Havana asks Palma de Mallorca to renew the loan of the historic Maceo Chair

Havana asks Palma de Mallorca to renew the loan of the historic Maceo Chair

HAVANA, Feb 2 (EFE).- The city of Havana has proposed to the Spanish city council of Palma de Mallorca to renew the already expired loan of the Maceo Chair – an object of symbolic value linked to the Cuban independence leader Antonio Maceo – and even include it in an exchange of historical objects.

The proposal of the Office of the Historian of the City of Havana is known after the loan of the chair expired – which was made for two years and then another three, until November 16, 2023 – without the object – with more historical and symbolic value than artistic value – will return to Spain at the end of the stipulated period.

Now, the director of Heritage Assets of the Historian’s Office, Grisel Terrón, explains to EFE, that Cuba is looking for formulas to be able to keep this “endearing” object for Cubans and important “from the point of view” on the island for longer. affective”.

“As happens in the heritage world, we are asking to renew the (loan) contract for some time. We have not proposed that it be a donation, what we are asking for is an extension,” explains Terrón.

This extension, she adds, could simply be an extension of the current loan or be included within a “temporary or permanent” exchange of different pieces of art between Havana and Palma de Mallorca.

For this last option, the Office of the Historian has offered the Spanish city several pieces of historical value: a pocket wallet of Arsenio Martínez Campos (governor-general of colonial Cuba between 1869 and 1871), a period Spanish pennant and two oil paintings by Martínez Campos (choose one), one of which is attributed to the painter Aurelio Melero.

Questioned about this, Terrón assures that the Historian’s Office would be very happy if the Palma de Mallorca City Council finally chose to donate Maceo’s Chair to them, something for which they would be prepared.

“If Palma wanted to donate the chair, we would receive it with great happiness. But we understand that there is a signed agreement that must be respected,” says the director of Heritage Assets, who emphasizes that her entity is “with the greatest willingness” to receive one. donation.

Terrón reported that the request for an extension was sent to the mayor of Mallorca before the loan was concluded and that, while waiting for the response (although it was already out of time), a temporary thematic exhibition about Maceo with the chair was organized in a showcase, as the main claim.

In the Flag room of the Palace of the Captains General, in Old Havana, the piece crowns a temporary exhibition that started on December 7 and that this week closes its doors after more than 6,600 visits.

The chair arrived in Havana in 2018, on the occasion of the visit to the island of the President of the Spanish Government, Pedro Sánchez, and after having aroused the interest of the then historian of Havana, the renowned and influential Eusebio Leal.

Last September, the mayor of Palma de Mallorca, Jaime Martínez Llabrés, reminded the Cuban consul in Barcelona, Alejandro Castro Medina, that the loan was soon to expire and that Maceo’s Chair “should be returned to Palma.” , according to what its city council later wrote on social networks.

The chair “has, above all, the symbolic value”, something very complex to value, explains Terrón. The object is carved, in a very rustic way, from a palm trunk. Its base is cylindrical, without legs.

On the back are engraved the initials of the Cuban independence leader, A and M, with a five-pointed star between them, and just below the date on which the chair was made, in 1896. Its state of conservation is good.

Historical records indicate that a guajiro (Cuban peasant) gave it to Maceo during his campaign against the Spanish, but it is unknown to what extent it was used by the independence leader because the chair is quite heavy and difficult to transport.

The object was part of a loot in the war and it is believed that it was taken to Spain by the Spanish soldier and politician Valeriano Weyler. His descendants later donated it to the Museum of Palma de Mallorca, where it was kept until it was loaned to Havana.