HAVANA, Cuba, Mar 14 (ACN) The Columbia or American cemetery was declared a National Monument this Wednesday, when the 94th anniversary of the ratification of the Hay-Quesada Treaty is commemorated on the Isle of Youth, which restored Cuba's sovereignty over the former Isle of Pines.
The Platt Amendment, onerous appendix to the 1901 Constitution, in its Article VI omitted the Cuban territorial limits to the Isle of Pines and left for a future agreement by Treaty between Cuba and the U.S. the ownership of the isle, recalled Arsenio Sánchez Pantoja, member of the National Monuments Commission.
He said that the 21 years in dispute over the possession of this territory served to stimulate U.S. entrepreneurs to buy land, create speculative companies and settlements, where they established socioeconomic institutions with their entire symbolic load.
In 1902, Isle of Pines Land and Development founded the town of Columbia, located 12 kilometers from Nueva Gerona, and five years later created the Columbia Cemetery Society, exclusive for U.S. citizens who died in situ, a function maintained after the town disappeared and the original conditions of the massive Yankee colonization, he said.
He noted that in 1907 the first burial took place when Freeman Cooper died while the last citizen buried was Stefania Koening, in 1981.
The cemetery is a garden-type necropolis, with 135 lots each with a capacity for six or eight burials, and in general this memorial park rests the mortal remains of more than 300 of those settlers, belonging to all social classes, he added.
The cemetery transcends as the most important material testimony of a political and diplomatic battle won by Cuba on March 13, 1925, one of the episodes of the struggle for our sovereignty and an example of reaffirmation of anti-imperialism, independence and Cuban identity, he said.
The reasons are notified in Resolution number four, in which the Columbia Cemetery or American Cemetery is officially declared National Monument of the Republic of Cuba, located on the Columbia Highway, kilometer 12, Consejo Popular Juan Delio Chacón, a special municipality of Isle of Youth.
For her part, Beatriz Gil Sardá, a specialist from the Municipal Directorate of Heritage, said that a rehabilitation and restoration plan is being undertaken for each stage of this cemetery, which involves several entities in the territory, in order to make the installation act as a museum, which will also require lighting.