Miami, Jan 27 (EFE).- Little Havana, the historic heart of Miami’s large Cuban exile community, on Friday became an officially designated national treasure of the United States.
The honor was proclaimed by the National Trust for Historic Preservation at a ceremony including Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado and representatives of local organizations.
“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 neighborhood 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, including Dade Heritage Trust, to ensure that Little Havana “remains a healthy, vital and affordable urban neighborhood,” Meeks said.
Little Havana occupies only 7 percent of the surface area of the City of Miami, yet it accounts for nearly 20 percent 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.