Full Sun / Rebeca Monzo

Today, with the sun cracking the stones, I went to Old Havana for an appointment at the Commerce Market with the Spanish Foreign Ministry, to start the paperwork for my naturalization as a Spanish citizen.*

Since they called me three weeks ago to set up the appointment, I started to worry and speculate. They never tell you by phone what they need from you.

This time the line, more organized every day thanks to experience (it’s going on the second year now), went faster.

When my turn came, the clerk, certainly very friendly, handed me the paper with the request. It confirmed my suspicions. They are asking for the same thing as last time: A paper proving my grandfather came to Cuba. In early June I requested that document from the National Archives. (See the post: Search For Your Grandpa in the National Archives.)

I called the Archives again (as I do every week) before going to the embassy, and the answer was the same: “Mami, we still haven’t done the research,” the bureaucrat told me. The saddest part is that it’s already paid for because they charge in advance.

On returning home, overwhelmed by frustration, I remembered that a reader of my blog asked me for a photo of the El Template (The Temple) restaurant, so for him and for you. I am including photos of it, and also of the famous Temple with the well-known Ceiba tree.

Translator’s note: Spain has offered citizenship to any Cuban who can prove a Spanish grandparent.

October 1, 2010