The legend of Dolores Rondón from Camaguey
By Ana Maria Silveira
Love, be it happy or unfortunate, centers countless legends around the world, as is the case in the eastern Cuban city of Camagüey, where the story of Dolores Rondón has survived, whose epitaph is probably the most famous in the country.
With a lot of reality, but also with deviations that have been caused by the passage of time and the rich popular imagination, in various details the versions told of the beautiful Creole brunette who walked through the streets of the originally called town of Santa María del Puerto del Príncipe.
Dolores, daughter of a Catalan merchant and a Cuban mulatto, conceived, it is said, in an extramarital affair, shone at parties and dances, and the list of her suitors was long. Among them was the mulatto Agustín Moya, a barber and bleeder, with a recognized fondness for literature, whose establishment was in the vicinity of the young woman's home.
According to some, Dolores, began welcoming the compliments of this admirer. However, she finally chose a Spanish soldier, presumably with fortune, with whom she would rise in the social ladder. Married, the couple moved, some say to Spain, others say to Havana or Santiago de Cuba ... the truth is that she became widowed and, left alone, without family or resources, returned to her native Camagüey, where she led an Anonymous life.
Years later, in 1863 a smallpox epidemic struck the region and in one of the public hospitals, Nuestra Señora del Carmen, Dolores Rondón was identified among the patients. Various versions indicate that she was recognized by Agustín Moya himself, who also provided her services in civilian medical centers.
Without taking into account the previous disdain of the woman, and without her beauty and brilliance, the barber and bleeder prepared to help her, but the duration of her life was very short and she was buried in a common grave in the general cemetery.
According to historians, it was in 1883 when a verse appeared there in black letters on a piece of cedar painted white and fixed in the ground by means of a wooden stake, which was restored when it deteriorated, which was attributed to Moya.
Once the original burial disappeared, at the initiative of the mayor of that time, in the 1930s the significant epitaph today was reproduced: “Here Dolores Rondón / finished her career / come mortal and consider / the greatness is: / pride and presumption, / opulence and power, / everything comes to pass / because one can only immortalize / the evil that is economized / and the good that can be done”.