Cuban Memorials

Lonely Planet review

The two blocks of SW 13th Ave south of Calle Ocho contain a series of monuments to Cuban and Cuban-American heroes, including those that died in the Cuban War of Independence and anti-Castro conflicts. The memorials include the Eternal Torch in Honor of the 2506th Brigade for the exiles who died during the Bay of Pigs Invasion; a huge Cuba brass relief depicting a map of Cuba, dedicated to the ‘ideals of people who will never forget the pledge of making their Fatherland free’; a José Martí memorial ; and a Madonna statue , which is supposedly illuminated by a shaft of holy light every afternoon. Bursting out of the island in the center of the boulevard is a massive ceiba tree, revered by followers of Santeria. The tree is an unofficial reminder of the poorer Marielitos (those who fled Cuba in the 1980 Mariel Boatlift) and successive waves of desperate-for-work Cubans, many of whom are santeros (Santeria practitioners) who have come to Miami since the 1980s.

Just away from the main drag are a fountain and monument, collectively entitled La Plaza de la Cubanidad , which is a tribute both to the Cuban provinces and to the people who were drowned in 1994 while trying to leave Cuba on a ship, 13 de Marzo, which was sunk by Castro’s forces just off the coast.