Welcome to Scribd. Sign in or start your free trial to enjoy unlimited e-books, audiobooks & documents.Find out more
Download
Standard view
Full view
of .
Look up keyword
Like this
1Activity
0 of .
Results for:
No results containing your search query
P. 1
The Cuban National Experience

The Cuban National Experience

Ratings: (0)|Views: 66|Likes:

More info:

Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

Availability:

Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
download as DOCX, PDF, TXT or read online from Scribd
See more
See less

09/24/2010

pdf

text

original

 
P
ROCEEDINGS OF THE
 US/ICOMOS
 
I
NTERNATIONAL
S
YMPOSIUM
 
U.S.
 
P
RESERVATION IN THE
G
LOBAL
C
ONTEXT
 
I
NDIANAPOLIS
,
 
I
NDIANA
,
 
USA
 
 
6-9
 
A
PRIL
2000U
NITED
S
TATES
N
ATIONAL
C
OMMITTEE OF THE
I
NTERNATIONAL
C
OUNCIL ON
M
ONUMENTS AND
S
ITES
 C
OMITÉ
N
ATIONAL DES
E
TATS
U
NIS DU
C
ONSEIL
I
NTERNATIONAL DES
M
ONUMENTS ET DES
S
ITES
 
The Cuban National Experience
Isabel Rigol SavioICOMOS CubaCuba has a rich and diverse cultural heritage that has been basically preserved while othercountries in the same area lost a great part of their historic towns, monuments and sites duringthe second half of the XXth century. As it often happens, the lack of funds and a limitedinvestment capacity did not allow the transformation or modernization of these valuable builttock. At the same time, after 1959 most investments were orientated towards the rural areasand out of the capital city with the aim of achieving a more balanced territorial development.Cuban towns, and particularly their historic areas, remained mostly untouched or at least kepttheir main characteristics.
 
Before the sixties, only isolated monuments or plazas were intervened. It is important to quotethat the first significant works took place on Plaza de Armas during the 20's performed byarchitects Govantes and Cabarrocas and on Plaza de la Catedral by Architect Luis Bay Sevilla in1936, both responding more or less to a philosophy related to Viollet Le Duc, so commonlyemployed at those times. Later, some other important monuments were restored, though in aquestionable manner. In general a policy on preservation did not exist, although theConstitution clearly established the state's obligation to do so and some decrees had declaredOld Havana, Trinidad and Bayamo as National Landmarks. The influence of Modern Movementprevailed on most architects' and decision makers' thinking. While a lot of good architecturewas built in Havana, for instance, little was done in the field of preserving urban andarchitectural heritage.
 
As a consequence of the overall cultural and educational program launched in the sixties, aNational Commission for Landmarks was created, working in coordination with the culturalauthorities. Important tasks were then undertaken in Havana. Some of them were La FuerzaCastle (XVIth century), started to be restored by the Catalonian Francisco Prat Puig in 1958,Plaza de la Catedral where the Colonial Arts museum and a restaurant were installed, JoséMartí's birth house and others. After the Venice Charter in 1964 the preservation works wouldbe guided under a broader scope in terms of a clearer understanding of whole complexes andnot only of the sole monument. Research programs and inventories were started in the mainrecognized historic towns as Havana, Trinidad and Santiago de Cuba. Under Dr. Marta Arjona's
 
P
ROCEEDINGS OF THE
 US/ICOMOS
 
I
NTERNATIONAL
S
YMPOSIUM
 
U.S.
 
P
RESERVATION IN THE
G
LOBAL
C
ONTEXT
 
I
NDIANAPOLIS
,
 
I
NDIANA
,
 
USA
 
 
6-9
 
A
PRIL
2000U
NITED
S
TATES
N
ATIONAL
C
OMMITTEE OF THE
I
NTERNATIONAL
C
OUNCIL ON
M
ONUMENTS AND
S
ITES
 C
OMITÉ
N
ATIONAL DES
E
TATS
U
NIS DU
C
ONSEIL
I
NTERNATIONAL DES
M
ONUMENTS ET DES
S
ITES
 
orientation in the seventies, a team of young architects formulated the first draft for OldHavana's General Guidelines, in coordination with the Master Plan for the City of Havana. In1976 two basic laws were approved by the National Assembly, Number One on the NationalCultural Heritage and Number Two on National and Local Landmarks. With the ideas comprisedon the General Plan and a stronger legal support, the Ministry of Culture and the Historian'sOffice formulated in 1981 a Five Year Plan for the Rehabilitation of Old Havana . For the firsttime there was at least a short term program referred to the whole historic town. Also for thefirst time, a considerable budget had been approved by the central government with thispurpose. Among the most important works started were Plaza de Armas and its surroundings,Plaza Vieja and Santa Clara Convent.
 
In order to obtain an international support, the conditions already existed: a national and localawareness on a recognized valuable heritage, updated legal instruments, a lot of research onmonuments and historic towns (mainly Old Havana), an acceptable amount of trainedprofessionals (above all, committed young ones), a system of national and local institutions incharge, a considerable budget allocated....Cuba had been early and closely related to UNESCOthrough the efforts of some outstanding national intellectuals and, among other actions hadsigned the World Heritage Convention in 1981. Under these favorable circumstances on thatyear the Cultural Heritage Directorship of the Ministry of Culture applied for a five year termUNESCO UNDP project in order to support the creation of the National Center for Conservation,Restoration and Museology as a specialized entity that would be devoted to research, to train,to advice and to undertake relevant preservation projects countrywide as well as to work on aregional cooperation. This center started to function in 1982 in La Fuerza Fortress while SantaClara Convent was restored. Three years later part of the Center, until more restored areaswere available in 1985) moved to the Convent where a specialized library and a classroom,among other new functions, were installed.
 
At the same time Havana and its Fortifications were proposed and included in the WorldHeritage List. An International Campaign for the Safeguarding of Plaza Vieja was also thenapproved and announced in Havana by Amadou Mahtar MBow, UNESCO's General Director.Beyond some funds obtained from UNESCO and small donations from abroad, what was reallymore significant from such a Campaign was the local stimuli to the rehabilitation, if not all, of five of the most threatened Colonial buildings surrounding the Plaza. In order to revitalize theformerly decayed are three relevant cultural institutions moved to their new venues in PlazaVieja while fifty families from the town, that lived in bad conditions improved their livingstandards when they got the new flats produced by the rehabilitation plan.
 
The UNESCO UNDP support to the National Center (a first stage from 1981 to 1986 and asecond from 1986 to 1990) meant the considerable contribution of one million US dollars to theprocess of establishing a strong national technical foundation with a regional scope. Neverbefore Cuba had had an overall postgraduate training program on preservation as the one theninitiated and held with the assistance of well known professors from ICCROM as well as
 
P
ROCEEDINGS OF THE
 US/ICOMOS
 
I
NTERNATIONAL
S
YMPOSIUM
 
U.S.
 
P
RESERVATION IN THE
G
LOBAL
C
ONTEXT
 
I
NDIANAPOLIS
,
 
I
NDIANA
,
 
USA
 
 
6-9
 
A
PRIL
2000U
NITED
S
TATES
N
ATIONAL
C
OMMITTEE OF THE
I
NTERNATIONAL
C
OUNCIL ON
M
ONUMENTS AND
S
ITES
 C
OMITÉ
N
ATIONAL DES
E
TATS
U
NIS DU
C
ONSEIL
I
NTERNATIONAL DES
M
ONUMENTS ET DES
S
ITES
 
European, Latin American, Canadian and American universities and institutes specialized on thefield. At the same time local specialists attended courses and research programs abroad withscholarships provided by ICCROM, the Italian Foreign Affairs Ministry, the Spanish CooperationAgency, the Getty Conservation Institute, Goethe Foundation from Germany scholarships givenby Regional UNESCO UNDP Project and other sources.
 
An advanced equipment for conservation laboratories (the largest then in Latin America then)was acquired. A close link with specialized international organizations and well known instituteslike the Bundesdenkmalampt from Vienna, the Louvre Laboratories, Preservation Program fromPennsylvania University and others was established.
 
A Regional scope was approached through the Center's own development and its relationshipto UNESCO. Particularly important was the UNESCO UNDP Regional Project led by Sylvio Mutalwhich definitely helped to achieve a Latin American and Caribbean network.
 
Bilateral agreements with foreign entities like the Polish Restoration Agency (PKZ) were thensigned in order to assist Cubans with their recognized expertise and to train professionals andcraftsmen.
 
Within the UNITWIN Program sponsored by UNESCO a Regional Chair on IntegratedConservation, encompassing research and training for tropical conditions among other topics,was approved by UNESCO in 1994.
 
Even though the considerable amount of efforts and funds dedicated to training and capacitybuilding, for a country with limited resources and a particular economic status, it was difficultto find all the financial means needed to rehabilitate its built heritage. Undoubtedly, withoutthe above mentioned ways of assistance, the Cuban heritage institutions would have neverachieved in such a relatively short term the their skills.
 
The so called Special Period which started in 1990 after the collapse of the East EuropeanSocialist Countries (with which most Cuban economic trade took place), could have meant aprofound paralysis of the preservation programs. And it initially did. But little by little, newways of doing were found. First of all it is obliged to mention the role played by Eusebio Leal,the Historian of the City of Havana, a charismatic and devoted man, with a rare combination of intellectual, political and management abilities. Leal, confronted to the dramatic limitations of the moment, evidently understood how to manage the new and painstaking situation andconsequently, proposed a new manner of dealing with the preservation of Old Havana'sheritage. The approval of Decree 143 by the government in 1994 meant for this Office anamazing and innovative decentralization of decisions, the approval to administrate the tourismand commercial activities within this territory as part of the heritage preservation complex, theimposition of taxes to all the entities there, and the permit to accumulate and reinvest part of the revenue gotten, among other items.
 

You're Reading a Free Preview

Download
scribd
/*********** DO NOT ALTER ANYTHING BELOW THIS LINE ! ************/ var s_code=s.t();if(s_code)document.write(s_code)//-->