

Carmencita perdona que me haya demorado en contestarte sobre el almuerzo del Colegio Lourdes. Es el 6 de Diciembre 2009 en el Hotel Sofitel, 5800 Blue Lagoon Drive, Miami, Florida (305) 262-9721 y (305) 264-4888. Hora: Misa 10:30 AM Banquete despues de la Misa. La Presidenta de la Asociacion es Magaly Marino, y este ano hay elecciones para nueva directiva. Para pertenecer a la Asociacion tienes una cuota de $25.00 anuales, y tambien recibimos la Revista de Lourdes en el Exilio, 2 veces al ano. Yo te voy a conseguir el telefono de una de las celadoras que se hacen cargo de colocar las mesas y quizas tambien te puedas inscribir. Te dejo saber despues que hable con mi hermana. Carinos, Elsa

Message by Elsa Bulnes-Garcia | Sep 23rd 2009

Maria del Carmen, gracias por comunicarte, dime, hay alguna reunion de las alummnas del colegio? El dia de Nuestra Senora de Lourdes es Fe. 11, en Diciembre 8 es el dia de la Imaculada Concepsion. Seria fantastico si algunas alummnas del colegio pudieramos reunirnos. Yo ya le escribi un correo electronico a Estelita Prieto, y Elsa Bulnes. Te acuerdas de ellas? Ellas eran companeras mias. Carinos Zeida

Message by Zeida Rife - Kirik | Sep 22nd 2009

Maria del Carmen, si, yo me acuerdo de una companera del colegio con tu nombre,dime si tu fuiste a mis quince en Tarara, tu companero fue un amigo de tu hermano, en esa forma se si eres tu. Espero que si, pues yo siempre veo mis fotos de quince con todas mis amigas y mis deseo son de estar en comunicacion con todos. Si no, dame mas datos, pues a lo mejor tu entraste en el colegio mas tarde. Gracias por tu e-mail. Carinos, Zeida

Message by Zeida Rife - Kirik | Sep 21st 2009

09/21/09 Querida Carmencita: El sàbado (y gracias a tí) nos reunimos para celebrar el cumpleaños #80 de Cachita Pérez Martin.....muy emocionante....recuerdo "las niñas" de Cachita....por supuesto que pude volver a ver a las dos encantadoras mujeres y a los nietos de Cachita......Me gustaría si quieres mandarte unas fotos.....mi e mail es Un fuerte abrazo, Otmara Capote

Message by Otmara Capote Gonzalez | Sep 21st 2009

Carmencita, gracias por tus palabras tan bonitas sobre mi historia. La penitencia mas grande que me podían poner era no poder a salir a la calle a mataperrear. Uno se divertía tanto con tan poco. Los niños de hoy no saben lo que se pierden sentado en una computadora. Nosotros si no teníamos con que, inventábamos. Saludos, Guillermo

Message by Guillermo R Paz Vazquez | Sep 18th 2009

Hola Carmencita, gracias por tan cariñosos mensajes. It is great to be back. Espero vernos en el desayuno mañana. Un beso, Carmen

Message by Carmen Valdivia | Sep 18th 2009

Carmen, inform that Pedro Pans are invited to see "Sonia Flew" the story of a Pedro Pan, FIU, group discount rate of 15 would cost $8.00 each. Pay at the breakfast on Sat. The play will be 9/27 -save de date

Message by Emy Botet | Sep 17th 2009

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