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

Raul C Ruiz Cepero

General Information
Current Name
Raul C Ruiz Cepero
Current Location
United States of America
Name on Arrival
Raul C Ruiz Cepero
Age on Arrival
11
Date of Arrival
Sunday, January 21, 1962
Relocated To
CWB Florida City
Stayed With
Mr. & Mrs Arias, in Florida City

Raul C's Story

Well let's see...my story is much the same as anyone else that had the same experience.

We arrived in Miami courtesy of Pan Am and the good folks that made it all possible at the Archdioces of Miami...

Click here to read the full story

Raul C's News Feed

Leave a public message for Raul C.

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Hey Raul, don't worry if you cannot make it down. What's important is that we are all well and started to reconnect to share those memories.

Message by Angel Braulio Canete | Oct 19th 2010

Raul C has updated their profile.

Status update | Oct 19th 2010

Hola Raul, soy Jose Cabarrocas, acabo de descubrir esta pagina, me resultan fascinantes tus fotos y comentarios. Vivo en Miami y estoy contento de saber de ti, mi telefono en casa es 321-220-5767, llamame si puedes una noche, me gustaria mucho hablar contigo, regards Raul. Jose

Message by Marcia Caridad Ramos Gonzalez | Oct 10th 2010

Hey Raul - Jose 'El Gallego' recently join our database! How are you doing? Have not heard from you recently.

Message by Angel Braulio Canete | Sep 9th 2010

Raul C has updated their profile.

Status update | Sep 7th 2010

Raul, this is Jose Fernandez Barbas “El Gallego”. I came across this web site late last night and what a rush of memories. I’m have now registered and posted a picture of you from 1963 under my profile. I have to look for some more photos. I know that I have some more somewhere. We spoke one time over the phone when you were living in the Keys. I see from your profile that you have moved, I hope that I can make contact with you, Angel, and some of the other boys. I think that it is time to share some of our experiences and to not forget our past. I will be posting my profile soon.

Message by Jose C Fernandez Barbas | Sep 6th 2010

Raúl: Muy interesante tu historia. Yo fui uno de los que fuimos a Nebraska en Marzo del 62 y fué una "beca" muy buena. Si hubieras escogido a Nebraska nos hubiéramos conocido. Muy bueno eso de "the ten who blazed the path into the cold country." I guess it makes you guys a special group. I have met Angel Cañete and he is a very nice guy. I have a website dedicated to finding Pedro Pans all over the word and I have been cataloguing them in alphabetical order and I have over a dozen Jose Fernández, can you identify "El gallego" a little better? The website is in www.CampMatecumbeVeterans.com Hope you enjoy it!

Message by Manuel Gutiérrez | Apr 25th 2010

I hope your live after the home has become what you hoped for.I just happened to come across this webb site, when looking for the history of Saint Vincent's home. I found that there is no longer a orphanage out in Shield's Michigan. Remember, it was the summer home. They tore down the home in Saginaw, but rebuilt a new orphanage out in Shields for summer and winter usage and it to is no longer a orphanage. I now live in Pinconning, Michigan and have been married for 35 yrs. 2 grownup kids.I still remember a tall lengthy kid in you. It seems everyone moved to Florida, must not like winter. Me and the wife was in Ocala, FLA. visiting her sister in 2009, however don't plan going back soon, because of cost. My brother Jeff lives in Charleston, South Carolina and the last time I talked to him, he was scuba diving in Florida. My sister Barb lives in Traverse City area and is married to. If it wasn't for recogniseing your name I would have never remembered you. Like Angel and his sisters name, yours is hard to forget. Remember, we had a lot of hard times in our yought, at the same time, we had many good times. The home provided us with many lasting friendships and memories. Takecare. Mike Pitts Sr.

Message by Mike Pitts Sr. | Apr 25th 2010

Raul, Time to get going on getting everybody together for our reunion. The Pedro Pan 50th Reunion will be in Miami on November 13, 2010. I would like to reserve a table for all of us St Vincent's Kids. I recently got in touch with the Pitt's brothers and maybe we can get them down to Miami also.

Message by Angel Braulio Canete | Apr 8th 2010

hey its your first girlfriend,Sue Yorke from flint, mich. Ran across old pix of us going to St. Matts x-mas dance. Many fond memories of you and those times. Would love to catch up. Write me

Message by sue yorke roach | Dec 6th 2009

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