Cuba erects giant concrete flag in front of U.S. Embassy
Cuba has erected a giant concrete flag outside the United States embassy in the capital Havana as hopes for improved bilateral relations under the Joe Biden administration fade in the island nation.
The 12-meter-high flag sits in a plaza that has been the site of many pro-government rallies, some targeting the United States.
Neither the official newspaper of the ruling Communist Party, Granma, nor the official Cubadebate state news website, which usually makes such announcements with great fanfare, mentioned the flag.
The state-owned construction and maintenance company ECOM was the first official body to mention the flag on its Facebook page.
“This monumental construction is now mounted on our anti-imperialist stage: our flag, which has never been a mercenary and on which shines a brighter star to be alone,” the company wrote.
The stage was built in 2000 during a legal and political battle between Cuba and the United States over the fate of six-year-old boy Elian Gonzalez.
His mother had died as the couple crossed the Strait of Florida from Cuba to Miami and the island nation authorities wanted to repatriate him to be with his father in Cuba.
In 2006, authorities planted 138 Cuban flags on the stage as a “monument against terrorism” inaugurated by the late Fidel Castro, the Cuban revolutionary hero then president.
“Frankly, I don’t know what it is. A monument, a sculpture, a parasol, a giant pulpit?” Maikel Jose Rodriguez, editor-in-chief of Artecubano, the official publication of the National Council for the Fine Arts, wrote on Facebook.
“What can this horror offer Cuban monumental art? Very little. In fact, nothing except mockery.”
Cubans seem less than fond of the monument.
“If you look at it from the back, it’s a guillotine,” Whigman Montoya wrote on Facebook, while Aristides Pestana described it as “drowned in the asphalt, stiff, gray and dead.”
Relations between Havana and Washington were increasingly strained under the Donald Trump administration, which stepped up sanctions against Cuba.
But hopes that things would improve under President Biden have so far proved unfounded.
Biden has made no overtures to the island nation while remaining steadfast about human rights abuses by the Havana government.