ROCEEDINGS OF THE
RESERVATION IN THE
OMMITTEE OF THE
ONUMENTS ET DES
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.