"Terrorist regime of Cuba restores U.S.S. Maine heroes monument"
Via The Sons of Spanish American War Veterans Cuba Libre Camp 172
"It was a little before 10 p.m. that February night in 1898 when a fiery explosion roiled the normally calm waters of Havana Harbor, blowing out windows in the city and sinking the USS Maine to the bottom of the bay, just the mast and some twisted metal wreckage left to poke above the waves.
Havana's monument to the 266 U.S. sailors who died that night was dedicated 27 years later as a tribute to lasting Cuban-American friendship, a thank-you for Washington's help in shedding the yoke of Spanish colonial rule, which was known for its cruelty.
The years since have been unkind to the twin-columned monument, and to U.S.-Cuba ties. But while relations between Washington and Havana remain in deep freeze, the monument, at least, is now getting a facelift.
The restoration project is fraught with symbolism, with the monument's scars telling the story of more than a century of shifts in the complex relationship and changing interpretations of the marble structure.
"Of the monuments in Havana, that's one that really is struggling to contain all of these different historical episodes," said Timothy Hyde, a historian of Cuban architecture at Harvard University's Graduate School of Design. "It doesn't just symbolize any longer this single moment of the sinking of the Maine. It symbolizes all these periodic moments of antipathy and hostility and challenges between the two nation-states."
Soon after the USS Maine suddenly sank off the coast of this Caribbean capital 115 years ago Friday, the United States accused Spanish colonial authorities of responsibility in the blast.
"Remember the Maine!" became a rallying cry in the States, and after the U.S. victory in the brief Spanish-American war, Spain ceded control over Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Philippines and Guam.
The Maine monument was inaugurated in 1925 and bears the names of all 266 sailors. Two statues standing shoulder-to-shoulder at the base represent a maternal America guiding the maiden Cuba into independence.
Words etched into the marble quote an 1898 U.S. congressional resolution recognizing a free Cuba, and the massive bronze eagle that long capped the monument faced due north to symbolize Washington's promise to return home after helping the island break from Spain. More