Among the multitude of Cuban order decorations and medals the Order of Military Merit has certainly its interesting side as not only a high quality decoration, but also interesting due to its possibility of being awarded for multiple purposes.

Robert Werlich's book: "Orders and Decorations of all Nations: Ancient and Modern, Civil and Military", Washington, DC, 1965, does give a good description in his book :

"Created February 27, 1912 primarily as an award for outstanding military merit, but can be awarded for other services and comes in four classes. First class for Generals, Second class for Colonels, Lieut. Cols. and Majors, Third class for Captains and Lieutenants, Fourth class for Enlisted men and non-commissioned Officers. Can be awarded to foreigners."

Due to the rarity of the higher grades I like to show some examples of the also hard to find decorations representing the beautifully crafted Third Class, which was originally a red enameled cross awarded for military Merit:

Besides this already very hard to find military merit decoration other variation for different purposes could be awarded:

When awarded for other than military merit the color of the enamel on the cross is changed to correspond with the colors listed below on the ribbons:

Military Merit

 Dark Red

Bravery in Combat Purple

Humanitarian Acts

 Half red, half white

Good Conduct


Continuous Service

 Half white, half blue

Special Service


Other Services



While comparing the following pictures, you will see, that not only the color of ribbon and enamel changes, but that the design of the decoration as a whole changes. Please pay special attention to the wreath in this regard:






Here also a great example of various Merito Militar decorations in wear on ribbons bars:

Thanks to D. Krause for supplying above two photos.

© A. Schulze Ising, III/03