Parque John Lennon

Although the Beatles were banned in Cuba until 1966, a remarkable political U-turn in 2000 afforded John Lennon the honour of his own park and bronze statue in Havana. It's a great place to visit to pay your respects and get a sense of the ex-Beatle's popularity in Cuba. Ask the attendant to replace his specs for your photo, then head over to the Yellow Submarine bar for a refreshing drink and plenty more Beatlemania.

On 8 December 2000, the 20th anniversary of the murder of John Lennon, a bronze statue of the singer, musician and songwriter was unveiled by Fidel Castro and the singer Silvio Rodríguez in the newly renamed Parque John Lennon (John Lennon Park) in Havana's Vedado district. The statue, was sculpted by Cuban artist José Villa Soberón. It sits at the end of a bench in the park. A marble plaque at the base of the bench bears a translation in Spanish of lyrics from his famous song, "Imagine"
Originally, for the Castro government, the Beatles epitomised Western decadence. Their music was banned and could not be broadcast on Cuban radio until 1966. Cuban Beatles fans resorted to bootleg copies of their music, which they had to enjoy in private.
Fast-forward a decade or two, and the Cuban government had re-interpreted John Lennon, his values and what his music stood for. By this point, they embraced his ideals and sympathised with his endeavours to promote world peace.
An interesting item is the statue's signature circular glasses. They are so popular among souvenir hunters that they have been frequently stolen and replaced. Now a guard now stands nearby holding them, poised to replace them on request for photos and selfies with the star.
Access to John Lennon Park
The park near the corner of 17th and 6th Streets in Vedado is well-tended with grassy lawns and trees. The park is surrounded by busy roads and does not have a fence, so kids need to be watched carefully. Nonetheless, even if you are not a Beatles fan, Parque Lennon offers a great opportunity to take a moment's rest or reflection in Vedado. From the benches you can watch Habaneros go about their daily business. Occasionally concerts are held in the park.
Nearby, is the Beatles theme bar, Submarino amarillo ("Yellow Submarine"). Inside, the walls are covered in Beatles memorabilia and a mural of John, Paul, George and Ringo. Pop in for tapas and a drink in the afternoon, or a vibrant local rock scene with live music later at night.

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