Havana turns 501 years between masks and the joy of living
By Mercy Ramos photos: José Meriño
With the same joy as always, despite the epidemiological situation caused by the new coronavirus throughout the world, Havana celebrates this November 16 the 501st anniversary of its foundation.
On this occasion, the celebration of this birthday will be something different, due to the necessary protection measures of mask and social isolation, but with the same enthusiasm that has always characterized Cubans in any situation, however difficult life may be.
For this purpose, the Office of the Historian (OHCH) of old Saint Cristopher of Havana, together with the Communication Directorate and the Cultural Heritage Directorate, through its Cultural Management Directorate -all OHCH dependencies- develop starting last September 11, the communication campaign "Loyal to Leal", exactly on Eusebio Leal Spengler’s birth date.
This campaign aims to continue the work of the City Historian and his ideas, through the people who, in different activities, made possible and will continue to make the Historic Center the pride of Havanans and admiration of the country and the world, through the use of symbolic and timeless images of the work of "anonymous" people, who, ultimately, materialize the project.
It is planned, as part of the celebration, to inaugurate this day the "garage" of the Automobile Museum, named by Leal and which corresponds to a part of the collection of classic and neoclassical cars.
The Vedado House Museum reopens its doors to the public after changes to its façade and interiors have been completed, while the House of José Martí, in the old Paula Street, today named Leonor Pérez after the Apostle’s mother, will open a new room dedicated to cultural workshops.
“Memoria de las Piedras” (Stone Memories) is the proposal of the Office of the Historian dedicated to Eusebio, which consists of placing panels in different parts of the city, so that people can scan a QR code from their mobile device and access the history of the place, told by Leal himself, from fragments of his television program "Andar La Habana" (Walking Havana).
Havana children will also celebrate that anniversary in a very special way. The little ones who finish the third grade of primary school will change their blue scarf for the red one, as an attribute showing they have become members of the pioneer organization "José Martí", of the first level.
Numerous cultural presentations and concerts are also planned, both in person and through social networks, always under the strict sanitary protocols established for the moment.
It is for all this that far from being absent, Havana will have Dr. Eusebio Leal very present, whose figure seems to still be walking the streets of his beloved city, which owes him a lot, since he dedicated his soul, heart and life to it for over four decades.