It was a steamy hot day in New York City and General Narciso López, of Venezuelan origin, had joined the fight for Cuba’s independence. Exhausted from planning all that was entailed in bringing Revolution to Cuba,He was concerned about the pending arrival in Cuba. He felt a flag was necessary to add patriotic fervor to the endeavor. Full of emotion, he went to his friend, a poet and soon-to-be patriot, Miguel Teurbe Tolon, who incorporated Narciso’s ideas and designed the flag which was later sewn by Emilia Teurbe Tolon.
And so it was: Three light blue stripes, later changed to ocean blue, representing Cuba’s three sections at the time, Western, Central and Eastern. The two white stripes representing the purity and justice of the patriotic liberators’ motives. While the lone white star within the equilateral red traingle represents the unity of our people upon the blood spilled by our revolutionary heroes.
When Cuba became independent from Spain on May 20, 1902, Cespedes Flag was officially designated the flag of the city of his birth: Bayamo, Oriente, and the flag which Venezuelan-born, Cuban patriot, Narciso López flew in the city of Cárdenas on May 19, 1850, was officially designated the Cuban national flag. In honor of Cespedes and the bravery of the residents of Bayamo, who during the 10 Year War burned the prosperous city to the ground and moved to the forrest rather than surrender it to the Spaniards, Bayamo was proclaimed a “National Monument” and from then on would have its name proceeded by the initials M.N. for “Monumento Nacional.” Since Cuba gained independence from Spain, the flag of Bayamo is displayed alongside the Cuban national flag at official ceremonies and events.
I am very happy to be Cuban and what’s really interesting was learning that the first Cuban flag was designed in NYC, the city fate has brought me to. It’s been now 16 years since I left Cuba, and the fire is burning inside of me stronger than ever for my beautiful country.