Cuba unveils statue of national hero sent from U.S.

Source: Xinhua| 2017-10-21 04:58:52|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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HAVANA, Oct. 20 (Xinhua) -- A replica statue of Cuban national hero, Jose Marti, also located in New York's Central Park was unveiled on Friday in Havana amidst a recent setback in relations between the island and Washington.

The bronze monument shows Marti at the time of his death in eastern Cuba in 1895 and it's an exact replica of the one first placed in 1965 in New York and sculpted by U.S. artist Anna Hyatt Huntington.

The monument is 5 meters tall, weighs over 8 tons and it is located on a black granite base with engravings in Spanish and English about Marti's life.

The piece, whose cost wasn't revealed, was financed by donations from several U.S. institutions, Cuban-Americans and other foreigners who responded to the initiative of the Bronx Museum in New York to place this statue in Havana.

According to Eusebio Leal, Havana's historian and who for over two decades chaired efforts to place the monument in the Cuban capital, said its arrival reaffirms that beyond "erratic policies" by U.S. authorities this a sign of friendship between both countries.

"Well beyond mistakes and erratic policies by those who try to destroy bridges and communication between our peoples, there is respect for the right of others and that is what this monument signifies," said Leal to reporters.

Leal called for the statue to become a symbol of unity between the two countries, now threatened by Donald Trump's rollback of the rapprochement both nations initiated in 2015 and Washington's harsh measures after alleged "attacks" to U.S. diplomats on the island.

"Today by unveiling this monument that comes from the U.S., we say that dialogue and understanding is the only possible path, there is no other, because otherwise we would be ready like him (Marti) to die for what we believe in," he said.

Jose Marti is the most venerated Cuban historical figure and his ideas are taught at schools considering them the founding principles of the island's revolutionary struggle.

This statue is the only one that exists in the world of the hero at the time of his death and it was inspired by a painting of Cuban artist Esteban Valderrama.

"The hero appears sublimated by the idea that he is going to give up his life for a just and exceptional cause. Just what he had affirmed hours before his death to his closest colleagues," added Leal.

The original is located in a square in New York's Central Park along with the monuments to South American independence heroes Simon Bolivar and Jose de San Martin.

The monument will be inaugurated in an official government ceremony on Jan. 28, 2018 on the same date Marti was born.