Cuba. Early Republic. Vintage ca. 1920s-1940s. Order of Military Merit (for award to the Army). Bi-color Grand Cross Breast Star, with red and white enamel. Robert Werlich, in his book "Orders and Decorations of All Nations", 2nd edition, 1990, states that red and white bi-color insignia of this Order were given for "Humanitarian Acts".
Werlich also states the color of the enameled cross, in the three highest classes (the 4th and lowest class was not enameled) refers to the category of service for which the Order was awarded, i.e., Red for General Military Merit; Blue for Good Conduct; Green for Special Services; White for Other Services; Bi-Color Half Red & Half White for Humanitarian Acts and Bi-Color Half Blue & Half White for Continuous Service. The same color scheme was also used with the Order of Naval Merit and the Order of Police Merit. All bi-color stars are very rare.
Purple insignia have also been seen and some sources say this color was for Bravery, while others claim the purple color was merely a variation of the red enamel. I have a Purple 3rd class Breast Badge in distinctly lavender purple color with a somewhat faded lavender purple ribbon. More information is sought regarding the purple color insignia as well as any other color varieties.
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