Havana Turns 501 and Pays Tribute to Eusebio Leal

Amidst the struggle against the Covid-19 pandemic, the Wonder City of Havana is celebrating its 501 foundation anniversary

View of one of the streets in Old Havana
A special tribute will be paid to Eusebio Leal, the city’s historian who died last July. (Photo: Abel Padrón Padilla / Cubadebate).

Havana, the capital of Cuba, celebrates this Monday the 501st anniversary of its founding amidst the struggle against the Covid-19, advancing towards new normality and paying tribute to the late City Historian Eusebio Leal.

Several inaugurations of public works preceded the anniversary celebrations, which, according to provincial authorities, demonstrate the will to overcome the difficulties generated by the pandemic and the economic crisis, worsened by the intensification of the U.S. blockade.

According to specialists, the capital city is going through a favorable epidemiological scenario, which allowed the 2019-2020 school year’s continuity and the resumption of commercial, regular, and charter operations on Sunday at the José Martí International Airport, the main gateway to the country.

More than 20 flights from different countries, 11 of them from the United States, marked the intense first day of the airport operations.

According to Yanet Hernández, the provincial vice-governor, in statements to the Cuban News Agency, on Sunday night, the traditional circle around the ceiba tree was held in the Templete garden, considered the city’s founding spot, as a prelude to the anniversary.

On this occasion, the celebrations follow strict sanitary measures. This will not prevent the inauguration of several social works in Old Havana, and presenting outstanding personalities of the province with the 500th Anniversary stamp, explained Hernández.

A special tribute will be paid to Eusebio Leal, the city’s historian who died last July. He was responsible for the restoration of the capital’s historic center.

In this regard, the Marti Theater’s reopening stands out with the premiere of a documentary dedicated to Leal, directed by Omelio Borroto, director of Mundo Latino.

On November 16, the foundation of the Villa de San Cristóbal in Havana is celebrated, and 1519 is taken as the year of its creation.

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