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

Juana (Juanita ) Díaz González

General Information
Current Name
Juanita Garcia
Current Location
United States of America
Name on Arrival
Juana (Juanita ) Díaz González
Age on Arrival
13
Date of Arrival
Saturday, May 5, 1962
Relocated To
CWB Florida City
Groups
Haiti Pedro Pan
Juana (Juanita ) has volunteered to help the children of Haiti. Find out how you can help, too.

Juana (Juanita )'s Story

Mi hermano menor que yo llegamos a Miami 05/05/62 aun recuerdo ese dia como si fuese hoy.Ese ha sido y siempre sera el dia mas triste de mi vida,ya que en la mañana yo era una niña alegre,con familia ...

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Juanita ,Vivi en Chicago desde enero de 1961 hasta diciembre de 2007 . Ahora vivo en Miami . No se si te conozco ,me gradue de high school en 1963 . Mis primos Sara y Gustavo Carbonell se graduaron de la Senn .Todos somos de Sancti Spiritus .

Message by Domingo J. Trujillo | Jan 6th 2010

A todas mis hermanas y hermanos Pedro Panes les deseo un prospero 2010. 2009 fue un año muy especial para mi ya que conoci a muchos de Uds y encontre a otros que hacia años no veia, gracias por el cariño que me han brindado,espero sigamos unidos por siempre. Los quiero mucho. Juanita Garcia.

Message by Juanita Garcia | Dec 31st 2009

Concho!! What's the matter en el timbeque??? How come everyone has been off from this wonderful page?? Oh bueno probablemente it has been me only..pero alla va...got here to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas, unas Noche Buena buenisima y un Prospero Anyo nuevo, que Dios y mi Caridad del Cobre les culme con mucha salud, paz, amor, y dinero y si se ganan la lotto DO NOT FORGET ME !! HERE I AM !! Besos Ileana/Minico

Message by Ileana Arriola (Minico) | Dec 24th 2009

Mi hermana Yara le encanta la vida de ella en Miami. Todos mis estudios de ninos separados siempre dicen que el mejor remedio para el alma es reunirse con personas que conocen nuestro pasado dolor por eso es importante de vernos. Muchas Gracias por invitarnos...el ano que viene estaremos en tu casa. Rosita

Message by Rosa Maria Muro Manguart | Dec 21st 2009

Juanita: Good job on the Xmas card! Muchas felicidades a todos nuestros hermanos Pedro Pan. Dios quiera que el año nuevo venga lleno de salud y tranquilidad para todos...y por supuesto, que nos volvamos a reir todos juntos.

Message by Susy Rodriguez | Dec 14th 2009

Muy bonita la tarjeta, Juanita. Yo también les deseo a todos una Feliz Navidad y un Año Nuevo lleno de salud y felicidad. Cariños a todos, Eloísa

Message by Eloísa Echazábal | Dec 14th 2009

Felices Navidades y un Prospero Año Nuevo le deseamos a todos el " Pedro Pan Group" aka C.C.C. group, espero les guste la tarjeta de Navidades de todos nosotros para todos nosotros. Un abrazo. Juanita Garcia.

Message by Juanita Garcia | Dec 12th 2009

Feliz Dia de Accion de Gracias para todos mis hermanas y hermanos Pedropanes,demos muchas gracias por poder vivir en un pais libre .Juanita.

Message by Juanita Garcia | Nov 26th 2009

Juanita: Me conmovió lo que me escribiste. ¡Con todas las cosas que tenías entre manos y todavía estabas al tanto de mí! Sin embargo, no me extraña, pues es algo típico de alguien que como hermana mayor vino encargada de su hermanito bajo aquellas trágicas circunstancias en las cuales nos fuimos de Cuba.\\ Todavía siento las alegrías y emociones de estar entre el grupo esa noche del primer encuentro en tu casa. Menos mal que tenemos los corazones fuertes, pues a gente menos templada que nosotros le hubiera dado un patatús. \\Juanita, me quedé impresionada con tu muñeca de la carita llorona. Jamás había visto otra igual. Es impresionante pensar como esa muñeca llegó a tus manos precisamente en esos momentos de tu vida -- ¡y que la compartieras con nosotros 47 años después! A mí me llegó a lo más profundo del alma. Ya estoy haciendo planes para la reunión del 2010, la cual dice Fernando va a ser todavía mas grande y espectacular. Con tanta gente que va a querer ir vas a necesitar todavia mas ayuda. Cuenta conmigo para lo que yo pueda aportar y déjame saber en cuanto se te ocurra algo que yo pueda hacer -y si se me ocurrre algo a mí tambien te lo comunicaré. Muchos cariños de yoli

Message by Yolanda Cardenas Ganong | Nov 17th 2009

Hola Juanita: Espero que ya te hayas recuperado bastante de la labor que hiciste para llevar a cabo la magnífica reunión del fin de semana. Durante mi largo viaje por carretera hoy de regreso a mi casa me entretuve mucho reviviendo muchos momentos inolvidables. Para mí fue doblemente especial todo dadas las circunstancias de mi gran pérdida personal. Sentirme rodeada de tanto aprecio, cariño y alegría fue el mejor de los consuelos. Gracias mil a ti y a tus ayudantes por hacerlo posible. Yoli Cardenas

Message by Yolanda Cardenas Ganong | Nov 12th 2009

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