Cuba Marks Anniversary of First Hoisting of National Banner

This past Wednesday the population of the city of Cárdenas in Western Cuba marked the 160 anniversary of the first hoisting of the Cuban national flag with a number of cultural and entertainment activities.

On May 19, 1850, the flag that later became a national symbol flew over the ruins of a Spanish fort, the site now occupied by the restored La Dominica Hotel, declared a National Monument in 2000. The flag was carried to Cárdenas in the failed expedition led by General Narciso López from Venezuela, which signaled the start of the armed struggle against Spanish colonialism, a movement which at the time favored annexing Cuba to the U.S.

This banner was officially selected as a national symbol on April 11, 1869 by the Guáimaro Constituent Assembly (organized by patriots fighting against Spain), and was carried by the independence forces in the 1895 war. The festive activities held in Cárdenas paid homage to the patriot Miguel Teurbe Toulon, the designer of the flag, and his wife Emilia Teurbe Toulon, who made it. The three blue stripes represent the departments in which Cuba was divided in the nineteenth century, and the two white stripes expressed the strength of the independence ideals.

The red triangle symbolizes equality, fraternity and liberty, and in turn the necessary blood shed in the struggle for independence; the white star, alone, appears as a symbol of absolute freedom among other peoples.

For the original report go to

Photo: A woman holds a Cuban flag as cowboys prepare to compete during the 13th Boyeros Cattleman’s Fair in Havana, Saturday, March 29, 2008. The fair is a celebration of more than two centuries of Cuban rodeo tradition, bringing together top riders from all over the island who split into squads of East and West and compete for awards denoting best province and best overall rider. You can find it in its original context at

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