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Eternal, like the stones of Havana

f0290454Statue of Eusebio Leal at the entrance of the Palacio de los Capitanes Generales, currently the Museo de la Ciudad. Photo: Ariel Cecilio Lemus
Two years have passed since Havana woke up feeling sad, lonely. The headlines announced the death of Eusebio Leal. But how can someone who filled with life and raised from the dust not a person or a street, but an entire city, die?

“Death is not true when the work of life has been well accomplished.” The words of Cuba’s National Hero José Martí can be said about so many great men and women, but they mold around Leal as if they werewritten for him. His work was so vast, so beautiful, that, as Magda Resik, director of Communications of the Office of the City Historian and vice president of the Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba, said: “When men forget him, the stones will still remember him.”

But they don’t forget him. How can they when he breathes on every cobblestone of the Wooden Street, greets from every square, turns every corner of the Historic Center, in his blue and gray clothes, walks to the City Museum and sits on his favorite bench in the inner courtyard?

There have been many tributes to his figure, from the plaque in the courtyard of the former Palace of the Captains General, the life-size statue at the entrance of the Palace, to the dedication of each event that the Office of the Historian has organized since 2020.

Rutas y Andares, a cultural program for the summer months devised by himself two decades ago, also pays tribute to him. Tras la ruta de Eusebio Leal (Following Eusebio Leal’s route) began last year with tremendous popularity. This August the invitation returns to explore a different facet of the historian’s personality and work every Saturday.

Leal collector, Leal cultural manager, Leal archaeologist and Leal y Roig are the names of the Routes that for four weeks will take the public through some of the sites where he worked, where he regularly went to supervise the works under restoration and many other sites that exhibit today the pieces that he collected with so much love over the years for his eternal bride, this city.

During the celebration of Havana’s 500 years, a visibly more tired than usual Leal told the guests that the 500 was over, that as of November 17 they would start working on the 501st.

This is, then, the best way to remember him, to work tirelessly to preserve what was achieved and continue to grow; so that Havana, ust like him, will never die.

(Taken from Granma)

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