The Maine Monument in Havana Bay
The monument in Maine, in the Cuban capital, honors the victims of the North American battleship which exploded in Havana Bay in 1898.
The Maine Victims Monument, located on the Malecon in Havana, near the National Hotel, was inaugurated on March 8, 1925 by Cuban President Alfredo Zayas, with the presence of senior army officers and the United States Navy.
The Maine monument was erected in honor of the American sailors who lost their lives in the mysterious explosion of the battleship USS Maine in the bay of Havana in 1898, a fact that served at that time as a pretext for the United States to declare war on Spain and will be introduced in Cuba during the almost completed independence deed initiated by José Martí in 1895.
Initially, the top of the monument was crowned by an imperial eagle that had its wings extended vertically. However, after being damaged by a cyclone, the eagle was subsequently placed, this time with horizontal wings to offer less resistance to wind forces.
Description of the Maine Monument.
The monument is created by Cuban engineer Felix Cabarrocas. It sits on a large granite base that symbolizes the indestructibility of Cuban sentiment. The bow of the galley that stands out in the monument marks the course towards the North, as indicating that Cuba received aid and relief during the independence war.
The two exactly equal columns, on the canyons and chains that were on the cruise at the time of the explosion, show the equality of the two nations, appreciated not from the material and strength point of view, but from that freedom.
For its part, the eagle on the top of the monument resembles the flight to the North, in search of his home.
In prominent places of the monument several cards could be read with messages in both English and Spanish. One of them expressed: «To the victims of Maine. The People of Cuba ».
While the other cites a fragment of the Joint Resolution: «Joint Resolution: The People of the Island of Cuba are and right ought to be Free and Independent. Congress of the United States of America »(The people of Cuba are, and by law must be, free and sovereign. Congress of the United States of America).
You can also see two bas-reliefs representing one of the Maine in front of the Morro de La Habana and the other the Maine sinking after the explosion. To conclude, a third bronze card shows the name of all the victims of the incident.
In the area, there were originally three busts of American personalities: one of President William McKinley, who was responsible for declaring war on Spain; another of Leonard Wood, governor of Cuba during the first American occupation and a third of Theodore Roosevelt, who participated in the campaign of the United States Army in the East during the Hispanic – Cuban – North American War.
Changes to the Maine Monument.
After the triumph of the Revolution, on January 18, 1961, the Monuments Board created by the Cuban revolutionary government agreed to modify the monument and as a result the eagle and busts were suppressed. Other changes were also made such as placing a card with the following inscription:
«To the victims of El Maine who were sacrificed for the imperialist voracity in their eagerness to seize the island of Cuba. February 1898-February 1961 »