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Cuban Exiles

The acquisition of Cuban books, periodicals and archival material at the University of Miami Library took a new turn in the early 1960s when two Cuban exile started to collect every item that related to Cuban refugees. Realizing the unique and enduring value of such materials, the late Professors Ana Rosa Núñez and Rosa M. Abella acquired for the library's collection the materials that would chronicle the Cuban exodus. With the passage of time, other librarians took up their cause, including Lesbia Orta Varona and Esperanza B. de Varona, current Department Head, who directed the organization and processing of the collections.

Today, the Cuban Heritage Collection boasts a comprehensive collection that sheds light on the Cuban exile experience. Important among these documents are the personal and corporate papers of prominent segments of the Cuban exile community, such as the archives of the Asociación por la Paz Continental (ASOPAZCO), a humanitarian organization and advocate for human rights in Cuba concerned with the plight of Cuban political prisoners since 1979; The Truth About Cuba Committee, Inc., the first and one of the most significant groups to be formed in exile; the David Masnata y de Quesada Collection, an excellent resource on genealogy and Cuban family histories; and The Pedro Pan Collection, chronicling the network established in 1960 by the United States government in association with Catholic Relief Community Services and prominent members of the Cuban society working undercover in the Island, which succeeded in taking 14,000 unaccompanied children out of Cuba.

Mariel Boatlift (1980)
First look at land of freedom
A Cuban refugee reflects on his rescue at sea by the U.S. Coast Guard, ca. 1965
U.S. Coast Guard crewmen aid a refugee during the 1965 Camarioca Boatlift

A freedom flight arrives in Miami from Varadero, Cuba, 1970
Freedom House, Miami International Airport, ca. 1962
Cuban refugees waiting in line outside Freedom Tower, ca. 1966
A refugee family is registered at the Cuban Refugee Center, 1962

A Cuban child gets a checkup in the Medical Dispensary of the Cuban Refugee Center, ca. 1962
International Rescue Committee waiting area at the Cuban Refugee Center, ca. 1965
A refugee family looks at a map to find Los Angeles, California, where they were to resettle with assistance of Catholic Relief Services, ca. 1962
Four Cuban boys sled in the snow in Columbus, Ohio, 1963