Eusebio Leal Spengler: man who found the truth behind the story (+ Photos)

By Lázaro David Najarro Pujol

July, 2020.- Eusebio Leal Spengler, the simple man despite his greatness, dedicated almost all his life with love, integrity and passion to the preservation of the tangible and intangible heritage of Havana, died this Friday, in the Cuban capital.

The immense man who defended that “heritage many times does not sufficiently represent what it hides: his own legend” departs for eternity.

I remember it from a distance, in my systematic trips to Havana, when I used to walk through Old Havana from south to north, perched on the scaffolding in efforts to rebuild that historic segment of the Cuban capital, giving directions and persuading the operators, how the work they undertook should look better. Many of us believed that it was an impossible task.

Although he began his employment relationship in 1959 at the Havana Metropolitan Administration, he graduated in 1975 with a BA in History from the University of Havana, that young rebel and defender of good actions and justice dedicated himself to saving history, not only architectural, but also that which lives in the soul of men.

He walked the streets of Havana making history with his affable character and a communicator par excellence. He loved the City of Havana, where he was born on September 11, 1942. For him “in the field of cultural heritage there are many facets, the unknown is more pleasing than what is known,” one person who told us once said. I considered “a professional of my work”.

He disliked tardiness because lost minutes is “time that does not return. It is the time of my life. I can dedicate another time to you but it will be one more time of my life. Time as it passes becomes an agony for all of us who live as prisoners of it ”, he expressed with full conviction and added:“ life passes, time does not, time is the same as it is passing ”.

Leal never stopped in the face of difficulties and took on challenges that didn’t seem like the kind of young man who liked to visit the Avenue of the Presidents, at the same corner of 23, dressed as Elvis Presley.

He became a Doctor in Historical Sciences from the University of Havana, Master in Studies on Latin America, the Caribbean and Cuba, a specialist in Archaeological Sciences, it is due to Leal that Old Havana and the Fortification System for the defense of the city were enrolled on the World Heritage Index in 1982.

He held different administrative and political responsibilities, including member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba since the IV Congress, Deputy to the National Assembly of People’s Power in IV-1993, V-1998, VI-2003, VII-2008, VIII -2013 and IX –2018 Legislatures and Goodwill Ambassador of the United Nations.

Many of us remember them when one warm morning in June 2013 Eusebio Leal opened our hearts to us. He was very excited about the results of the Third International Diploma in Media to Communicate Heritage. He told us about unpublished experiences of his youth.

We were thrilled with stories. We struck a chord with impressive anecdotes. He urged us to search for the “truth behind the story, which sometimes surprises us because it is totally different from what we knew, believed or considered.” (Author’s photos)(Translated by Linet Acuña Quilez)

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