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Who was Maximo Gomez and the Statue in Miami's Little Havana

An obvious component of Miami's diaspora, Little Havana's Cuban community is world famous and centered along the bustling strip of 8th Street known as Calle Ocho.

If you've ever visited, you'll no doubt know Domino Park as the unofficial hang out of local residents and likely the most common landmark sited on travel guides - although it is far more subtle than the other sites of the strip!

Bust of Generalissimo Maximo Gomez in Little Havana
The bust of Generalissimo Maximo Gomez in Calle Ocho's Domino Park, also known as Gomez Park

Enter the park and you'll encounter the handsome bust of a revolutionary from across the ocean, one General Maximo Gomez.

Gomez's military leadership played a crucial role in establishing Cuba's independence from Spain during the War of Independence, from 1895-1898. While the conflict is relatively well documented, many people do not know that Gomez also fought as a soldier in the Spanish Army in the Dominican Republic, which was defeated in 1865.

After the Spaniards left the Dominican Republic in defeat, Maximo moved to Cuba where, in 1868 he'd take part in the rebel uprising against the very army he once served. Gomez led the military campaign in Guantanamo, Cuba to rid the city of the Spaniard loyalists who were the wealthy coffee producers at the time.

A very interesting and little known fact pertains to the kerchief he wore around his neck. General Maximo Gomez wore it to cover a gun-shot wound which remained open after healing poorly.

There's a statue of a more complete Gomez riding horseback in Havana circa 1935, regally facing the sea and standing tall on a column. The more subtle bust in Little Havana was installed far more recently, in 2001. Perhaps a tribute both to the old soldier and the artists who captured his image in centuries past.



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