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
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.