On its 502 anniversary, Havana unveils life-size statue of Eusebio Leal

On its 502 anniversary, Havana unveils life-size statue of Eusebio Leal
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16 November 2021
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A few hours before the 502nd anniversary of the founding of San Cristobal de la Habana, a life-size statue of the city's beloved Historian, the late Eusebio Leal Spengler,  was unveiled Monday evening.

Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez unveiled the sculpture, a work by sculptors José Villa Soberón and Gabriel Cisneros Báez, his assistant, which was placed at the entrance of the Palace of the Captains General.

The bronze work shows Leal with several books in one hand and greeting everyone, a familiar gesture to the residents and visitors of the city.

That life-size statue is the one "we have dreamed of for Leal, to perpetuate his legacy so that new generations will have that emblem in bronze," said Magda Resik, director of Communications of the Historian's Office, during the ceremony.

After uncovering, together with Javier Leal, Eusebio's son, the white sheet that covered the sculpture, the Head of State went inside the Palace of the Captains General -today the City Museum- to also unveil a plaque in honor of the Historian.

Just above the bench where Eusebio used to sit and share with his colleagues, his subordinates, his longtime collaborators and where he was also seen alone in his daily reflections, now reads: "I wanted to lock Old Havana in the stone walls of a museum, but she made me a prisoner of her walls forever."

On this night of tributes to Eusebio and his Havana, the president also went to El Templete, a symbolic place of the city, where on November 16, 1519, the first mass and the first town council of the Villa were held. Díaz-Canel, along with his wife Lis Cuesta Peraza, and the top authorities of the province and the Office of the Historian, did the three laps around the ceiba tree, an ancient tradition, in which people walk counterclockwise and make a wish.

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