In the city of Trinidad in central Cuba, the beautiful colonial home on Calle Real (which somebody renamed Jesus Menendez) is a treasure of national heritage. The spacious U shaped house, with a central courtyard that ends in a high stone wall, with several rooms on either side of the patio, stores furniture and brass beds from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Even more interesting are the dozens of religious images of all shapes, sizes, styles and materials, properly restored or in the process of restoration- a treasure.

The owner of this treasure, a Cuban concerned about the loss of these images to people with domestic or foreign currency, has taken on the noble task of rescuing them formerly wealthy houses, or from destroyed or abandoned churches, by purchasing them, often paying more than is offered by prospective buyers, for the sole purpose of avoiding having them taken out of the country, legally or illegally, and lost to Cuba.  To achieve this, he has used part of the proceeds from the sale of his art work – since we are talking about an internationally renowned painter, situated outside the country who quietly,  as advocated by Jose Marti, has done and does more for the national culture, that many who appear daily in the mass media, proclaiming their defense of the Cuban patrimony.

To walk through this house is to return to colonial times and find rooms full of images, placed in the most diverse areas, both at floor level, or on the walls or even hanging from the ceiling, in any room  (living room , bathroom, hallway), many of them full size, living  like part of the artist’s family,  and given protection and maintenance.

This cultural wealth, accumulated over the years, now restored, and maintained with dedication and difficulty, saved from destruction, are now waiting for the coming days of the re-founding of the nation, so they can be returned to the old churches if these are repaired, r maybe to new churches that will be built, or perhaps they will become a treasured part of a religious museum or institution.

 MARIBEL RODRIGUEZ

 

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