June 26, 2019

La Habana celebrates its 500th anniversary

In the picture the Ambassador of Cuba to The Netherlands, H.E. Ms Soraya Alvarez cutting the 500 Anniversary cake representing the monuments of La Habana.

The Ambassador of Cuba to the Netherlands, H.E. Ms. Soraya Alvarez Nunez, celebrated with glam the 500th anniversary of the great city of La Habana, together with the members of the Hispanic Association of The Hague and many Latin American Ambassadors and diplomats, who gathered to support Cuba in this very special occasion. 

Edith Bergansius, the President of the Hispanic Association of The Hague, introduced Ambassador Alvarez Nunez, after briefly outlining the event’s program. More than a hundred guests, the majority of them being Dutch, filled up the room to its maximum capacity, listening attentively to the Ambassador of Cuba.

The Ambassador of Cuba H.E. Ms. Soraya Alvarez.

In her remarks, the Ambassador said: “2019 is for Cuba a year full of great celebrations, which began on January 1 with the commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the triumph of the Revolution.

On this occasion we gathered to remember the celebration of the 500th anniversary of the founding of the Villa of San Cristobal de La Habana on November 16, 1519 by Pánfilo de Narvéz, which received the title of city in 1592 and became the capital of the island. Its name comes from the Indian cacique Habaguanex, lord of those lands. Thanks to its excellent port and its geographical position, Havana became the main naval station of Spain in the Western Hemisphere.”

Members and guests of the Spanish Association of The Hague during the ambassador commemorative speech for the 500 Anniversary of La Habana.

Moreover, Ambassador Alvarez Nunez brought to the attention of the public the recovery of 700 houses in the historical part of La Habana – with the aim of giving them back to the people, thus making the citizens of Cuba the focus of the major renovation.

The essence of this project – as noted by the City’s Historian Eusebio Vidal – “is to make the historical places of La Habana habitable for its citizens, renewed to give them back as schools, community centers, businesses, offices, hotels, retirement houses and the like”.

Edith Bergansius, H.E. Hector Horacio Salvador, Ambassador of Argentina, H.E. Ms. Marithza Ruiz de Vieltman, Ambassador of Guatemala, H.E. Mr. Agustin Vazquez Gomez, Ambassador of El Salvador, the Ambassador of Cuba, H.E. Ms. Maria Teresa Infante Caffi, Ambassador of Chile and the Charge d’affaires of Venezuela, Mr. Wilhen Neomar Diaz Lara.

“ Cuba has celebrated in the last years the 500th anniversary of several cities of the national patrimony, among them, as they are known today, Baracoa in 2011, Bayamo in 2013, Trinidad and Puerto del Príncipe in 2014 and Santiago de Cuba in 2015.

Among the nine heritage sites declared by UNESCO in Cuba, is the Historic Center of Havana, declared Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 1982 by UNESCO, for being one of the largest and best-preserved architectural complexes in America.

Currently, in Havana, capital of the Republic, military and residential buildings, which marked milestones in the sixteenth century; XVII and XVIII, continue showing their splendour; its cobblestone streets, its balustrades, the numerous squares and the semicircular arches that refine the interiors of the colonial palaces.” – Ambassador Alvarez Nunez said with pride.

After the Ambassador’s speech, the master of ceremony introduced the official video of the 500th anniversary of La Habana, where well-known Cuban artists participated with their different styles, giving a vast overview of the quality of Cuban musicians. The theme has been promoted since June last year.

Jorge Martinez playing well known Cuban’ songs.

Then, it was time for Jorge Martinez to come to show in person how Cubans play music. With a great soul and rhythm, he interpreted with the piano and the guitar many traditional songs, as well as a song from his own repertoire. The performance was so impressive that the public did not let him terminate the show, continuously asking more songs.

The guests enjoyed songs such El Manicero, Guantanamera, Silencio, until the artist finally asked the enthusiastic audience to listen to one last song, Enrique Iglesias’ hit Bailando. This showed Spain’s solidarity to Cuba, which is crucial nowadays: while investors and tourists coming from the United States are decreasing due to the recent economic sanctions imposed by the US government, Spain remains the largest foreign investor in Cuba.

A delicious chocolate cake, representing the monuments of La Habana – a creation of Marta Orban.

Mojitos and many Cuban delights accompanied the guests while waiting for the next key moment: the cut of a fabulous chocolate cake, representing the monuments of La Habana – a creation of Marta Orban. The Ambassador of Cuba invited her colleagues to cut the cake together. 

Edit Bergansius, inexhaustible and galvanized by the event’s success, said goodbye to all the guests leaving the celebration. The Spanish Association continuously organizes precious Spanish-speaking events for its members.  

Comments are closed.