The Cemetery, the State and the Exiles: A Study of Cementerio Colón, Havana, and Woodlawn Cemetery, Miami

UTS ePress
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Portal Journal of Multidisciplinary International Studies, 2011, 8 (1), pp. 1 - 19
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Cementerio Colón, Havana, is one of the great historical cemeteries of the world, and is generally held to be the second most important in Latin Americain historical and architectural termsafter La Recoleta in Buenos Aires. It was built in 1869 by the Galician architect Calixto Arellano de Loira y Cardoso, a graduate of Madrids Royal Academy of Arts of San Fernando, and who became Colóns first occupant when he died before his work was completed. Yet for all its elegance and grandeur Cementerio Colón conceals as much as it displays. Empty tombs and desecrated family chapels disfigure the stately march of Cuban family memorials even in the most prominent of the avenues, and away from the central cross-streets, ruin. Many of these are the tombs of exiled families, whose problems with caring for their dead have been complicated by residence in new countries. In this article we consider both the earthly remains of the ancestors and how the Cuban-American diaspora of Miami tries to come to terms with what it is powerless to prevent.
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