MIAMI, United States. – Vittorio Garatti, the last of the three architects who designed the legendary School of the Arts on the grounds of what was once Havana’s Country Club, died recently.
The Cuban Ricardo Porro had invited him together with another Italian, Roberto Gottardi, to carry on the project that had been an idea of dictator Fidel Castro and one of his lieutenants, Ernesto Che Guevara, while the two were playing golf at the aforementioned club which had been confiscated from their original owners.
Karma, however, has a way of playing tricks, and as early as 1965, work on the School stopped. In fact, its construction was never completed.
The economic crisis was already underway, eroding at the ineffectiveness of the dictatorship, and, apparently, the architects did not give in when it came time to suggest cheaper ideas, materials and solutions, even in aesthetic terms, for their respective designs.
Also, it is known that Alicia Alonso never agreed with the section of the School destined for ballet, which had been designed by Garatti, because she felt it made her loose power, and as a result, she ended up sabotaging the project, so much so that many years later, when Carlos Acosta, the Cuban dancer, choreographer and director who gained notoriety in England, tried to finish the construction in order to establish his ballet company there, without asking Garatti who kept complaining incessantly about his creation having been usurped, the Castro cultural commissaries did not allow it.
It was not the first time that the architect had been mistreated by the very revolution he defended with the best of his craft. Years after the School’s construction was cancelled, Garatti was jailed in the dungeons of Cuba’s secret police accused of collaborating as a spy with the enemy.
Following the political debacle, Porro and Garatti left Cuba, while Roberto Gottardi remained in the island until his death.
The beauty of the School of the Arts stood in contradiction to the horrendous Soviet construction codes being implemented irrevocably in the Caribbean country which had always distinguished itself through the work of sophisticated and functional architects who enriched Havana’s urban splendor.
The fascination with this dilapidated city and its dysfunctional tourism sites generally continue to attract attention, and now, The New York Times, a publication that oftentimes plays a part, if surreptitiously, in the dictatorship’s conniving with its archenemy and savior –the United States- just published a list of 52 tourist destinations to visit this year, where Cuba, ironically, ranks 27th.
According to this selection, one travels for the food, the culture, for adventure and natural beauty; the list includes these and many more elements.
In the notorious annual inventory, Salalah, Oman, in the Persian Gulf, precedes Cuba for its beautiful nature and fresh water waterfalls and beaches, followed by the city of Odense, in Denmark, where a museum has just been inaugurated to honor the memory of Hans Christian Anderson.
The explanation for why a visit to Cuba is recommended is rather gruesome and it doesn’t stick to social and nature-related tourism values. Irrevocably, we are reminded of a doctrine that keeps on bothering the population.
It’s known worldwide that Cuba is immersed in a deep crisis, without a solution in sight. A large segment of the population only thinks about fleeing their entrapment, yet The New York Times emphasizes the beaches of white sand, pastel-colored façades, valleys rich in tobacco crops and an incessant musical soundtrack in every town and city.
It even mentions that Santa Clara is “a regional capital city bathed in history” a subtle reference to the battle that Ernesto Che Guevara led there, where they have erected a statue in his honor.
The text ends by empowering a kind of community tourism in order to help the impoverished Cuban people as if one could avoid the unscrupulous greed of the totalitarian regime.
“Less than two years after historic protests were met with harsh repression, and while the country rebuilds itself from Hurricane Ian, traveling to Cuba and supporting its people has never been so valuable.”
ARTÍCULO DE OPINIÓN
Las opiniones expresadas en este artículo son de exclusiva responsabilidad de quien las emite y no necesariamente representan la opinión de CubaNet.
Recibe la información de CubaNet en tu celular a través de WhatsApp. Envíanos un mensaje con la palabra “CUBA” al teléfono +1 (786) 316-2072, también puedes suscribirte a nuestro boletín electrónico dando click aquí.