He flew like Matías Pérez

He flew like Matías Pérez

Heritage & Traditions

By Alina gomez

He was not a pilot, much less an astronaut, or a space science researcher, Matías Pérez was simply a tailor, of Portuguese origin, who gave his life in Cuba for the dream of flying and left his mark in the treasure of the popular proverb.

 "He flew like Matías Pérez" is a recurring phrase among Cubans of various generations when they refer to the disappearance of someone, in the most dissimilar manner.  

 A hot air balloon to fly over Havana in 1856 seemed to have fulfilled Matías Pérez's dream of adventure. He took off in full view of all, but he got lost on the horizon and was never found.

 That had been the third ascent in a balloon for Matías Pérez, a manufacturer of awnings in Havana, with recognition in the trade union, and an obsession of flying. His first ascent, by way of rehearsal, took place on May 21, 1856, accompanied by Frenchman Eugene Goddard, a world pioneer in these matters, who arrived in Cuba with his famous balloon the Ville de Paris, which Matías Pérez finally acquired.

 He got on his balloon on June 12, 1856, with magnificent weather conditions, and flew several kilometers over Havana. Later, on June 29 of that same year, he got ready to start a new adventure, but atmospheric conditions were unfavorable, gusty wind, and he waited until sunset.

 Despite the forecasts to the contrary, Matías Pérez was determined and took flight, they say that around 7:00 p.m., amidst the applause of spectators; he climbed higher and higher and was lost on the horizon, propelled by the warm wind.

 Specifically, the Strait of Florida, Gulf of Mexico, are places where it has been presumed that Matías Pérez's balloon, could have flown and fallen, turning him into a Cuban legendary character.