The pain of exiles is palpable on this landscaped street median in the center of what is called Cuban Memorial Boulevard. A string of small monuments commemorates the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion by the 2506 Brigade and the Cuban wars of independence in the 1800s. The seven monuments include the bust of Cuban independence fighter Antonio Maceo, statues of the Virgin Mary, and anti-communist crusader Tony Izquierdo (once a suspect in the John F. Kennedy assassination), and a 16-foot-long raised map of the island of Cuba. The map bears a weathered inscription by Cuban poet and patriot Jose Marti: “La patria es agonia y deber” (“The homeland is agony and duty”).
Colonial and masonry vernacular houses from the 1920s line the boulevard, which is still used for political gatherings, parades, and demonstrations. Every January, uniformed schoolchildren line up here to march in a birthday tribute to Marti. Exiles leave flowers or touch the statue of Mary for good luck as they walk by.