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:

Oscar M Torres Ramos

General Information
Current Name
Oscar M Torres
Current Location
United States of America
Name on Arrival
Oscar M Torres Ramos
Age on Arrival
Date of Arrival
Thursday, October 26, 1961
Relocated To
Stayed With

Oscar M's Story

I arrived on October 26, 1961 at age 16. I was sent to Saint Joseph Orphanage, Helena, Montana on November 13th. I was placed on the Bernardis' home in Whitefish, Montana about 10 days later. A coupl...

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Oscar M's News Feed

Leave a public message for Oscar M.

Hello Oscar, my name is Teri Slocum Cassidy. I believe that you and your two lived with us for a year and a half. I was a young girl when you all came and lived with us. I sent you and your brother a letter when you all left. Please find it in your heart to contact me, if you are one of my Cubian brothers. I remember you as being a twin to George and having an older named Ralule. I am sorry about the spelling. I just know I loved you guys, and you had a sister left with your parents.

Message by Teri Slocum Cassidy | Sep 25th 2013

Hello Oscar...this is from an old Wisconsin UW La Crosse friend, Mary. I found you by remembering "modesto" one of your names...I read your story of arrival, the history of you before I knew you...lots I never knew. So glad to hear you have had a great life and have a wonderful family. Wish I could see a picture or two just for old time's sake. I have two grandchild. I have some photos of your first communion you left behind...should I send them to you or just keep them? Are your parents still alive? My father died...his name was Oscar too, you may remember. I use his name in my email.

Message by Mary Fauske Winter | Jan 30th 2010

Creo que esta muy bien. Es tu historia verdadera.Yo que soy madre ahora no me imagino de donde mama saco fuerzas para mandarte solo a un pais desconocido y sin saber cual iba ser su futuro. Hermana

Message by alicia torres herrero | Jun 1st 2009

Hello Mr. Torres.... I noticed you sent a message to Maria C De Almagro who apparently lived in Whitefish also... who was she??? I have have sent a message to a Maria Delgado who lived with the Browns with her little brother Julio (Speedy). Take care

Message by Ozzie Mora | May 31st 2009

Hey Oscar... thanks for the update on the twins and their brother... I don't remember his name either, but we used to call him "el gago" for obvious reasons. Take care and give my best to Lourdes.

Message by Ozzie Mora | May 30th 2009

Hi Oscar, I e-mailed my foster family and they remembered the Bernardi's and the 3 boys that stayed with them. My brother and I went to Whitefish probably after you all left. My foster family says that they still have conctact with Julio Delgado who stayed with the Brown's. They are going to give him the website so he can sign in. My foster family and I, have had communications with Ozzie Mora. Read what she wrote on Ozzie's page.

Message by Vivian A McCombie y Salort | May 28th 2009

Oscar.. Do you remember the names of the twins that lived in Whitefish with the "El Loco" family?? How about Rafael's last name. Rafael and his younger brother lived with a family that had a daughter named Linda. As you recall, you Frank and I helped the family shovel dirt out of their basement one weekend, and they gave us tickets to the basketball game. Take care... Ozzie (Osvaldo) Mora

Message by Ozzie Mora | May 23rd 2009

Hi Oscar, You don't know me, but my brother and I arrived in Florida City on 8-12-1962. Nine days later we were flown to St. Joseph Orphanage in Helena, Montana and 2 years later we were taken in by the Osborne family that lived in Whitefish, Montana. We seem to have followed the same road. When we got to the Orphanage we were told that they had replaced all the personnel and that the children had it very rough. Do you know anything about this. What can you tell me about your experience there? Vivian Salort

Message by Vivian A McCombie y Salort | May 18th 2009

Oscar gusto de sdaludarte..escribe tu historia para asi compartirla con nosotros..aqui me tienes, vivo en Miami ahora..

Message by ileana | May 17th 2009

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