Monument to the Victims of the USS Maine (Havana)

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The monument around 1930.

The Monument to the Victims of the USS Maine (Spanish: Monumento a las víctimas del Maine) was built in 1925 in on the Malecón boulevard at the end of Línea street, in the Vedado neighborhood of Havana, Cuba, built in honor of the American sailors that died in the explosion of USS Maine in 1898, which served as the pretext for the United States to declare war on Spain thus starting the Spanish–American War. The ship had anchored at Havana three weeks prior at the request of American consul Fitzhugh Lee.

The monument was crowned with an American eagle. Its wings extended vertically in such a way that a hurricane damaged the monument the following year. The original eagle was replaced in 1926 by one with horizontal wings. The first one is now in the U.S. Embassy building in Havana.

There were originally three busts of Americans: President William McKinley, who declared war on Spain; Leonard Wood, first military governor in Cuba, and President Theodore Roosevelt.

On 18 January 1961, the eagle and busts of the Americans were removed by a mob, because it was considered a "symbol of imperialism". The following inscription was later added:

To the victims of the Maine who were sacrificed by the imperialist voracity and their desire to gain control of the island of Cuba
February 1898 – February 1961

(A las víctimas de El Maine que fueron sacrificadas por la voracidad imperialista en su afán de apoderarse de la isla de Cuba.
Febrero 1898 – Febrero 1961
)

The eagle's head was later given to Swiss diplomats. It too is now in the Embassy of the United States, Havana building. The body and the wings are stored in the Havana City History Museum. The museum's curator believes that good relations with the U.S. will be symbolized by the reunification of the parts of the eagle.[1]

The monument today

Other monuments to USS Maine are located in the U.S. including: Columbus Circle in New York City; Key West; Arlington National Cemetery; and Annapolis. (See USS Maine: Memorials)

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