Ad­mi­ral Cer­ve­ra: A He­ro that Cu­ba Res­pects

Cu­bans and Spa­niards ca­me to­get­her on­ce again to high­light the cha­rac­ter and per­so­na­lity of the Pas­cual Cer­ve­ra To­pe­te

Excelencias Turísticas del caribe y las Américas - - 120 Years Later -

On the oc­ca­sion of the Whi­te Week of Medina Sidonia, an ex­hi­bi­tion spun off from anot­her one that was held at the UNESCO head­quar­ters in Pa­ris in 2017. The one in Medina Sidonia fea­tu­red so­me ex­tra­or­di­nary un­der­wa­ter pic­tu­res ta­ken by pho­to­grap­her Vicente Gon­za­lez Diaz, head of the San­tia­go de Cu­ba Na­val Battle Un­der­wa­ter Ar­chaeo­lo­gi­cal Park.

The ce­re­mony was em­ceed by the ma­yor of the city, Fernando Ma­cias He­rre­ra, who high­ligh­ted the good har­mony with the Cer­ve­ra fa­mily, which had em­bar­ked on co­lla­bo­ra­ting in this tri­bu­te as a con­ti­nua­tion of the one that took pla­ce on July 3 at the Mo­rro Castle in San­tia­go de Cu­ba.

In his key­no­te pre­sen­ta­tion to open the ex­hi­bi­tion, the ma­yor al­so an­noun­ced the re­mo­de­ling and re­lo­ca­tion of the exis­ting bust of the Ad­mi­ral, so­meo­ne they are proud to ha­ve as an illus­trious neigh­bor who was born in 1839.

In his speech, Pas­cual Cer­ve­ra de la Chi­ca, pre­si­dent of the Fa­mi­lia Cer­ve­ra As­so­cia­tion, spe­lled out de­tails about the re­la­tions­hip that has been bre­wing for mo­re than 20 years around the fi­gu­re of the Ad­mi­ral and his re­cog­ni­tion by the Cu­ban aut­ho­ri­ties Cu­bans, a country that ne­ver hid its ad­mi­ra­tion and res­pect for the fa­mous and de­co­ra­ted Spa­nish ser­vi­ce­man.

For his part, Vicente Gon­za­lez Diaz, head of the San­tia­go de Cu­ba Na­val Battle Un­der­wa­ter Ar­chaeo­lo­gi­cal Park, stres­sed on the ef­forts to pre­ser­ve the sun­ken ves­sels com­man­ded by Ad­mi­ral Cer­ve­ra, which ha­ve al­ready been de­cla­red part of Cu­ba's Na­tio­nal Heritage. Mr. Gon­zá­lez said in his re­marks that “it is a pri­vi­le­ge to know the his­tory th­rough the­se wrecks, ex­cep­tio­nal wit­nes­ses of tho­se war events oc­cu­rred in 1898, and to un­ra­vel the dis­cour­se that is be­queat­hed to us: a trea­su­re of the un­der­wa­ter cul­tu­ral heritage which che­ris­hes the right of fu­tu­re ge­ne­ra­tions to del­ve in­to a glo­rious pa­ge of Uni­ver­sal His­tory.”

Fo­llo­wing that mo­ment, I had the honor to de­li­ver a lec­tu­re that hin­ged on pain­ting a different ima­ge of my great-grand­fat­her, ot­her than the usual one as far as mi­li­tary is­sues are con­cer­ned. It was a different vi­sion of his cha­rac­ter whe­reby we to­get­her loo­ked in­to his hu­ma­ne si­de and un­ders­tood the reasons for so­me de­ci­sions he had to ma­ke du­ring that in­sa­ne war back in 1898.

And among the great dis­play of do­cu­men­ta­tion and images that could be ex­hi­bi­ted and sha­red with all at­ten­dees, the­re was a uni­que do­cu­ment that for 145 years had re­mai­ned dor­mant among the fi­les of his per­so­nal archive: the “pa­tent” or cer­ti­fi­ca­te the First Re­pu­blic gran­ted to Pas­cual Cer­ve­ra in 1873 as Cap­tain of Fri­ga­te, and as a re­cog­ni­tion to his ac­tions as a staunch and stead­fast de­fen­der of the cons­ti­tu­tio­nal or­der, that at that ti­me was cons­trued as the re­pu­blic. It's a do­cu­ment that brings down the ar­gu­ment used months ago by the ma­yor of Bar­ce­lo­na (Co­lau) about the ad­mi­ral. The fact of the mat­ter is that Pas­cual Cer­ve­ra al­ways abo­de by his duty and al­ways ho­no­red the cons­ti­tu­tio­nal or­der, eit­her in the re­pu­bli­can or mo­nar­chi­cal eras.

The ex­hi­bi­tion of pho­to­graphs was com­ple­ted with so­me of the art­works pain­ted by Cu­ban pain­ter Rey­nal­do Vi­lla­mil, who was al­so in at­ten­dan­ce, as well as a spec­ta­cu­lar sca­le-down mo­del of the Ad­mi­ral Oquen­do ar­mo­red battles­hip, built by Agus­tin Pa­lo­ma.

Af­ter the lec­tu­re, at­ten­dees we­re of­fe­red an ape­ri­tif that com­bi­ned Cu­ban mo­ji­tos with Spa­nish ome­let, as they chat­ted and feas­ted eyes on the pain­tings and pho­to­graphs cu­ra­ted for the ex­hi­bi­tion. A one-and-only ex­hi­bit in which Cu­bans and Spa­niards, on­ce again, we­re twin­ned and whe­re many par­ti­ci­pants we­re sur­pri­sed to hear about Ad­mi­ral Pas­cual Cer­ve­ra To­pe­te's cha­rac­ter and per­so­na­lity.

el ho­me­na­je a Cer­ve­ra en Medina Sidonia tu­vo lu­gar tam­bién una exposición de pin­tu­ra y fo­to­gra­fía sub­acuá­ti­ca. In the ho­ma­ge paid to Cer­ve­ra in Medina Sidonia, the­re was al­so an ex­hi­bi­tion of pain­tings and un­der­wa­ter pho­to­graphy.

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