TALKING FILES: The Bennies

Rafael González and Rafael Semanat, The Bennies, two hot black men and gray-headed are important characters within the Havanian Historical Center in the early 2000’s. Let it be known that the merit was not free: with their three-piece suits, lineage hats, smoky long cigars, flashy ties, flowers on their lapels, colored vests, two-color shoes and unique walking sticks, pay tribute to a funny character Benny More. In addition they show visitors the secrets of the Cuban Son music, cha cha cha, rumba or bolero to make them live the charm of old times.

The first character of our story dances since he was a young boy. His father, a fruit salesman, used to play music on Sundays to torment the neighborhood and, between bottles of rum and brawls; he taught him his first dance steps. Then, at age six or seven, he meets Benny More during his performances outside the Capitol and, almost without realizing it he is captive of the carnival coaches and swing of the hips of the processions of blacks.

Having this background, this retired teacher appears, one day, at the refurbished Cathedral Square in the 90’s and challenges Juan Parole to an old slump fight. Former sailor who, in the end, chooses him as couple with the purpose of remembering the greatest Sonero and his Giant Band. Of course, the success of the duet is instant and together with the Gitana of Havana, Juana the Cuban, and Pillo Chocolate, these popular characters have the task of giving new spins to the hard and eternal stone of Old Havana.

When I ran into Rafael González in 2007 at El Patio restaurant, on the side of the Cathedral, he commented me with enthusiasm capable of laughing at the face of any misfortune:

«I live in Calabazar and since I leave my house I have all eyes on me. What’s more, when I get on a bus they can’t stop yelling at me: The Benny!, The Benny!... next to my partner, I walk, almost every day, around the bars where there are music groups to enjoy and amuse people for a while. Our duty is to remember El Barbaro del Ritmo, to songwriter of Que bueno baila usted, an unforgettable song.

«Tourists follow us for being a folklore attraction and Cubans admire us for dressing like this all the time, in December or August; with chilling cold or an unbearable heat. Experts from China, Russia, Spain… have shot videos and also taken pictures in magazines and newspapers from all over the world. We sometimes do modeling of the time, driving old cars around and stuff like that…

«Besides our profound admiration to Benny More, we defend the fancy way of dressing of the time, which clearly opposes the scantily clad attires of nowadays. It’s enough of making ugly the streets with shorts, T-shirts and sleepers! The City Historian, Eusebio Leal is concerned, he is a bright man, thanks to him we are remembering what is good, unique…».

After Parole passed away, Rafael González makes a nice partner with his namesake Rafael Semanat, a mulatto son of the wit from the tropic and talkative even in his sleep:

«I am a retired painter, born in San Luis, in the former Oriente province, and I have lived for many years in Havana next to three daughters and grandsons—he said firmly—. Here, at the Cathedral, they asked to wear a suit of Benny and I was very happy. He is a myth, a glory for all generations, for history. Everything turned out easy for me, because I have always been a great casino dancer: I visited Santiago de las Vegas, The Quintica, and «gave a twist» with the orchestras of Neno González, Pancho el Bravo and Estrellas Cubanas.

«According to certain people, our imitations are senile insanity or an enthusiasm of old people bored to death. It’s a pity those bitter men can’t understand the true worth of music in the past as well as street dance. They miss it!».

Rafael González died a few years back with the songs he loved still fresh, but Rafael Semanat has kept walking on the hard paving stones of the capital and sometimes accompanied by Wilky Arencibia, the Gentleman of Son music, he tries to teach foreigners how to dance Son music. They store away in their suitcases when leaving their shirts wet with seat from the effort and joy.

Cubasi Translation Staff / Amilkal Labañino Valdés

Old Havana: City in Motion

The 23rd edition of the International Festival of Dance and Urban Landscapes to run from Wednesday 11 to Sunday 15 in the oldest part of the Cuban capital, which opens its streets, houses, squares and the most unknown corners to the vanguard dance movement. In addition to the daily performances in dissimilar spaces of Havana’s Historic Core, its program will include exhibitions and workshops, among other proposals.

This festival, founded and directed by Isabel Bustos, will bring together very diverse contemporary dance styles and trends, as well as companies and dancers from different continents, and numerous Cuban artists and troupes from several provinces.

Running parallel to this dance fiesta there will be the 13th International Video Dance Festival “DV Dance Havana: Motion and City”, born right from the Dance Festival in Urban Landscapes. The performances will take place at the Dance Center, the headquarters of the Dance Theater Company “Retazos”, La Sala de la Diversidad (Diversity Hall), the Visual Arts Development Center (CDAV), Lumiere Cinema, the Cuban Art Factory (Fábrica del Arte Cubano) and the Pabellón Cuba (Cuban Pavilion).

This dance event, which fosters the intermingling with other artistic expressions, will propose dissimilar shows that will occupy the Arms, Saint Francis of Assisi and Old squares; Rumiñahui and Simón Bolivar parks; and the Oswaldo Guayasamín, Benito Juárez, Simón

Bolívar, Africa, Asia, Poetry, Obra Pía and Wallonie museum houses.

Performances will also reach Mercaderes, Oficios, Amargura and Obrapía streets, as well as the Hispanic American Culture Center, the Diversity Hall, the Cuban Art Factory and the Visual Arts Development Center. Of course, the event’s daily activities will close at Las Carolinas, headquarters of the Dance Theater Company “Retazos” –located on Amargura Street between Mercaderes and San Ignacio streets-. As part of its program, the theater of the National Museum of Fine Arts (MNBA), housed in its Cuban Art Building, will host a concert by singer-songwriter Pedro Luis Ferrer, on Saturday 14, at 7:00 pm.

The inaugural gala will take place at Arms Square on April 11, at 9:00 pm. A bit earlier, at 4:00 pm, a passacaglia will open such exhibitions as “De la serie Barricadas” (From Barricades Series), by Yohandrys Suárez Peña (Yohy), and “Liquid Heat in Havana”, by Jessica Ángel, both at the Oswaldo Guayasamín Museum House. The children’s programming of the festival will run at the squares of the Historic Core on Saturday and Sunday mornings. The closing gala will also take place at Arms Square on Sunday 15, at 9:00 pm.

Every representation of this dance fiesta, held at the aforementioned Historic Core, is a creative dialogue starting from Havana’s architecture. These festivals are organized by the Dance Theater Company “Retazos”, directed by choreographer Isabel Bustos, 2012 National Dance Award winner, together with the City Historian’s Office, in collaboration with the Centro de Teatro de La Habana (Theater Center of Havana).

“Old Havana: City in Motion” is a different and unusual event that brings the spectator closer to a combination of artistic manifestations inspired by the history, architecture and design of one of the most beautiful parts of the city, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Translated by Jorge Mesa Benjamin / Cubasi Translation Staff

  • Published in Culture

Eusebio Leal: “We must approach Marti without scissors”

Havana’s historian talks to CubaSi about the unveiling of the equestrian monument of our National Hero Jose Marti in front of the Museum of the Revolution, the tribute the International Book Fair Havana 2018 will pay to him, and the 500th anniversary of the city.

You never get tired of listening to Eusebio Leal Spengler. Havana’s historian is experiencing intense days right now. The official unveiling of the Jose Marti’s equestrian monument at the Misiones Avenue, true copy of the one located in the Central Park of New York, is scheduled for January 28th. And if it were not enough, the International Book Fair 2018 will be dedicated to him. Besides, the city of his life turns 500 years old in 2019…

—The unveiling of the equestrian sculpture of (Jose) Marti is a long-awaited dream of you. Why such statue? How did you make it happen?

“The statue is a fact. Twenty two years have passed since the very beginning of the paperwork. This process has taken so long due to different reasons; namely, political, communicational…etc. Moreover, the responsibility of deciding whether the sculpture came to Cuba or not went through the hands of several administrations. But we finally did it.

“The sculpture is extraordinarily beautiful. It is a true copy, in details, of the original. It was made possible through the advance of technology. One of the requirements was that the statue could not be touched.

“And indeed, we could do all the documentary research at the Syracuse’s Library, where the entire Huntington’s legacy is, as well as the Hispanic Society in New York, its most important cultural legacy.

alt

Photo: Yuris Norido / CubaSi

"You could see the work of the artist, of Anna Hyatt Huntington, everything she thought about Marti, her motivations. The City Historian Office has today a solid documentation on that event.

"Amassing the necessary funds was another story. Finding them, taking advantage of the precise moment, nor sooner neither later. North American cultural institutions contributed, Cubans in the patriotic emigration, we had an important contribution from a Mexican lady who has always wanted to remain in anonymity, but that also links Mexico to the historical event of the founding of the statue.

"And certainly, it’s important to remember a woman who exalted the genre who almost at age eighty faced the challenge of making a monumental work. She studied Jose Marti’s life, she was even inspired by Marti’s love and sacrifices, as apostle and also as Mayor General. In Marti comes together his political destiny as founder of a Party to lead the armed struggled for the freeing of a colonized nation and at the same time, his character as soldier that recalls that the best way of not fearing the soldier, is being done.

"He was a soldier from the same moment he gets involved in the war he had summoned, and in the moment in that Maximo Gomez, the most outstanding character of the war, next to Antonio Maceo, welcomed him as guide and top director of that project.

"The moment of his death is poetically remembered in this monument. The beauty in it is that generally monumental sculptures, when related to are about great heroes of history are almost always showing them in a triumphant role, but here he is shown in the moment of giving his life for the cause he had embraced.

"The location is much better than that of New York City, because it can be seen in a square, in a large promenade. It has been put there a nature that reminds the trips of Marti: there are the olive trees of the Mediterranean, the araucarias from Central America, the palm trees of Cuba…

"The granite base is impressive. And as the sculpture has a large volume, when approached one becomes dazzled by its beauty.

It will be officially inaugurated on January 28th, coinciding with Jose Marti’s anniversary, facing the Church of the Sacred Angel, the church where he was baptized (in the same church where Father Varela was also baptized), in Havana, the city where he was born, a city that will soon be 500 years old.

"What better way to commemorate Marti’s birth than when his city is scarcely a few months away from turning five centuries?”

- How to approach José Marti in these times?

-Nor with scissors and glue. We cannot approach Marti clipping. We must see a global Marti. That it can be done is to approach through the dissimilar roads he bequeathed to us and proposes: his beautiful epistolary; his love verses, his free verses; the universe of his journalistic literature; he offers us his political action… all those roads lead suddenly to an absolute Marti, to a figure that requires everyone’s personal interpretation.

alt

Photo: Yuris Nórido / CubaSí

“There’s a vast bibliography of his political and moral dimension (Ezequiel Martínez Estrada, Cintio Vitier, Fina García Marruz, Gonzalo de Quezada); there’s a Martí in the continental political vision (Mañach and so many others)… but the most important thing is to build our own Marti from the knowledge we have about him.

“We must approach him, dialogue with him. It is pretty good to extract quotes, to take out fragments from his work, thoughts… but the nice, the important thing is to insert those thoughts into the complete work”.

—The 27th International Book Fair will be dedicated to your work. How did you take that news?

—I am deeply grateful to the Cuban Book Institute, the Ministry of Culture, the intelligentsia and the Cuban people. They have been very generous. Not because I come to make the representation of saying “I do not deserve this or that”, because it would not only be imprudent, but also offensive for those who have made that decision.

“But I have always considered that I did little to build a work that would take me to the desk, to the necessary and patient consultation of papers. Life has led me to raise stones and lime, to preserve sources, to rescue books, to look for documents, to preserve collections. It took me to the cult of the word, not as a superficial exercise (the hallow word, the one that says nothing, the Manichean rhetoric), but as a vehicle to express such feelings as the love for the Homeland, the awareness that when we love her, we feel a love for the other, for what surrounds us, the American world, for those who suffer and cry, for those who endure…

alt
Photo: Jorge Luis Sánchez/ for CubaSí

“Also for Cuba as regards the accumulation of thought, ideas, the beauty that this country has contributed to the history of America and the world; for Cubans, those I have always felt inseparable part of, part of that people, with their virtues and faults, which are mine; with their lights and shadows, which are mine…

“When I look at all that, I consider that I have done something, I would have wished to do more; once and several times I said that I would need a loam of one life, another more, to be able to do what I want, with the same dedication, as when I climbed stairs in three steps together, as when I travelled long distances daily to reach places”.

“I remember that once an old man approached to me, perhaps he arrived in a timely moment of my life and said: “Listen, I know a technique that perhaps you may remember from your childhood; mothers used to preserve the first year’s little shoes turned into metal: I own that technique; but I am leaving and I do not have family or anyone to leave it with; I am not coming to give you the secret of my work; I am coming to ask you to give me your shoes, those which you have walked through Havana with”.

I handed him the shoes. And when he returned them back to me (they were well kept), I realized that that stage of my life had finished, that I had to begin another.

“Suddenly, children, youngsters began to appear… Even, in a meeting among intellectuals, Fidel told me: “There’s a boy here, son of a friend of ours, Katiuska Blanco, who has replied to me that he wants to be Eusebio Leal’s successor, when I asked him what he wanted to be”.

“It was one consolation that that boy, another or others, are already walking down the streets. I will no longer need another life.

“And if the Book Institute has decided to gather in pages what I once said or wrote, and what has been written and collected from me, and to dedicate this Book Fair to me, I hope it is for good!"

—Havana will celebrate its 500th anniversary next year. How will the historic center of the city take on that festivity?

—Havana has many historic centers. I have already renounced to speak with absolute sense about the historic center. The historic center is perhaps a starting point. But, there are many starting points: in El Cerro, in Marianao, in Miramar, in La Vibora, in Diez de Octubre, in San Francisco de Paula.

“When we talk about the anniversary we not only talk about that past event of the ceiba tree: that is very nice, and we will remember it: El Templete is restored, as well as the paintings, the columns; and the 500th anniversary tree is planted. Two years ago, the other tree showed signs that its time was over and we had to plant another. This morning, I went there early and saw that the ceiba tree was full of green vine shoots.

“Yes, we will celebrate that: the town hall, the first mass, the birth of the city. But the most important thing is what that time means for a city.

alt
Photo: Annaly Sánchez/ CubaSí

“It is the time of a university that will soon have three centuries, it is the result of the tireless work of the Economic Society of Friends of the Country (Sociedad Económica de Amigos del País), of the history of Cuban pedagogy, which has an important part in Havana, of its architects and builders, who made a fantastic city.

“Everyone who arrives in Havana says “What a wonder! What a mystery! What city is this?” Even decadent, as Havana is, when you touch it, it revives. Wherever you touch it, except what falls beaten that will always be less than what has been lost in this continent; in the interests of a misinterpreted modernity it was savagely demolished …

“Havana, for a series of events, has remained in its urbanism and splendor until today. We must touch it with love and prevent its “suburbanization”. And above all: we must take care of those who live in it.

“Being a Havanan cannot be a sign of superiority, but to be so (as Alfredo Guevara rightfully said), you need certain refinement, which is born from culture.

“Fidel used to say (and I do not like to quote him very much, I prefer to follow what he taught me instead) that Revolutions were daughters of ideas and culture. Without culture there is no idea, without ideas there is no culture: this is a dialectical and harmonic relationship.

“It is necessary to see what Cuban culture does from this city. It is the 500th anniversary for a ballet, for all Cuban music, for poetry, for legal tradition… But this is also the city of the literacy teachers, the city of the sugar-cane cutters, the city of the glorious and unyielding militia, the city of students, the city of workers, where political movements sprung up…

“We are talking about something great. We need to break that silence on the 500th anniversary. Original Havana was founded in 1514, in San Cristobal, on the southern coast, in a spot that archaeologists haven’t found, but that appears in all cartography of that time. San Cristobal and Havana united in a timely moment.

“It already existed In 1514, but in 1519, according to tradition, Havana was founded in the year when Magallanes was travelling around the world, the year when Leonardo da Vinci (the greatest genius of the time) died, the moment when Hernan Cortes and emperor Moctezuma met in Mexico… At midst a changing world, there sprung up the capital of Cuba, the one that was going to the capital of Cuba, that of the Declarations of Havana, that of the glorious resistance…

“Then, Havana deserves not to be perennially vilified as if it were a sterile city. No, this city has given a lot. That is the city we will celebrate”.

Translated by Cubasi Translation Staff












Eusebio Leal: “We must approach Marti without scissors”

Yuris Norido / CubaSi

Havana’s historian talks to CubaSi about the unveiling of the equestrian monument of our National Hero Jose Marti in front of the Museum of the

Revolution, the tribute the International Book Fair Havana 2018 will pay to him, and the 500th anniversary of the city.

You never get tired of listening to Eusebio Leal Spengler. Havana’s historian is experiencing intense days right now. The official unveiling of the Jose Marti’s equestrian monument at the Misiones Avenue, true copy of the one located in the Central Park of New York, is scheduled for January 28th. And if it were not enough, the International Book Fair 2018 will be dedicated to him. Besides, the city of his life turns 500 years old in 2019…

The unveiling of the equestrian sculpture of (Jose) Marti is a long-awaited dream of you. Why such statue? How did you make it happen?

“The statue is a fact. Twenty two years have passed since the very beginning of the paperwork. This process has taken so long due to different reasons; namely, political, communicational…etc. Moreover, the responsibility of deciding whether the sculpture came to Cuba or not went through the hands of several administrations. But we finally did it.

“The sculpture is extraordinarily beautiful. It is a true copy, in details, of the original. It was made possible through the advance of technology. One of the requirements was that the statue could not be touched.

“And indeed, we could do all the documentary research at the Syracuse’s Library, where the entire Huntington’s legacy is, as well as the Hispanic

Society in New York, its most important cultural legacy.

alt

Photo: Yuris Norido / CubaSi

"You could see the work of the artist, of Anna Hyatt Huntington, everything she thought about Marti, her motivations. The City Historian Office has today a solid documentation on that event.

"Amassing the necessary funds was another story. Finding them, taking advantage of the precise moment, nor sooner neither later. North American

cultural institutions contributed, Cubans in the patriotic emigration, we had an important contribution from a Mexican lady who has always wanted to

remain in anonymity, but that also links Mexico to the historical event of the founding of the statue.

"And certainly, it’s important to remember a woman who exalted the genre who almost at age eighty faced the challenge of making a monumental work.

She studied Jose Marti’s life, she was even inspired by Marti’s love and sacrifices, as apostle and also as Mayor General. In Marti comes together his political destiny as founder of a Party to lead the armed struggled for the freeing of a colonized nation and at the same time, his character as soldier that recalls that the best way of not fearing the soldier, is being

done.

"He was a soldier from the same moment he gets involved in the war he had summoned, and in the moment in that Maximo Gomez, the most outstanding character of the war, next to Antonio Maceo, welcomed him as guide and top director of that project.

"The moment of his death is poetically remembered in this monument. The beauty in it is that generally monumental sculptures, when related to are

about great heroes of history are almost always showing them in a triumphant role, but here he is shown in the moment of giving his life for

the cause he had embraced.

"The location is much better than that of New York City, because it can be seen in a square, in a large promenade. It has been put there a nature that

reminds the trips of Marti: there are the olive trees of the Mediterranean, the araucarias from Central America, the palm trees of Cuba…

"The granite base is impressive. And as the sculpture has a large volume, when approached one becomes dazzled by its beauty.

It will be officially inaugurated on January 28th, coinciding with Jose Marti’s anniversary, facing the Church of the Sacred Angel, the church where he was baptized (in the same church where Father Varela was also baptized), in Havana, the city where he was born, a city that will soon be

500 years old.

"What better way to commemorate Marti’s birth than when his city is scarcely a few months away from turning five centuries?”

- How to approach José Marti in these times?

-Nor with scissors and glue. We cannot approach Marti clipping. We must see a global Marti. That it can be done is to approach through the dissimilar

roads he bequeathed to us and proposes: his beautiful epistolary; his love verses, his free verses; the universe of his journalistic literature; he offers us his political action… all those roads lead suddenly to an absolute Marti, to a figure that requires everyone’s personal interpretation.

alt

Photo: Yuris Nórido / CubaSí

“There’s a vast bibliography of his political and moral dimension (Ezequiel Martínez Estrada, Cintio Vitier, Fina García Marruz, Gonzalo de Quezada); there’s a Martí in the continental political vision (Mañach and so many others)… but the most important thing is to build our own Marti from the knowledge we have about him.

“We must approach him, dialogue with him. It is pretty good to extract quotes, to take out fragments from his work, thoughts… but the nice, the important thing is to insert those thoughts into the complete work”.

—The 27th International Book Fair will be dedicated to your work. How did you take that news?

—I am deeply grateful to the Cuban Book Institute, the Ministry of Culture, the intelligentsia and the Cuban people. They have been very generous. Not because I come to make the representation of saying “I do not deserve this or that”, because it would not only be imprudent, but also offensive for those who have made that decision.

“But I have always considered that I did little to build a work that would take me to the desk, to the necessary and patient consultation of papers. Life has led me to raise stones and lime, to preserve sources, to rescue books, to look for documents, to preserve collections. It took me to the cult of the word, not as a superficial exercise (the hallow word, the one that says nothing, the Manichean rhetoric), but as a vehicle to express such feelings as the love for the Homeland, the awareness that when we love her, we feel a love for the other, for what surrounds us, the American world, for those who suffer and cry, for those who endure…

alt

Photo: Jorge Luis Sánchez/ for CubaSí

“Also for Cuba as regards the accumulation of thought, ideas, the beauty that this country has contributed to the history of America and the world; for Cubans, those I have always felt inseparable part of, part of that people, with their virtues and faults, which are mine; with their lights and shadows, which are mine…

“When I look at all that, I consider that I have done something, I would have wished to do more; once and several times I said that I would need a loam of one life, another more, to be able to do what I want, with the same dedication, as when I climbed stairs in three steps together, as when I travelled long distances daily to reach places”.

“I remember that once an old man approached to me, perhaps he arrived in a timely moment of my life and said: “Listen, I know a technique that perhaps you may remember from your childhood; mothers used to preserve the first year’s little shoes turned into metal: I own that technique; but I am leaving and I do not have family or anyone to leave it with; I am not coming to give you the secret of my work; I am coming to ask you to give me your shoes, those which you have walked through Havana with”.

I handed him the shoes. And when he returned them back to me (they were well kept), I realized that that stage of my life had finished, that I had to begin another.

“Suddenly, children, youngsters began to appear… Even, in a meeting among intellectuals, Fidel told me: “There’s a boy here, son of a friend of ours, Katiuska Blanco, who has replied to me that he wants to be Eusebio Leal’s successor, when I asked him what he wanted to be”.

“It was one consolation that that boy, another or others, are already walking down the streets. I will no longer need another life.

“And if the Book Institute has decided to gather in pages what I once said or wrote, and what has been written and collected from me, and to dedicate this Book Fair to me, I hope it is for good!"

—Havana will celebrate its 500th anniversary next year. How will the historic center of the city take on that festivity?

—Havana has many historic centers. I have already renounced to speak with absolute sense about the historic center. The historic center is perhaps a starting point. But, there are many starting points: in El Cerro, in Marianao, in Miramar, in La Vibora, in Diez de Octubre, in San Francisco de Paula.

“When we talk about the anniversary we not only talk about that past event of the ceiba tree: that is very nice, and we will remember it: El Templete is restored, as well as the paintings, the columns; and the 500th anniversary tree is planted. Two years ago, the other tree showed signs that its time was over and we had to plant another. This morning, I went there early and saw that the ceiba tree was full of green vine shoots.

“Yes, we will celebrate that: the town hall, the first mass, the birth of the city. But the most important thing is what that time means for a city.

alt

Photo: Annaly Sánchez/ CubaSí

“It is the time of a university that will soon have three centuries, it is the result of the tireless work of the Economic Society of Friends of the Country (Sociedad Económica de Amigos del País), of the history of Cuban pedagogy, which has an important part in Havana, of its architects and builders, who made a fantastic city.

“Everyone who arrives in Havana says “What a wonder! What a mystery! What city is this?” Even decadent, as Havana is, when you touch it, it revives. Wherever you touch it, except what falls beaten that will always be less than what has been lost in this continent; in the interests of a misinterpreted modernity it was savagely demolished …

“Havana, for a series of events, has remained in its urbanism and splendor until today. We must touch it with love and prevent its “suburbanization”. And above all: we must take care of those who live in it.

“Being a Havanan cannot be a sign of superiority, but to be so (as Alfredo Guevara rightfully said), you need certain refinement, which is born from culture.

“Fidel used to say (and I do not like to quote him very much, I prefer to follow what he taught me instead) that Revolutions were daughters of ideas and culture. Without culture there is no idea, without ideas there is no culture: this is a dialectical and harmonic relationship.

“It is necessary to see what Cuban culture does from this city.

It is the 500th anniversary for a ballet, for all Cuban music, for poetry, for legal tradition… But this is also the city of the literacy teachers, the city of the sugar-cane cutters, the city of the glorious and unyielding militia, the city of students, the city of workers, where political movements sprung up…

“We are talking about something great. We need to break that silence on the 500th anniversary. Original Havana was founded in 1514, in San Cristobal, on the southern coast, in a spot that archaeologists haven’t found, but that appears in all cartography of that time. San Cristobal and Havana united in a timely moment.

“It already existed In 1514, but in 1519, according to tradition, Havana was founded in the year when Magallanes was travelling around the world, the year when Leonardo da Vinci (the greatest genius of the time) died, the moment when Hernan Cortes and emperor Moctezuma met in Mexico … At midst a changing world, there sprung up the capital of Cuba, the one that was going to the capital of Cuba, that of the Declarations of Havana, that of the glorious resistance…

“Then, Havana deserves not to be perennially vilified as if it were a sterile city. No, this city has given a lot. That is the city we will celebrate”.

Translated by Cubasi Translation Staff

  • Published in Specials

Spanish Singer Enrique Iglesias Shoots Video Clip in Cuba

Havana, Jan 11 (Prensa Latina) Spanish singer Enrique Iglesias has shot in Cuba some scenes for a new video clip with Cuban musician Descemer Bueno and Puerto Rican duo Zion and Lenox.

'Subeme la radio' is the title of the video clip, the song has not yet released, but it is already charging audiovisual personality in this capital, directed by Alejandro Perez, Cuban director of several video clips with Iglesias and Bueno, together and separately.

This time, Perez, a graduate from the Faculty of Audiovisual Media at the Higher Institute of Art (ISA), called the mythical dance group Guaracheros de Regla and the children of the 'Paso a paso' project, directed by Julie Rodriguez, to share some dance moments along with the singers.

The streets in Old Havana next to the Central Railway Station in this capital, was the scene in which Iglesias danced with Cuban dances and took photos with admirers.

The song 'Bailando', composed by Bueno and played with Cuban duo Gente de Zona and the popular Spanish singer, became an international success with several awards and attracted glimpses on the work of Perez, a photography director with a solid career.

  • Published in Culture

Hotel Industry Congress in Cuba Highlights Charms of Old Havana

Havana, (PL) The 26th Pan-American Congress of Schools of Hospitality, Catering and Tourism (CONPEHT) attended by 500 people from 20 countries started with an early morning tour of Havana''s old district.

CONPEHT president, Mexican Ramon Martinez, stated that on each of the five trips he has made to Cuba, its urban areas have presented something new and magical.

Due to be held from October 24th to 28th, CONPEHT reinforces the image of the island as a tourist destination.

Delegates from Brazil, Colombia, Dominican Republic,Spain, Chile, Peru, Bolivia, Puerto Rico and Salvador are attending the congress; they will also visit the Varadero beach resort, about 140 kilometers east of Havana and the Las Terrazas community, west of the capital.

  • Published in Culture

Eusebio Leal Awarded Pan American Tourism Medal

Cuban historian Eusebio Leal Spengler was awarded the Gold Medal for the Pan American Tourism Merit thanks to his efforts in the rescue of Old Havana.

Such award is granted by the Board of the Confederation of Pan American Hotel, Gastronomy and Tourism Schools (CONPEHT), which currently is conducting its 26th Congress at the Convention Center in Havana, which will conclude on October 28th.

The meeting brought together 500 experts from around 20 countries and analyzes different aspects of the training of personnel of the recreational sector.

Eusebio Leal Spengler is the head of the Office of the Historian of Havana, which for many years has made a colossal effort in order to rescue the culture and traditions of Old Havana's heritage. Those efforts are recognized worldwide.

CONPEHT's president, Ramon Martinez, highlighted the work made by Eusebio Leal, his tenacity and passion for the conservation of Havana.

Ramon Martinez also said that the historian works tirelessly in the conservation of buildings and heritage of Havana, which was selected as one of the New 7 Wonder Cities.

Ramon Martinez highlighted that CONPEHT has witnessed these efforts as well as Leal's constant concern for preserving the city.

CONPEHT's president announced to delegates from Latin America and Spain that the Award will be presented to the Historian of Havana in his office, in the historic center of the city, during this week.

This Tuesday the Congress' participants will listen to lectures devoted to tourism and its relationship with crops, culture and community, among other topics.

  • Published in Culture

Hotel Industry Congress in Cuba Highlights Charms of Old Havana

The 26th Pan-American Congress of Schools of Hospitality, Catering and Tourism (CONPEHT) attended by 500 people from 20 countries started today with an early morning tour of Havana''s old district.

CONPEHT president, Mexican Ramon Martinez, stated that on each of the five trips he has made to Cuba, its urban areas have presented something new and magical.

Due to be held from October 24th to 28th, CONPEHT reinforces the image of the island as a tourist destination.

Delegates from Brazil, Colombia, Dominican Republic,Spain, Chile, Peru, Bolivia, Puerto Rico and Salvador are attending the congress; they will also visit the Varadero beach resort, about 140 kilometers east of Havana and the Las Terrazas community, west of the capital.

  • Published in Cuba

Musical Piece Closes 'Rutas y Andares' Project 2016 in Cuba

Havana, Aug 26 (Prensa Latina) With the full version of the musical piece based on the novel ''Les Miserables,'' by Claude-Michel Schonberg and Alain Boublil, the 16th edition of the ''Rutas y Andares'' summer cultural project concludes today.

From the Marti Theater and directed by Alfonso Menendez, the piece will also be a prize for the awarded families that complete the thematic tours and guided visits organized by the Office of the Historian of Havana.

For this edition of the 'Rutas y Andares' project, about 30 trips to museums and other relevant locations within the Cuban capital were drawn up.

The routes or visits to museums were focused on the reconstruction of environments, customs and traditions in Imageries of a city, as well as the binomial Nature and art and Latin American Engraving, as part of the route for the ethnographic museums.

The participants in this project could also choose five other special routes associated with the environment, at La Quinta de los Molinos; the Cuban design and the arts, by visiting the Factoria Habana gallery and the Spanish American Culture Center.

During July and August, the program promoted some 70 workshops and about 20 virtual walks for seniors, and others for children and adolescents that benefited more than 1,000 people.

  • Published in Culture
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