José Miguel Gómez Statue in La Habana


By Contested Histories Initiative

José Miguel Gómez was a celebrated military general who led Cuban forces during the wars of independence against Spain in the 19th century and served as Cuba’s second president between 1909 and 1913. The monument was first inaugurated in 1936. The statue has consistently been a source of contention. It was taken down in 1959 after the Cuban revolution, restored in 1999 and, more recently, underwent renovation in 2020. The statue has come under increasing scrutiny due to Gómez’s involvement in suppressing AfroCuban rebels who rose against the Cuban Government in 1912. The violence perpetrated by the government forces is estimated to have led to between 3000-6000 deaths, leading to accusations of ethnic cleansing against Gómez. However, this is highly contentious, and his place in Cuban national history has been defended. There are currently no initiatives in Cuba to address the issue.

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