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Little Havana In Miami Now A National Treasure

Dorathy Gass

There’s a neighborhood in Miami that conjures much emotion by mere mention of its name. Little Havana is the heart of the Cuban community in Miami and was an area that Cubans came to when they left their country after the revolution that took place in 1959. A passionate and vibrant neighborhood, it’s where individuals danced within the streets after news broke of Fidel Castro’s passing late last year; it’s where political figures would go to put down Cuban government and secure votes from Cuban-Americans; a community where cigars and café con leche make their rounds; and despite the Cuban roots, it is still an area where immigrants from other countries head to when they come to the U.S. Despite the fact that many Cubans have made their way to differing parts of Southern Florida and beyond, it still has a huge Cuban flavor and feel to it.

And it has now also been declared a national treasure.

On Friday, January 27th, The National Trust for Historic Preservation announced that, in collaboration with Live Healthy Little Havana, PlusUrbia Design, and Dade Heritage Trust; Miami’s Little Havana would now officially become a national treasure.

CNN reported that Stephanie Meeks, National Trust’s president and CEO stated that the community is a symbol of an American immigrant’s experience. She goes on to state that the neighborhood is a unique area, thriving, and a place thousands call home. Meeks noted that the nonprofit welcomes the urban revival that is adding new life into the cities across the U.S., but their viewpoint is that growth should not occur at the cost of historical communities, such as Little Havana. Meek stated that National Trust will work to celebrate and preserve this Miami neighborhood to make sure it stays a vital, healthy, and inexpensive community.

With Little Havana becoming a nation treasure, the not-for-profit is unveiling a planning process with long-term objectives in mind that will see work done with partners and residents, aimed at protecting the neighborhood, while future planning takes place.

Tomas Regalado, Miami’s Mayor commented on the declaration stating it will preserve the history and diverse culture of this community. He goes on to state that for hundreds of thousands of Latin American immigrants since the ‘60s, Little Havana has been a destination that promised a new life in the U.S. He noted that this declaration confirms the community’s cultural impact as it relates to the immigrant experience.