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Cuba - Political Flags

Last modified: 2006-02-25 by dov gutterman
Keywords: cuba | july 26 | alpha 66 | brigade 2506 | organizacion autentica | autentica | communist party | omega 7 |
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26 July Movement

[Cuba 26 July Movement]
image by Ivan Sache , 22 December 1999

[Cuba 26 July Movement]
image by Maikel Arista-Salado, 4 June 2005

In the center appears frequently a star (white or yellow) or M26, 26-7, 26J, etc...
Jaume Olle'

The flag of the 26 July Movement, as far as I can remember, didn't spell 26 de Julio but M-26-7. Perhaps there is two different versions.
Carlos M. Ramos , 7 Febuary 2000

The July 26th Movement flag appeared in several ways, two of which were most prominent: one was the red above the black with a white five point star in the centre, the other was the acronym 'M-26-7' in white letters in the middle, so that the top half overlapped the red and the bottom the black. Alternately it could appear with the '26 de Julio' in the middle or the phrase "Libertad o Muerte" (Liberty or Death) in the middle in white letters sometimes script, sometimes printed. I have seen the originals of these versions in the Cuban revolutionary museum in Havana (formerly Batista's palace).
Greg Dubecky, 18 February 2001

Eons ago, my parents' Caribbean cruise stopped in Havana. It was shortly after Castro had seized power, and realtions with the US had not been severed. They brought me back a souvenir flag/pin which was red over black with a gold "26" on it. Whether that had any official status or was just an abridged version of a larger flag (to fit in a lapel) I don't know.
Al Kirsch, 19 February 2001 and 25 May 2002

The 26th of July Movement (Movimiento 26 de Julio) constituted Fidel Castro's personal political following during the anti-Batista period, founded 26 July 1956 (?), from which the Communist Party was formed.
Source: Political Handbook of the World 1997
Jarig Bakker, 26 May 2002

Your source may not be reliable. My memory was that 26 July was the anniversary of Castro's unsuccessful assault on the Moncada Barracks. See <>. The year was 1953. Cuba's Communist Party is much older than that.
Al Kirsch, 26 May 2002

On 15 May 1947 Fidel Castro (while a student at the Univerity of Havana) was a founding member of the Partido Del Pueblo Cubano (later Partido Ortodoxo), devoted to political reform. In 1952 he ran for Congress on this party ticket, but Batista cancelled the elections in a bloodless coup. Castro consequently founded a revolutionary movement which mounted its first attack (by 100 men) on the Batista regime on 26 July 1953 at Moncada Army Barracks, Santiago.  The attack was a dismal failure.  The few survivors were tried and imprisoned, but Castro's speech in his defence was a propaganda coup as a call for revolution ("la historia me absolverá"). He was released on 15 May 1955 in a general amnesty.  He and a few followers went to Mexico on 24 June 1955, and in July 1955 organised the Movimiento Revolucionario 26 de Julio (MR-26-7), named for their first revolutionary act in 1953.  On 30 November 1956, 300 men (led by Frank País) wearing red and black armbands with the July 26 emblem (the first public display of this insignia?) attacked police headquarters, the Customs House and the harbour headquarters in Santiago.  Two days later, 80 men led by Castro in a leaky boat ("Granma") landed in Cuba to resume to 1953 revolution.  This too was a disaster, but 12 survivors fled to the Sierra Maestra and organised the first guerrilla unit of the 26 July Movement on 18 December 1956.  Twenty-five months later the victorious movement entered Havana and Batista fled.  The former Batista Presidential Palace is now the Museum of the Revolution and contains "Granma", and countless artifacts and insignia and flags of the 26 July Movement. To this day Castro wears a red/black lozenge of the 26 July Movement as his shoulder rank insignia for General of the Army.  (Other rank insignia are Russian-style shoulder boards.)
During a few speeches in 1961, Castro began to refer to the revolution as "socialist" and Marxist-Leninist.  On 3 October 1965 the new Communist Party was founded (originally established in 1925).  The First Congress of the Communist Party met in 1975 and drafted a new constitution.
T.F. Mills, 30 May 2002

In Cuba there is a flag that's seen almost as the National Flag but given scant attention as it doesn't enjoy the status and rank of the national flag.  I’m talking about the flag of the 26 July Movement – the organization that deposed the dictator Batista, and led by Fidel Castro (1953-1959).
The Movement adopted this name as it was on 26 July 1953 that the struggle began to evict the tyrant from the Presidency. On that day occurred the assault on regime strongholds of Moncada and Carlos Manuel de Cispedes – the former the second most important in the country. This historic event made Fidel a household name in Cuba.  From that point to the final victory, the 26 July Movement become known the length and breadth of the country, its emblem stuck on doors and windows as a sign of approval.  That custom stuck, and on anniversaries of the Revolution, both flags are hoisted together.
The flag is used de facto, that is, it has no official standing at law but is used informally as a sign of loyalty to the Government and a signal of approval.
In many workplaces, offices and so on, it often appears together with the national flag, in many cases of equal height and size with the national flag, notwithstanding that it has no other status than that of an historical curiosity that had its time and place in the struggle against Batista.
To note is its similarity with the flag of the Sandinistas – although with colours reversed.
Maikel Arista-Salado (translated by Tony Burton), 21 September 2004

Currently this flag is of official use, almost at the same level as thre national flag. It is also shown on the site of the Heralatin School of Cuba at <>.
Maikel Arista-Salado (translated by Esteban Rivera), 3 June 2005

Communist Flags

At Ebay there were few Cuban Communist flags:
1) at <> :
This flag was adquired in Cuba a while ago. It is made of fabric, the letters are sew to the flag and the center figure of Lazaro Pe-a (he was minister of CTC (the Cuban Workers Union) back in the 70's.He died long time ago.The faces around his portrait are all painted on the fabric (interesting effect) ) and it says in espanish "And the seed sprouts" on the other side the embroided flag of the CTC is beautifully embroided and still very bright. The flag measures 48"x30" and except for a yellowish tone in some parts due to age, it is in very good condition.
2) at <cgi.ebay.comitem=1076121595> :
This flag was adquired in Cuba a while ago. It is made of fabric, the letters are sew to the flag and the center figure of Fidel Castro and Camilo Cienfuegos is beautifully embroided and still very bright. The flag measures 48"x30" and has some dirt but no rips. Both sides have the same design. The curious part of this flag is the historical significance. In 1970, the cuban government took most workers to the cane fields because they projected the largest sugarcane harvest in history (10 million tons of sugar) They only got to 8.5 millions and the economy went down the toilet because the rest of the industries were niglected. Every time they reached to a new million of tons they would make these flags and distributed to the best sugarcane cutters (a BRIGADE). Now, this flag was prepared to give to the first BRIGADE to get to the 9th million. BRIGADA NONA-MILLONARIA. So this flag never had the use it was intented and probably the reason it survived until today. The XVI anniversary is based on the July 26 of 1956 attack to Cuartel Moncada and the beginning of the Revolution.
3) at <> :
This flag was adquired in Cuba a while ago. It is made of fabric, the letters are sew to the flag and the center figure of Lazaro Pe-a (he was minister of CTC (the Cuban Workers Union) back in the 70's. He died long time ago) is beautifully embroided and still very bright. The flag measures 48"x30" and except for a yellowish tone in some parts due to age, it is in very good condition.
Rob Raeside, 21 Febuary 2002

Not sure if it was official but I have seen a pictures of Cuban revolutionaries that used as a upper shoulder badge a flag divided horizontaly red over black with a yellow star in the middle.
Marc Pasquin, 6 March 2002

I recall a button in the shape of a flag which was red over black with a yellow "26" (not a star). My parents brought it back from Cuba not long after Castro took over. Is this an alternative design to the one with the star, or is it just a tourist souvenir?
Al Kirsch, 6 March 2002

That was probably the 26 July Movement flag that was used by the revolutionaries. Initially, many of them (including Castro) were not communist. The Communist party played a large part in trying to get these guys to become communist in the beginning, but failed until later.
Rob Raeside, 6 March 2002

Cuba has a rich flag heritage, and markedly so over the last 50 years.  Society has become more flag conscious (“vexilogizado”).  Trade Unions all have their flags, and so do other mass oragnziations, that in reality function as political organizations properly so-called in these sense that they are the means of mobilizing all or most of the population.  The greater number of these flags of “Mass movements” have a red field, given the historic association with the communists. I would personally be very interested to know if the Soviets were the first to adopt that usage, or whether there were historical antecedents.
Most of these flags have a red field with the organization emblem in the centre – eg the National Pioneers organization and those of Committees for the Defense of the Revolution (entities for political repression but with a popular façade).
Maikel Arista-Salado (translated by Tony Burton), 21 September 2004

Directorio Revolucionario Flag (?)

image resized from <>

At <> there is an image of flag titled: "Bandera del Directorio Revolucionario"
Any more information about this flag?
Dov Gutterman, 4 October 2002

Pioneer Organizations Flags

José Marti Pioneers' Association
image by Maikel Arista-Salado, 21 June 2005

One of the last remnants of the Pioneer organizations which were to replace scouting in the Soviet system. Here is the flag of the José Marti Pioneers' Association of Cuba.
Chrystian Kretowicz, 9 January 2002

Pioneers Organization "Jose Martí" - this organization groups the primary and elementary education students and those of high school, until 9º degree.
This one is the ordinary flag, the "protocolar" one have a yellow fringe imitating silk, in all the edge, is used preceded of Union de Jovenes Comunistas (UJC - Something like Young Comunist Union) and the one of Communist Party of Cuba (PCC), and all, naturally, of the National flag. It's, although not officially, an organization with political intentions, controlled by Young Communist  Union. The initiation in these organizations takes place with a traditional act which consist of giving, depending the student's category, a neckerchief, blue or red, that ties to the neck and since that  moment it form a part of the scholastic uniform. It's very exciting. I made it twice, first when I received blue neckerchief, and second when I received the red one, because I had passed to 4th degree, that is a new category; in high school the neckerchief is repalced by a symbol consisiting in the bars with colors of the national flag and to the right, the "Che's" (Ernesto Guevara de la Serna) signature, the symbol measures approximately 1.5 cm by 10 cm in some cases and is the symbol of High school. is sticks directly on the white shirt of the uniform.
Maikel Arista-Salado, 21 June 2005

"The Mourning Flag"

[Cuba 26 July Movement]
image by Maikel Arista-Salado, 22 February 2006

I happened to see on BBC TV news earlier this week a report that Cuba has erected a monument of 138 flags in front of the U.S. mission in Havana. There are number of reports and pictures, including <> and <>. The flags have a black field with a single five-pointed white star in the middle.
André Coutanche, 10 February 2006

The mourning flag (bandera luctuosa) was hoisted on February 6th, 2006 at 6:00 p.m.; 138 mourning flags were hoisted in front of the US Interests Section in Havana, representing "a small portion of many men and women killed by terrorists attacks organized by the United States of America". The flag is black with a white star in its center. The black colour represents the mourning of the Cuban people and the white star its dignity. The Cuban mourning flags remain hoisted 24 hours a day and they are never lowed not even in the night. This flag has the same proportion than the national flag.
Maikel Arista-Salado, 22 February 2006

The reason the flags are not lowered, not even in the night, is because their primary purposes is to obscure the illuminated scrolling message board which had been erected on the front of the building occupied by the United States interest section in January. In my opinion, this is not a funeral flag (although it could perhaps be termed a memorial flag). It is quite clear from reliable and credible news sources that the display of these flags is part of an escalating situation between the United States and Cuba. Clearly, these are political and propagandist flags, as well as any other meaning which might have been subscribed to them by those who erected them, or by those who have lost relatives.
Source: "Black flags block US sign in Cuba" - British Broadcasting Corporation News web site, 7 February 2006 at <>.
Colin Dobson, 22 February 2006

Free People's Movement and Revolutionary Youth (?)

[Cuba 26 July Movement]
image by Dov Gutterman, 8 October 2005

Flag of Free People's Movement at <>. Same flag used also by the Revolutionary Youth at <>.
doubleinfiniti, 12 September 2005

About the last flag, I must say it's not a Cuban flag. it has never been used in my country.
Maikel Arista-Salado, 7 February 2006

Anti-Castro Movements (in exile)

Alpha 66

image by Eugene Ipavec, 8 December 2005

Coat of Arms
image from <>

Anti-Cuban Guerrilla Movement "Alpha 66" official flag at <>.
E. R., 24 May 2001

Alpha 66 is a Cuban political group who did carry guerrilla expeditions not againts Cuba but against the communist regime. None of his members consider himself anti-Cuban, actually they consider themselves very good Cubans by opposing a dictatoship.
Juan Martin, 1 April 2002

The emblem of the movement was designen by Cuban artist José María Mijares. This armed movement has offices in Florida, California, New York and New Jersey.
E. R., 8 December 2005

Brigade 2506

image from <> , located by Esteban Rivera

Anti Castro group "2506 Brigade" flags at <> and <>.
E. R., 14 January 2002

Comandos F-4

[Cuba 26 July Movement]
image by Jaume Ollé and Eugene Ipavec, 21 September 2005

I have some information on an opposition Cuban group settled in the United States that calls itself "Comandos F-4". The source is an article in Spanish on the "Miami Times" that appeared in 2003 witha story on the group. On the newspaper artcile as well as on the internet, the name of Rodolfo Frometa appears as the frontman of this group.
E. R., 7 April 2004

The flag is green-red-black-green. The hoist triangle is blue. Information on this group as translated from <>:
"The F4 commandos are a group of men, women and children who dream and fight for the freedom of Cuba.
F4 commandos are worthy, combative, fragile, painful and self-sacrificing, a weapon always aimed toward the horizon, seeking the perfect target to liberate Cuba from all the fears, all the pain, all the betrayals of the tyrant that humiliates it, opresses it, jails it and murders it. The F4 commandos are a dream full of love for their motherland, and a great sacrifice for all those that have joined it and have dedicated their souls to its great cause: to see their people free again of their chains.
In genetics, "F4" means the union of two components to make of them something better, in this case the best of those in exile, united for the best of the Cuban people."
E.R. and Eugene Ipavec, 21 September 2005

In a breeding scheme, F4 means the fourth generation (I guess that F stands for fertilization) of descendants after the initial crossing between two parents P, which gave the F1 generation. Using individuals from the F1 as parents gives F2 etc. Whether the result of the cross is better than the mean of the parents (heterosis effect) depends on the selected character and on its genetic determinism.
Ivan Sache, 30 August 2005

Organizacion Autentica

by Ivan Sache , 22 December 1999

I just stumbled on <> . It is the site of the 'Organización Auténtica' - I don't know whether it is Cuban or not.
Jarig Bakker , 22 December 1999

It is listed by Smith (1975) [smi75c] as a Cuban party. I guess it is a satellite of the Cuban communist party or one of the pseudo-non-communist parties, if any.
Ivan Sache , 22 December 1999

In regards to the Partido Auténtico, it was a political party prior to 1959 when Castro took power. It was the rival of the Partido Ortodoxo with which Castro sympathized.
Carlos M. Ramos , 7 Febuary 2000

The Autentico Party was a populist, almost social democrat party created in the 1930's. They had two elected pressidents (Grau 1944-48. and Prio 1948-52, the second was ousted by a pustch). While much can be said about his leadership (or lack of) the Autentico gobernments respected free enterpise, free press, didn't try to control unions, allowed the existence of political parties (including the comunist one, called at the time PSP Partido Socialista Popular).
Juan Martin, 1 April 2002

Other Anti-Castro Movements

Cuban Exiled Armed Organizations can be reached at <>. OMEGA 7 (Anti-castro brigade) at <>.
Esteban Rivera, 14 January 2002

Unidentified Flag

Does anyone know anything about that unusual flag that the demonstrators surrounding Elian Gonzalez' home in Miami, Florida have been using?
Description of the flag:
Just like the Cuban national flag but with the addition of crossed olive(?) branches underneath the star near the hoist.
Ben , 8 April 2000

I was told that the Crossed olive branches are added when confronting tyrants.  That it is ordered in the Cuban constitution of 1940., 14 January 2002