Flag (Habana 23)

There is a rich irony that the Cuban Flag and the US Flag share so many elements, red white and blue, horizontal stripes, white stars, despite the enmity of the last half century, though if wasn’t always so.

HavanaThe flag was designed in 1849 by Narciso Lopez who after fighting for the Spanish elsewhere in South America, reversed allegiance when he came to Cuba and joined the revolutionary movement that was growing there. The romantic version of how he created the flag suggests that it represents a vision seen from his window one morning while exiled in New York; a vision of a triangle of clouds reddened by the light of dawn and pierced by the rays of Venus, the morning star. The remainder of the blue sky was broken by two horizontal bands of cloud (the blue seems variable; some flags with sky blue stripes but most with a deeper hue).

Now why this vision should be so exciting to Lopez that he should want to adopt it as a national flag is a bit of a mystery, and whether inspired by that vision or not, it is generally accepted that each of the flags elements has some symbolism.

The red triangle represents the blood shed in the pursuit of freedom and the ideals of the French Revolution; Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité. The three blue stripes are for the three districts of colonial Cuba, whilst the white bands symbolise the purity of the revolutionary cause.

A solitary white star represents independence and freedom, although it is also believed to have hinted at a future as part of the US, who supported the insurrection and ultimately took part in the war that overthrew Spanish rule.

One last point of interest Cuba doesn’t seem to mind where it sources its revolutionaries from; Guevara as we have seen was Argentinian.  Lopez was the son of a Venezuelan merchant.

Havana-32

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