Riding With Calixto / Fernando Dámaso

Calixto Monument in its original location (Angel Faudoa)

Fernando Damaso, 22 December 2017 — It seems that moving tombs and monuments from place to place has become a common practice. Now it turns out that, without consulting the citizen, where the real people’s power supposedly lies, the equestrian statue of General Calixto García Íñiguez which, since the 1950s, has been installed in the Malecón and Calle G roundabout (Avenida de los Presidentes) in El Vedado, has been moved from the Plaza Municipality to the Playa Municipality.

Nor have I heard or read any opinion from a recently elected deputy from these municipalities: it seems that in making the decision they were not consulted.

The public explanation given to the press is laughable: “To avoid its deterioration, due to its proximity to the sea.”

This means that for the same reason, those of Antonio Maceo and Máximo Gómez, also near the sea, will be moved. And the multiple iron sculptures installed by the Historian of the City on Avenida del Puerto along with Roberto Fabelo’s bowl on the Malecón at Galiano.

Will it also happen with the anachronistic Martí of the Anti-Imperialist Bandstand and with the bandstand itself, built by the sea, making this part of El Vedado ugly?

A free Major Lazer concert in the Anti-Imperialist Bandstand in Havana. (theater.acehotel.com)

It is explained that there will be a park with a star, a large Cuban flag and a bronze plaque built in the space where the monument was, explaining that the monument was here and the reasons for its move. I suppose that a budget has been established to replace the large flag from time to time, due to the effects of the saltpeter and the strong wind.

I think that maybe this is no more than a temporary park, similar to those that are built where buildings collapse. Will anyone be interested in such a magnificent place?

In short, these measures only serve to lacerate the identity of our towns and cities, depriving them of part of their architecture, which is also their history.