The Full Life of a Historian for Posterity

By Madeleine Sautié on August 1, 2020

Photo: Ismael Francisco

Someday it had to be. We knew it and we also knew that you knew it, because you spoke of the sunset, the most human of fears, with robust courage, from that time when you were sick and Havana, in your absence, did not stop looking for you.

But you did not. Death in love didn’t want to take you, it thought better of it, it left us with you a little longer. Perhaps because you had not yet fulfilled your Havana’s 500th, and he avoided sacrilege. As you said, “Luckily, it didn’t happen, he sent me an affectionate note and said, not for now”. And you went back to work, to the books, to the Fair at the Cabaña, to your blue girlfriend’s party. And they were the conduits of love sustenance in the return.

Today no one will come to tell us that it was a lie. That you’re better, and that you’re coming back. Today it is true the “hard slap”, “the icy blow”, and no one should be invited to exalt you. You, who aspired to nothing great, but to serve; you who were not seduced by glory, but to exalt the glorifiable, are today in every Cuban a word that is said with modesty, a symbol of integrity.

With a fine expression the President names you today: “Don Eusebio of the memory in love has died, the one who made us cry and laugh with the history of the nation that we are by giving it character and soul, giving it names and illuminating its darkness like someone who turns on lights in the middle of the night”. And he invited us to celebrate your “wonderful passage through life, too brief for those of us who loved him for his work and for himself”. The one who is guiding us today insists that we follow “in those footsteps, the patient and infinite work of saving the heritage of our Cuba to which he loved and devoted his life so much. Eusebio Leal”.

“Today the Cuban who saved Havana at Fidel’s request has left us, and he took that responsibility so passionately that his name is no longer his own, but a synonym for the City,” said Díaz-Canel, and he is right. Fused into the memory, there is no way to think of Havana without you coming with it, nor will it be possible to evoke you without the city keeping you company. The Full Life of a Historian for Posterity.

Source: Granma, translation, Resumen Latinoamericano, North America bureau