An Indecent Proposal / Fernando Damaso

Fernando Damaso, 26 November 2018 — Now that the 500th Anniversary of the founding of the Villa of San Cristóbal de La Habana will be celebrated next year, with the aim of helping the city recover its identity, it would be healthy to restore some of its avenues, streets, roads, theaters, cinemas, health and education centers, parks, shops, businesses, museums and other public places, to their original and traditional names, which were changed in times of ideological disease and political opportunism.

Thus the original Carlos III and Dolores avenues; the Jesús del Monte road; the Blanquita theater; the Warner, Radiocentro, Rodi and Olympic cinemas; the Normal School park; the La Covadonga, La Benéfica and La Dependiente hospitals; La Balear, the Baldor, Trelles and Marist schools — La Salle, Belen and Escolapios; the Edison Institute; La Estrella, La Ambrosía, Tropical, Polar and Hatuey factories and dozens of other places and commercial centers would reclaim their historical names.

The changing of the original and traditional names under which they were known, in addition to an attack on the identity of the city, shows a lack of respect for the residents of Havana.

The new names, logically, should have been used for new constructions or installations of different types, but never to supplant the original designations, deeply held by the citizens.

The Queen’s Road (Reina), although officially called Simón Bolívar, was, is and will always be Reina. The same will happen with Monte, although it is officially called Máximo Gómez, and with many other roads, avenues, streets, establishments, and so on. The force of custom, converted into tradition and identity, is much stronger than any bureaucratic decision. Our authorities should know that. The only one who has respected the identity of the city has been Dr. Eusebio Leal, Historian of Havana.

By the way, Havana was founded, built and developed during the 440 years corresponding to the colonial period and that of the Republic: in the last 60 years of tropical socialism it was destroyed and became the ruin that it is today. That is more clear than filtered water!

Translated by Wilfredo Díaz Echevarria