White bed sheets: posthumous tribute to Havana City Historian Eusebio Leal

White bed sheets are hanging on balconies and roofs in Havana as a posthumous tribute to City Historian Eusebio Leal Spengler, who died on Friday.

Havana, Cuba.- The initiative also includes social media, where web surfers are using phrases such as Siempre Leal (Always Loyal) or Leal a mi Habana (Loyal to my Havana), and hashtags related to his name have become a trend on Twitter.

The symbolism of the white bed sheets hanging from balconies comes from a popular song by Cuban singer-songwriter Gerardo Alfonso, in which he evokes with that image the open and frank spirit of Cubans and Havana residents' love for their city.


Numerous messages from politicians, intellectuals, and artists from around the world have expressed sorrow for the passing of the Historian of Havana CityNumerous messages from politicians, intellectuals, and artists from around the world have expressed sorrow for the passing of the Historian of Havana City, Eusebio Leal Spengler. He died in Havana Friday morning after battling a painful disease. He was 77.

The President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro Moros, said in a statement published in the South American nation's Foreign Ministry that: "Until his last breath, this dear friend of the Homeland of Simón Bolívar and Hugo Chávez was a tireless revolutionary; whose wonderful work the peoples of the world are grateful for, and we pay tribute to him today for giving humanity all the historical splendor of an architecture and a past restored with patience, fidelity, dignity and, above all, with a great sense of patriotism.

Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega Saavedra and Vice President Rosario Murillo sent a message in which they expressed that " he will always be in our hearts, because here we have had it, as a brother who loves our memory, our culture, literature, crafts and popular art, everything that as an expert he knew how to appreciate in Nicaraguan history, art, tradition, patriotic pride and legacy that, following the example of Eusebio, we must take care of".

The President of the Government of the Kingdom of Spain, Pedro Sánchez, posted on Twitter: "Eusebio Leal has passed away. A great historian of Havana, he dedicated most of his life to recover the heritage of the capital. His immense work will always remain in the streets, culture, and history of Cuba".

For his part, Ireland´s Preesidentthrough the Irish president's Twitter account, he acknowledged the sadness of the sensitive death of the Historian of Havana, "I am saddened to hear of the death of the Historian of the City of Havana, Dr Eusebio Leal Spengler, whom I had the pleasure of meeting. Ireland shares the sorrow of the Cuban people for the loss of its esteemed historian.".

The Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), Alicia Bárcena, tweeted that "it is with great sorrow that I receive the news of Eusebio Leal's departure, unforgettable tours of Havana in his company and enjoying his intelligence and sense of humor. To his family, friends, Miguel Díaz-Canel, his people, my heartfelt condolences. Farewell Eusebio".

For his part, the Mexican Foreign Minister, Marcelo Ebrard, lamented through a tweet the death of someone he described as a "great friend of Mexico" and stressed that "his enormous work for the rehabilitation of the Historical Center of Havana has been recognized worldwide.

The Argentine political scientist Atilio Borón praised Eusebio Leal's qualities on social networks. "A universal Cuban, like Retamar: historian, anthropologist, philosopher, exceptional speaker, a clear and brilliant mind like very few others. A Renaissance man. Manager of the recovery of Old Havana, an exemplary revolutionary," he said.
(PL / RHC)