Eusebio Leal, alarmed by the emergence of an ‘architecture of necessity’ in Havana

Eusebio Leal, alarmed by the emergence of an 'architecture of necessity' in HavanaHAVANA, Dec. 19th  (DDC) Eusebio Leal was alarmed by the “suburbs” and “architecture of necessity” that are emerging in Havana, in an interview he gave to the official digital magazine CubaLiteraria.

In the extensive statements he criticized the loss of values ​​and at another moment he had words of praise for Fidel Castro and his ideas about culture.

“When I see that people acquire a house and restore it well, I am happy, not when I see that suburbs are emerging within the city and that, apparently, no one realizes that an architecture of necessity is emerging, misguided, because well-oriented could be modest but beautiful, “he said.

“Havana always had simpler neighborhoods (…), but when I see that suburbanization that emerges, I see the city in danger and I see that it is easier to demolish sometimes than to rebuild, I am alarmed a lot,” he said.

He referred to the doldrums in which the restoration works that he led and that led to the historic center of Havana to be declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1982.

“Do not forget that the restoration requires money, money and more money … and to what extent can the country have what is required? It is the worst moment to desire what can not be, the worst moment. little of us will be achieved, “he said.

The historian also spoke of the “discipline, order, humility” that reigned in the past and that he called to “recover”.

“(…) That sense of honesty and decency that comes from the humblest and that does not admit that contempt that sometimes, in a bus, a woman with a child and there is no one to get up. -for so many reasons, ominous, for so many reasons, worthy-it turns out that you were riding a bus and all men were rising, like a kind of dance … “, he said.

He criticized that “that is (also) Havana … Havana of the cinema, Havana of the theaters, Havana of the parks and gardens, Havana of the monuments and statues … What a pain to restore a monument now and that suddenly they come with a graffiti (that they also do with a new material that penetrates the open marble and you have to devastate a millimeter) and that after you finish, come back again “.

“You have to take care of the decoration of the city, its cleanliness, its decorum … How is it possible to go out in the street in a T-shirt? (…) Havana is a capital, not a village, and a capital of a great nation: Cuba. That is Havana, “he said.

The historian praised that Fidel Castro “firmly believed” in the culture as a “Phoenix Bird”.

He paraphrased the song that Raúl Torres dedicated to the late dictator – which he considered “so beautiful” -.

“‘There is not a single altar without a light for you’, but it also says that ahead there is ‘slowly without a rider, a horse for you.’ That is the legacy: that neither death believes that it has died. known to transcend, without the need of statues or monuments, or to try to force or impale with his memory.

Nor to create a religion of his memory. Fidel was (is) a man of ideas. And it is impossible to erase it from the historical time that he had to live, and it will be impossible to erase it from the history of America and the world, “summarized Leal.

Doctor in Historical Sciences and Master in Archaeological Sciences, Leal is the founder of the commercial conglomerate Habaguanex SA, which was absorbed by the corporations CIMEX and TRD Caribe, both belonging to the military consortium Grupo de Administración Empresarial (GAESA), belonging to the Revolutionary Armed Forces (FAR) and headed by Luis Alberto Rodríguez López-Callejas, former son-in-law of Raúl Castro.

Together with the real estate company Fénix and the construction company Puerto Carena, Habaguanex was part of a model of self-management destined to attract foreign currency for the reconstruction of the Historic Center, an initiative that successfully transited and saved the bloody “Special Period” and that would begin to decline with the Outbreaks of corruption scandals in 2012.

After Leal’s work for decades in Old Havana, the neighborhood he rebuilt and restored is not under his jurisdiction or that of his Office, but in the hands of the FAR.

Leal has defined himself as “a survivor of the Revolution” and as his “militant soldier.”