“Fortunately, (…) the city is in tact, run-down in parts, but when you pull back the veil of this apparent decline, its splendor appears in every building, everywhere. You have to have eyes to see its wonder and a heart that never loses faith,” stated Dr. Eusebio Leal Spengler, Havana City Historian speaking to the press just moments before the official unveiling of the monument and commemorative plaque declaring Havana a Wonder City of the World, at the Castillo de San Salvador de la Punta.
During the act presided over by Mercedes López Acea, a member of the Party Political Bureau, Council of State vice president, and first Party Secretary in the capital; Marta Hernández, president of the Provincial Assembly of People’s Power noted that the distinction reaffirms the illustrious and visionary idea of Fidel, and dedicated the recognition to the leader of the Revolution on his 90th birthday, on behalf of the people of Havana.
“Wherever we are in the world, Havana is always Havana. For so many people who have worked and dreamed over the years, for the city itself, for its officials, the distinction is vital encouragement to continue something that will last a long time, and requires hard work,” stated Leal Spengler prior to the ceremony.
Bernard Weber, president and founder of the Swiss based New7Wonders Foundation, sponsor of the global competition which saw the Cuban capital voted one of the seven Wonder Cities of the modern world, described the occasion as a “great success for Cuba.” He also noted his pride and immense pleasure to be in the city.
Meanwhile Marta Hernández stated that “our city is part of the nation’s most important cultural heritage, and represents a cornerstone of our historical memory, with extraordinary architectural and urban value…It is our responsibility to preserve the city, enrich it and arrive at its 500th anniversary having made it a greater generator of material and spiritual wealth, more admired by its people and those who come to visit it,” she stated.
The ceremony and cultural gala which took place in the Alicia Alonso Grand Theater of Havana kicked off festivities to commemorate the prestigious recognition, which will continue through June 11.