One of the corners of Vicente García Park proudly displays the honorable bust of a Spanish officer, who has become an unforgettable figure in the memory of all Cubans.
Las Tunas, Cuba.- On a gray marble pedestal, the distinguished and peculiar architectural work pays special tribute to the bravest voice against the horrendous execution of the eight medical students, on November 27, 1871. It is of the Iberian military Federico Capdevila, a man who with his dignity transcended the pages of Cuban history.
"Gentlemen of the court, my obligation as a Spanish citizen, my sacred duty as a defender, my honor as a knight, and my modesty as a soldier is to protect and help the innocent and my clients are innocent," he protested in front of those who were in charge of prosecuting the youngsters.
Colonialism committed, at that time, one of its chilling and despicable acts on Cuban soil; for the absurd crime, never proven, of desecrating the grave of the Spanish writer and journalist settled in Cuba Gonzalo de Castañón, an event that his own son denied sometime later.
But the remembrance of the Cubans goes beyond the atrocities of a Spanish power that with its bloody arm marked the future of the Greater of the Antilles, the memory is in those who opposed barbarism and did not remain silent against it. That is why in Las Tunas, from that piece of park, Capdevila is remembered every day as the most noble of the Spanish soldiers.
The sculpture was courtesy of the commercial firm Bacardi-Hatuey and was officially unveiled by the city's Freemasons on November 27, 1956, in an act of memorable solemnity with the participation of a large crowd.
Nicasio Mensa was the goldsmith who was the protagonist of this work, which is 35 inches high and 27 wide, about 2.5 meters from the base to the highest point of the head, a bronze plate and the letters that immortalize the officer: "Federico R. Capdevila, defender of the students 1871.”
Perhaps 152 years seems a long time, but the light that went out in eight innocent souls still hurts and dismays. The words of that soldier, whose bust in the Eastern Cuban Balcony firmly maintains his lineage of decorum, still resonate when he said: "I am completely convinced of the innocence of my clients and the opposite only germinates in the obtuse imagination that ferments in the drunkenness of a small number of seditionists.”