A truly remarkable experience
The book Una experiencia singular. Valoraciones del modelo de gestiÃ³n integral de La Habana Vieja, Patrimonio de la Humanidad (A Remarkable Experience. Assessments of the Integral Action Model in the Old Havana World Heritage Site), is a significant resource for understanding the restoration project devised and put into practice by the City Historians Office.
Co-published by BoloÃ±a and UNESCO, the book is a tremendous documentary work (graphics, statistics, tables, plans) and of photographic wealth detailing, in a comprehensive fashion, the work carried out by the City of Havana Historians Office (OHCH) over the last 10 years.
At the press launch, in the beautiful Lombillo Palace in Old Havanas Plaza de la Catedral, City Historian Eusebio Leal expressed his satisfaction at the publication and highlighted that for the first time UNESCO experts had written about the experiences of the citys historic quarter.
"Through the true and verifiable documentation," he affirmed, "we can see that the restoration project in Old Havana is sustainable and the analyses by the UNESCO experts are accompanied by recommendations for other countries showing the project as a viable experience.
According to advance information, Sylvio Mutal, principal international consultant in the field of Conservation, Development, Management and
Operation of Programs in Cities/Historic Centers, wrote: "The integral program in Old Havana, managed and administrated by the OHCH, can be considered both successful and commendableÃ‚Â¼ and raises the idea of the creation of a special fund for Historic Cities which could be administrated by local organizations at a city level or special agencies like that of the
OHCHÃ‚Â¼This could be an adaptation of the management style that the City
Historians Office in Havana operates."
For his part, Fernando CarriÃ³n, another UNESCO expert, believes "more than just a triumphant case or a model which can be repeated in other cities, the renovation of Old Havana is a successful policy that demonstrates how, in a situation of tremendous diversity, it is feasible to find solutions within the problems themselves," adding that "the Old Havana restoration project is one of the few in Latin America that corresponds to the project of national development."
Leal pointed out that, with respect to the financial aspect, they were unable to seek money from outside sources. "Cooperation on the project never achieved a significant percentage - in addition to having been victimized - and highlighted the fact that "99% of Old Havanas economic sector is the property of the nation."
Without doubt, a special aspect of the Cuban restoration project is the care taken to deal with social questions. "It is not just an archeological project, its more complex, because this is an inhabited city. The fundamental aspect is restoration without removing people, of not converting (Old Havana) into a city for tourists."
Una experiencia singular. Valoraciones del modelo de gestiÃ³n integral de La Habana Vieja, Patrimonio de la Humanidad demonstrates 10 years of success for this project headed by Eusebio Leal who, as is customary, described it as a continuation of "the intellectual endeavor of Emilio Roig de Leuchsenring (his predecessor) for conserving the relics of the past."
The book will be launched on September 29 at the San Francisco de Asis Lesser Basilica by Leal and Herman van Hooff, director of UNESCOs regional office.
Source: Granma Internacional