Marisely De Jesús Vega

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Miriam and Rafael’s Wedding 


On June 23, 1966, the same year of the end of the Cuban Revolution, my mother was born. My grandparents, Miriam and Rafael, were very proud and happy with their firstborn. They called her Marisol and baptized her in the local church when she was about two-months-old.

November 13, a year later, Marjorie, their second daughter was born. They lived in the second floor, above the bakery that Rafael and Miriam owned in a province of Cuba called San Pedro.

They were a happy family and very close to their neighbors. For fun they played briscas and danced. They held parties and celebrated birthdays, weddings and other special events. The sisters had many friends to play with and Miriam maintained a close relationship with her sister Elia and her family.

But things changed in Cuba, and like many other Cubans, they found themselves wanting a better life. When Marisol was

Baby Marjorie born -1967

fifteen-years-old, my grandparents decided to leave. Their initial destination was Puerto Rico where Rafael’s brother, Vega, lived and who would help them get settled. But the Cuban government would only grant a visa to Costa Rica.  Once in Costa Rica, they waited for the necessary papers they needed to come to Puerto Rico.

Miriam and Marjorie received their papers first so they went ahead and left Rafael and Marisol in Costa Rica. But soon the family was reunited and they began their new lives in Puerto Rico.

Rafael was a successful businessman, so with a lot of effort and hard work he opened a clothing store. Miriam and her daughters helped him in the store too. With Vega’s help, now the store is like ten times larger and they sell clothes, food, and miscellaneous items. Miriam also opened a baby store near Rafael’s.

The children attended Colegio Nuestra Señora de Valvanera, where they maintained good grades and made new friends. Then the girls went on to study at the UPR in Ponce where they earned a BA in Business Administration. Now Marisol helps her father in the store and Marjorie is the owner of a jewelry store.

My whole family thrived in their new home and became helpful citizens of Puerto Rico.

Rafael Vega Llanes settled in his new home in Puerto Rico


  1. Your story shows how immigrants come to Puerto Rico and are noted for their efforts. Good Story!

  2. Very inspirational story. My father as also fight for us, making a lot of sacrifices so that we can have a better life. Like your story.

  3. A great example about life. It is hard but nothing is impossible.Good that they lead and progress their life united as a family.

  4. My father and his side of the family are all from Cuba so I can identify with this great story. It demonstrates how one can strive and succeed in life if one has the adequate desire and hunger.

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