HAVANA: Not even persistent rain prevented Havana City to be officially declared a Wonder City of Modern World, with the unveiling of a monument at the entrance of Havana Bay that will bear witness to the decision of hundreds of millions of people worldwide.
From now on, in the esplanade of the San Salvador de la Punta Castle, visitors will be symbolically welcomed by the obelisk and the commemorative plaque endorsing such an award, granted during the third contest organised by the Swiss foundation New7Wonders.
In the presence of Bernard Weber, founder-president of New7Wonders, and Havana City Historian Eusebio Leal, Marta Hernandez, president of People’s Power in the province, expressed pride for the acknowledgement, which she dedicated to the historic leader of the Revolution, Fidel Castro, in his 90th birthday.
She underlined that it is the only capital city in Latin America that has not been transformed by the boom of the policy that encourages development, although she acknowledged the existing degree of deterioration, which has led to a recovery strategy of the heritage treasured by this city, increasingly fashionable among vacationers and celebrities from around the globe.
Hernandez highlighted as Havana’s most valuable resources its human and social capital, and the values of its culture, and argued on the responsibility to preserve and enrich it to reach its 500 years of existence by making it more and more a creator of material and spiritual wealth, more admired by its people and by those who visit it.
With this recognition Havana became part of world memory, commented Weber, while officially giving the Cuban capital the certificate of Wonder City, which also does great credit to La Paz (Bolivia), Doha (Qatar), Durban (South Africa) Beirut (Lebanon), Vigan (Philippines) and Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia).
He said until now global consensus had been impossible, and stressed that the competition was fair, so it has been a success for Cuba as well as for other winning cities.
Speaking to the press, Leal considered it a pride that other people see Havana as a wonder city, a condition that is an encouragement to continue working on something that will last long, he said.
The city is intact, splendour appears in apparent decline, in any building anywhere, you just have to have eyes to see the wonder, he added.
Also attending the ceremony were Julian Gonzalez, Minister of Culture, government officials in the capital, representatives of the Tourism Ministry and the New7Wonders foundation.
In order to celebrate the selection, there was a cultural gala at the Alicia Alonso Gran Teatro de La Habana, with performances by the Concert Band, the National Lyric Theater, the “Litz Alfonso” Ballet, the Entrevoces Choir and the Buena Vista Social Club group, among other artistes.