The story of Cuba’s flag begins in 1848, when a Venezuelan general, named Narisco Lopez attempted to liberate Cuba from Spanish rule. The emblem he carried into battle, “El Estrella Solitaria”, the Lone Star, became a symbol of the revolution. However, it was not adopted as Cuba’s official flag until 1902, when Cuba became an independent republic.
Narisco took his ideas to his friend and fellow patriot, a poet named Miguel Teurbe Tolon, who brought Narisco’s ideas for inspiration to life. It is storied that as Narisco sat in a New York City park, on a muggy, stifling summer day, he fell asleep burdened with the task before him and his impending trip to Cuba. He felt the people needed a patriotic symbol to rally them to the cause. When he awoke, he was inspired by the beautiful blue of the sky, and thus his idea for a unifying symbol was born.
The flag that we recognize today as the mark of the Cuban people, is emblazoned with a beautiful story of symbolism. There are five alternating blue and white, horizontal stripes. Three are blue, and two are white.
The blue stripes are representative of the three military districts of Colonial Cuba, the central, occidental, and oriental districts, or more commonly known as the central, western, and eastern districts. However, the shade of blue used for the stripes is a matter of controversy. It is proposed that the blue stripes were initially a turquoise blue, but changed to an ocean blue color to save money when manufacturing the flag. It is also believed that navy blue may have been used as well. Yet, the flag that flies at the Cuban capital building today, bears the traditional ocean blue we have grown to recognize.
The white stripes represent the purity and justice of their patriotic cause. The triangle symbolizes equality, strength and loyalty. It is red in remembrance of all the Cuban patriots who lost their lives defending their struggle for independence. The triangle is also a representation of the heavy masonic influence throughout Cuba, which arrived with the English in 1763. The white, five-pointed star, (The Lone Star) positioned in the center of the triangle, stands for freedom and independence.
All of these beautiful symbols embody the essence of the Cuban people, a poetic spirit of resilience and grace.