Spain honors Eusebio Leal

Eusebio Leal was awarded the Grand Cross of the Royal and Distinguished Spanish Order of Charles III.

HAVANA, Cuba.-The King of Spain, Felipe VI, decorated this Wednesday the Historian of the city of Havana, Eusebio Leal, with the Grand Cross of the Royal and Distinguished Spanish Order of Charles III, the dean of the Spanish distinctions and the highest of the civil orders granted by the Iberian nation.

The Museum of the City – Palace of the Captains General – was the scene of the event, attended by Esteban Lazo, President of the Parliament and of the Council of State, as well as government authorities in the capital.

With moving words of thankfulness, Leal expressed that in Cuban history, Spain in one way or another accompanies us, and recalled the Spanish ancestors of Jose Marti and Antonio Maceo, who were patriots of the Cuban independence.

Previously, the President of the Provincial Assembly of People´s Power, Reinaldo Garcia Zapata, presented King Felipe VI with a replica of the Giraldilla, one of the symbols of Havana.

King and Queen of Spain Visit Founding Site

King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia Ortiz began their official program this Wednesday with a visit to El Templete, a small memorial building that refers to the place where the founding mass of the village of St. Christopher of Havana was officiated 500 years ago.

There the director of the Office of the Historian of the City of Havana, Eusebio Leal, explained to Their Majesties the importance of the precinct opened in 1828.

El Templete treasures canvases by French painter Juan Bautista Vermay recreating the foundational acts, and outside the building stands the Column of Cajigal, erected in 1774 to perpetuate them.

The King and the Queen of Spain also approached the ceiba that symbolically presides over each celebration of Havana’s birthday, when the tradition of turning around it has taken root as a sign of good fortune.