Statues and/or monuments of fallen heroes, ideological allies and persons of the arts, medicine or education are scattered throughout the city and to a lesser degree in towns and cities across the country. You can’t help but take notice. I’ve gathered a few of them below, most of which the photo was taken this past March.
Unknown bust in front of an abandoned house on 1st Ave. in Miramar….looks Russian to me
This is the latest statue that was erected just a couple of months ago. It’s a bronze replica of a famous statue of José Martí. The original that has been in New York’s Central Park for more than 50 years, was donated by the Cuban government. It’s right in front of the Revolution Museum that was once the Presidential Palace until 1959. This statue is a gift from U.S. donors by way of The Bronx Museum of the Arts.
José Martí (January 28, 1853 – May 19, 1895)
was a Cuban national hero and an important figure in Latin American literature. In his short life, he was a poet, an essayist, a journalist, a revolutionary philosopher, a translator, a professor, a publisher, a Freemason, a political theorist, and supporter of Henry George’s economic reforms known as Georgism.
Jose Marti along 5ta Avenida
Jose Marti in Parque Central. The “park” came into existance in 1877 after the city walls had been knocked down. This was the first monument that was erected honoring Jose Marti. It was done on the 10th anniversary of his death in January of 1905 (on February 24th). It took the place of a statue of the Queen Isabel II of Spain erected during their rule in Cuba. The Queen’s was taken away in 1899, the year after the Spanish withdrew from the island in having lost the Spanish–American War in 1898. The inauguration ceremony was led by the great General of the liberating army, Máximo Gómez and the then president, Tomás Estrada Palma.
Mother Teresa, known in the Roman Catholic Church as Saint Teresa of Calcutta (born Anjezë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu, Albanian: 26 August 1910 – 5 September 1997)
was an Albanian-Indian Roman Catholic nun and missionary. She was born in Skopje (now the capital of the Republic of Macedonia), then part of the Kosovo Vilayet of the Ottoman Empire. After living in Macedonia for eighteen years she moved to Ireland and then to India, where she lived for most of her life. This statue sits in a little park behind the monastery of San Francisco de Asis near the Plaza San Fracisco and accessible from the Avenida del Puerto.
Francisco de Albear y Fernández de Lara (January 11, 1816 – October 22, 1887)
was a Spanish engineer from Cuba. His main achievement was the project for the catchment of the Vento springs and their conveyance to Havana for the water supply of the city, now known as the Acueducto de Albear. The project was designed in 1855 and the construction started in 1861, being completed in 1893. It was distinguished with the Gold Medal of the Éxposition universelle of Paris 1878. The aqueduct is still in operation. This statue sits in the Parque Albear which is right in front of ‘La Floridita’.
Gonzalo de Quesada (December 15, 1868 – January 9, 1915)
was a key architect of Cuba’s Independence Movement with José Martí during the late 19th century. He received the National Order of the Legion of Honour of France.
Manuel de la Cruz y Fernández (September 17, 1861 – February 19, 1896)
was a Cuban writer and journalist. He served as editor of El Fígaro, a weekly Cuban magazine, and wrote for several magazines and newspapers in Cuba and abroad. In 1890, he published Episodios de la Revolución Cubana, a collection of first-hand accounts of the Ten Years’ War. He also wrote fictional novels including La Hija del Montero (The Huntsman’s Daughter) and La Hija del Guardiero (The Overseer’s Daughter). De la Cruz died suddenly in 1896 at the age of 34. This bust sits at one end of the street Prado.
This monument sits in a little park on the a corner of the Plaza de Armas, I never noticed it until this past March. The plaque reads: “A la Ciudad de La Habana, Patrimonio Cultural de la humanidad, por el escultor Sueco Andres Sandstrom.” Ano 2005 Embajador de Suecia en Cuba, 1980-1984.
(“To the City of Havana, Cultural Heritage of Humanity, by the Swedish sculptor Andres Sandstrom.” Year 2005 Ambassador of Sweden in Cuba, 1980-1984.)
Pedro Ortiz Cabrera (Chivirico, February 22, 1953 – Havana, April 1, 1980).
was a Cuban revolutionary fighter, member of the National Revolutionary Police, victim of the events that took place in the headquarters of the Embassy of Peru in Havana in 1980. On April 1, Pedro was serving as a custodian outside the embassy of Peru. That afternoon, antisocial elements violently projected an omnibus against the mission fence with the purpose of penetrating the diplomatic headquarters. Pedro Ortiz Cabrera lost his life in the shooting that took place as a result of the events. This memorial is by the sidewalk along 5ta Avenida near the Hotel Memories Miramar.
This garden, ‘Jardín Diana de Gales’, sits just behind the Lonja de Commercio at one corner of Plaza de San Fransisco.
It was funded by the British Embassy. Why honor Diana in Cuba? Cubans admired the Princess for her humanitarian work. This bust is at the entrance to the park.
Julio Antonio Mella McPartland (25 March 1903 – 10 January 1929)
was a founder of the “internationalized” Cuban Communist Party. Mella studied law in the University of Havana until he was expelled in 1925 and is considered a hero by the present Cuban government.
America Arias López (1857-1935)
with the Little War and then Independence in 1895 became a powerful auxiliary of her husband, was confidant of the mambises, and provided valuable and varied services to the cause of Cubans fighting in the fields and actively participated as a nurse and messenger and reached the rank of Capitana of the Liberating Army.
Unknown monument along the new construction on the Avenida del Puerto.
Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (1547-1616)
was a Spanish novelist, poet and playwright who is best known for having written ‘Don Quixote’.
Rafael Montoro y Valdes (1852-1933)
was born in Spain but once Cuba won it’s independence from her, he became a Cuban citizen. He was an important politician and an essayist.
Benito Pablo Juárez García (21 March 1806 – 18 July 1872)
was a Mexican lawyer and politician of Zapotec origin from Oaxaca who served as the president of Mexico for five terms: 1858–1861 as interim, then 1861–1865, 1865–1867, 1867–1871 and 1871–1872 as constitutional president. He resisted the French occupation of Mexico, overthrew the Second Mexican Empire, restored the Republic, and used liberal measures to modernize the country.
Major General, Alejandro Rodríguez Velazco (born in Sancti Spíritus, on November 19, 1852 – died in Havana on February 27, 1915).
was a Division General of the Liberation Army. Veteran of the War of ’68, outstanding military leader in the War of Independence of 1895-1898 and first mayor of Havana. This statue sits along Paseo in the Vedado district of Havana.
Juan Clemente Zenea, writer, Cuban born, Bayamo , Granma (February 24, 1832).
He is recognized for having great influence in Cuban literature in Romanticism, marking a new line in the Latin American poetry. This monument sits at one end of Prado in Old Havana.
Alexander von Humboldt (14 September 1769 – 6 May 1859)
was a Prussian geographer, naturalist, explorer, and influential proponent of Romantic philosophy and science. Between 1799-1804, Humboldt traveled extensively in Latin America, exploring & describing it for the first time from a modern scientific point of view.
This guy sits along the new construction on Avenida del Puerto and I still haven’t been able to find any information about him. There is no plaque indicating who he is, I’ll let you know when I find out.
Mohammed Yasser Abdel Rahman Abdel Raouf Arafat al-Qudwa (24 August 1929 – 11 November 2004), popularly known as Yasser Arafat.
was a Palestinian political leader. He was Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) from 1969 to 2004 and President of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) from 1994 to 2004. Ideologically an Arab nationalist, he was a founding member of the Fatah political party, which he led from 1959 until 2004. Why he has a monument in Havana, I do not know.
Allan Kardec is the pen name of the French educator, translator and author Hippolyte Léon Denizard Rivail (3 October 1804 – 31 March 1869).
He is the author of the five books known as the Spiritist Codification, and is the founder of Spiritism.