A monument to Cuban patriot and poet Jose Marti is being proposed for the Fells Point plaza at the foot of Broadway by a group of Baltimore Hispanics.
Luis Queral, a retired surgeon who fled Cuba after Fidel Castro took over, said yesterday that the group Project Marti has begun fund raising for a monument.
He said the monument is in "the preliminary stages," but specific plans and designs for the monument should be completed within a month. Architect Luis Ortega, who chairs the Governor's Commission on Hispanic Affairs, said he has agreed to design the monument.
"We want to build it as a gift from the Hispanic community to the city," said Queral, a resident of Baltimore for 36 years.
Haydee Rodriguez, the mayor's liaison to the Hispanic community, expressed support for the project, but cautioned that Project Marti would have to win the approval of Fells Point residents and businesses before the monument could be built.
Cubans make up a small percentage of the city's growing Hispanic population -- estimated about 25,000 -- but their influence is great. Queral announced the project in this month's issue of his Spanish-language newsletter, El Mensajero (The Messenger).
Born in Havana in 1853, Marti published his first poetry at age 15. He founded a newspaper at age 16, wrote a column that appeared in print throughout Latin America and became active in efforts to liberate Cuba and other countries from colonial rule.
"Others go to bed with their mistresses," he wrote in an 1890 letter to a friend, "I with my ideas."
He died in battle in 1895, fighting for Cuban independence from Spain. Before joining the battle, he lived for a time in New York, where he prepared the takeover of Cuba by a political party he founded.
Pub Date: 5/21/96