Miami’s ‘Little Havana’ declared US national treasure
Miami, Jan 28 (IANS) Little Havana, the historic heart of Miami’s large Cuban exile community, has become an officially designated national treasure of the US, it was announced here.
The honour was proclaimed by the National Trust for Historic Preservation at a ceremony on Friday attended by Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado, Efe news reported.
“Little Havana has been the destination for hundreds of thousands of Latin American immigrants since the 1960s seeking the promise of a new life in America,” the Cuban-born Regalado said, calling the neighbourhood a southern counterpart of New York’s Ellis Island, where millions of new arrivals to the US were processed.
Stephanie Meeks, president and CEO of the National Trust, stressed that Little Havana continues to be “a thriving, entirely unique place that thousands of people currently call home”.
The National Trust is working with partners in the area to ensure that Little Havana “remains a healthy, vital and affordable urban neighbourhood”, Meeks said.
Little Havana occupies only 7 per cent of the surface area of Miami city, yet it accounts for nearly 20 per cent of rental units and more than a quarter of those that go for less than $1,000 a month, according to figures from the National Trust.
Meeks spoke of a need to protect Little Havana from some of the negative outcomes that often accompany urban redevelopment, such as the destruction of historic buildings and the displacement of existing residents.