Radio26.Cu – Matanzas, Cuba


Our Martí, from the passion of two men

Gloria Machado León 6 agosto, 2014

Sculpture body, located in the center of the well known Liberation Square

The reazon why  Doctor Ramón Luis Miranda made  in Matanzas a monument to honor his patient and friend José Martí, should be, perhaps, a very simple question. The physician who was based in New York, was born in the well known Athens of Cuba in 1839, and had very deep its hometown, like many of those from Matanzas who moved to Havana and later to the major European cities.

Just in 1905 when the first Havana sculpture stood on the island dedicated to the Apostle, he dreamed of a similar project for his  city between bridges.

And such was his commitment to evoke the legacy of the most universal of Cubans that near his own death and still fearing not to  save the necessary funding would ask his daughter Angelina Miranda de Quesada, by provision in his will: “… if the Martí monument in Matanzas, had not collected sufficient funds for placement, put what is lacking in my name, so that it is properly installed … “.

Known as the “doctor of Martí,” Miranda was able to attend the opening ceremony of the Body Sculpture, on February 24th, 1909. Returning to New York, in early December, his health was severely affected. He died on January 27th, 1910.

By then, he had already completed its purpose through the collaboration of the Sicilian sculptor Salvatore Buemi, who welcomed his cause as part of a sympathy between him and the Cubans. “… We are insular, warm earth, fiery temperament, open heart … and fought courageously for freedom,” he said once.


Ramón Luis Miranda, a physician and friend of Marti.

The first time he met Marti was enough for him to never  forget him and since then remained between them a pleasant friendship.

In exile the doctor was recognized by the accuracy of his diagnoses and treatments, hence it was called once  to meet the call of someone who suffered frequently from ailments.

“He ordered to look  for me … and I went to his place … I found him in his modest and narrow room, bedridden, feverish, nervous; when he was already examined, I diagnosed bronchitis  and he will soon be cured; he had been alarmed thinking that his illness could get worst … “said Miranda.

“Doctor, I said, cure me soon, I have a sacred mission to fulfill for my country, I dont care to die after accomplish it ; Death to me is nothing else than the loving sister of life. “

This was the meeting that marked him “… since then I felt respect for him , admiration, and understood  his greatness and immense love for Cuba,” admitted the doctor.

Ricardo Hodelín and Damaris Fuentes , both professors of the Higher Institute of Medical Sciences of Santiago de Cuba highlights  that the doctor from Matanzas  more than relieve his  physical ailments, he cared about dicreasing his daily stress. These authors refer that he  had the virtue of calming and lessening in his spirit the exaltations  produced by the unjust facts, and when dealing with complex situations he used to go to the “doctor” as he called him, to hear his opinion.

It is therefore not surprising obsession to live the optional death which occurred once the friend. In 1905 he proposed to erect a sculpture, an initiative funded by the Matanzas own public collection.

With the help of his son, Gonzalo de Quesada, undertake the monument that best reflected in the island’s figure and personality of Cuban National Hero, to have their advice and the Quesada himself, considered the spiritual son and executor of his Master documents. The sculptor chosen was the Italian, Salvatore Buemi.


This Martí Monument is considered the most faithful in the Island to his figure and personality

The project took shape when the Charge d’Affaires of Cuba in Italy drafted the contract, signed in August 1906 between Miranda and Buemi.

It is said that the Marti of Salvatore is in meditation pose, pose rather evokes his speech and exhortation; intent highlights the file that is in her right hand, where you can read the words “Cuba Libre”.

In addition to the accurate dimensions of Miranda and Quesada, Buemi studied for a year history of the Wars of Independence carried out by the Cubans and the actions of Martí.

Another element of the set is the Statue of Liberty. The body, like the rest of the pieces on the other side of the ocean. He used to do four females. Posed shirtless for his wife, while the face, arms and legs correspond to other Italian youth. His figure holding broken chains, symbol of sovereignty and a half-finished gesture suggests his cry of independence.

The monument consists of a granite pedestal Ravena Lombardy. The statue of Martí reaches 2.5 meters, and the work as a whole, exceeds five. Ornaments also has a verse and Marti a flag at his feet. In mid-1908, parts were ready and were exhibited in Rome.

Buemi Salvatore was born in Sicily, Italy. Very young emigrated to the United States where he married and currently records of their offspring. Like many of his generation agreed to work on the island, where today there are three of his productions: Matanzas, a Monument to Ignacio Agramonte in Camaguey, and Angel Rebelde, located at the National Capitol, described as the second allegorical sculpture in the world to Satan.

However, according to notes, the Italian remains overlapped in the History of Art in Cuba, because its parts do not show up.


Days before the Monument site were buried in its base newspapers of the time and texts such as: Isamaelillo (1882), Simple Verses (1901) with a dedication of the Apostle and one of his letters to Dr. Miranda.

Also a coin collection, including an Italian, Buemi placed there by himself who traveled to Matanzas expressly to see the completion of his work is located was deposited.

The February 24, 1909, on the anniversary 14 of the uprisings in East and Matanzas and as part of resumed the struggle for independence organized by the Cuban national hero, arrived at the famous Freedom Park were brought together to unveil the Monument .

Present the doctor, by the Italian who materialized his project, the Hymn of Bayamo notes were heard, a composition of Jose White and the Marseillaise, all played by the Band of Fire. Among the speeches, also recited a sonnet of Inspiration “the poet of the flag,” Bonifacio Byrne.

Since then, the Sculpture body  pays perennial tribute to  the most universal of Cubans, after the efforts of his physician and friend who did not rest until you see it completed.

The January 27, 1910, just a few hours of the 43rd anniversary of the birth of José Martí, her confessor, Doctor Ramón Luis Miranda, despite the efforts of the doctors who attended him, ceased to exist. His evocation of the man of profound words and dream country was already there, placed for posterity, for the years stand as one of the elements that identify the “matanceridad”.

In October 2013 the  Sculpture body suffered structural damage, caused by a misdemeanor in cleaning.

See Finishing touches to restore Sculpture Body in Liberation Square


Original text by Jenny Hernández Suárez on Agust 6th, 2014



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