This Thursday Cartagena celebrates the centenary of the Heroes of Cavite and Santiago de Cuba monument. To commemorate this anniversary there will be an institutional act that will begin at five o’clock in the afternoon and will be open to the public, as announced by the mayor, Noelia Arroyo. The President of the Region, Fernando López Miras, and the Chief Admiral of the Arsenal, Pedro Luis de la Puente, will also be present at the event.
The Armed Forces will have a special role in this event, in which there will be a parade of the force and the occasion will be used to pay tribute to the fallen by laying a wreath at the foot of the monument. The events will also be attended by descendants of the combatants and the sculptor Juan González Pola, and by Rafael Altamira Cervera, president of the national commission that decided that the monument, declared to be of cultural interest, should be erected in Cartagena instead of Cádiz or Ferrol.
The City Council of Cartagena has carried out a restoration of the monument to coincide with the anniversary. The work has been completed, with the fountain and landscaping still to be finished. This action, which has involved an investment of around 60,000 euros, has served to act on the stone, sculptures and chains and to renew the appearance of the monument, as well as to clean the bronze sculptures, the monolith and the commemorative plaques.
The monument, which was inaugurated on 9 November 1923 by King Alfonso XIII and Queen Victoria Eugenia, is dedicated to the heroes who gave their lives in 1898, in the bays of Santiago de Cuba and Cavite, “in conditions of manifest inferiority with respect to the enemy, but who nevertheless obeyed the orders given by their superiors and defended Spain with great bravery”. King Alfonso XIII contributed both his personal and financial support to this monument.
During these one hundred years it has been common for the people of Cartagena to take family photographs at this monument located between the Town Hall and the dock of the port of Cartagena. For this reason, together with outstanding elements and original images of the inaugural act of one hundred years ago, the City Council has organised an exhibition, which will include the snapshots that citizens have voluntarily contributed.
The exhibition, which is commissioned by the chronicler Luis Miguel Pérez and the historian Alfonso Pagán, will be complemented by another of images of the period, promoted by the Port Authority of Cartagena with the newspaper La Verde, and both can be visited free of charge from Wednesday at the Town Hall.