One thousand 700 chewing gums have just been removed from the sculptural set dedicated to José Martí that crowns Libertad´s Park located in the Cuban city of Matanzas, during a restoration of its pink granite pedestal.
To achieve this, another thousand 700 tons of patience was needed, according to the artisan artist Miguel Ojito Fariñas, who was in charge of the work at the construction site, while we talked under the relentless midday sun that diminished the chance to take better photos.
“Journalist,” Ojito said with a face of “get ready for what’s coming” – here we have found WHATEVER: cans of beer crushed behind the statue of Liberty, discarded bottles of expensive and cheap rum, remains of fast food, bags of unclassifiable garbage, human excrement …
Let’s go back to the chewing gum: as he explained, the thing has more than skill. First the spatula is used to detach the “fossil” of the chewing gum spit with impunity on the noble stone, but even then there are some dark, disgusting big spoys, as silent witnesses of a sin against the patrimony that is very difficult to hide.
Silicone and diamond sand discs have to be used for many hours to achieve the desired state, the appearance of the original mineral, whose porosity plays against by favoring the adherence of sticky treats that jeopardize the conservation of important monuments and Sites of historical value throughout the world.
-This time we did not have to play the bronzes -the artist assured me in allusion to the statues of the National Hero of Cuba and of La Libertad with the body of a half-naked and chain-breaking woman- because they are kept in magnificent condition after their previous restoration; we will only apply special oil to protect the pátina.
Remembering the sad passage, in full chat, Miguel and I are outraged as if it were again the year 2013 and we just discovered that someone without preparation, common sense or scruples, severely damaged the monument that reproduces with greater fidelity the features of the Apostle , when practicing a supposed cleaning with corrosive substances.
But then the anger went back to the present to see, with a simple glance, the enduring success of the spectacular restoration of the statues, promptly undertaken to wash that insult, although no less serious faults are repeated day after day, with bad intention or ignorance.
Some words from the restaurateur who amended the damage to the monument in 2013, reproduced by the Juventud Rebelde newspaper, are very revealing: “A girl came and put a flower on the flag, but something like that damages it, because the flower breaks down and it block the drainpipes of that piece. Even that beautiful gesture should be avoided.
” Ojito is a defender of the white gate recently placed by orientation of the Office of the City Curator to limit access to the monument.
The craftsman applauds the measure although never any part of it was part of the original design of the Italian sculptor Salvatore Buemi, creator of the work inaugurated in 1909, fruit of the initiative of Ramón Luis Miranda, doctor and friend of José Martí.
Even with this barrier that today generates so much controversy a few days ago the neighbors had to call the police because some individuals went through the fence and lit a fire on the piece, Ojito Fariñas told me, lamenting at the lack of a strong hand against the abusers of the memory, the bad sons of the Motherland.
It was Ercilio Vento, the current Historian of the City of Matanzas, who after a graphological study of the personality of the Apostle affirmed that he found no hatred or fear in the manuscripts of his handwriting examined.
By its bronze face that radiates peace it seems that the Martí of the Park of La Libertad continues free from resentments and fears from its granite pedestal, in the symbolic heart of the city, while attending our daily routine so provincial, full of nuances.
What would the Master himself say of our lack of civility? Would I forgive the offenses? Would you condemn with your verb any aggression to the patrimony, to the memory?