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Controversy in Santa Clara Over the Closing of the Popular “La Marquesina” Establishment

VILLA CLARA, Cuba. – Located on one side of La Caridad Theater, bar-cafeteria “La Marquesina” – a meeting point for the people of Santa Clara and for tourists who visit the center of the city- will cease to exist as such once the entity’s restoration is complete. According to local official sources, the space will be used for “historical investigation” and turned into a museum that will house posters, photographs and documents allegoric to the building, which was built by Marta Abreu de Estévez and inaugurated in 1885.

“La Marquesina”, which is highly rated on Tripadvisor, served as an evening entertainment establishment that was very attractive to foreign visitors, with live music and Cuban cocktails. In addition, its location allowed for a privileged view of the Central Square. The announcement of its closing has generated a wide debate on social media on the part of artists, journalists and writers, because leisure and entertainment activities are few at present in Santa Clara, even for its own residents, and also for the loss of the bohemian tradition of the place, considered by many to be an “intangible patrimony”.

“They are killing my city. Man, I truly don’t understand. Could it be that being the director of an institution or holding a position makes you stupid? There isn’t any logic in what the ones in charge are doing,” lamented Santa Clara vocalist Bárbara Sánchez in a comment on social media. “They will soon move the “Boy with a Boot” statue to the square, doña Marta (Abreu) to Arcoiris Park, and the Armored Train to the middle of the Arbor at Vidal Park,” stated writer Rafael Soriano.

“La Marquesina” has been there for a long time, and it’s a space that all residents of Santa Clara identify with, although it could not stay the way it was and had to become more refined, etc. But, what happened to the idea of rescuing spaces? What does the Office of Patrimony have to say? I would like the people to be consulted on these plans,” stated Maykel Iglesias, choir director in Santa Clara.

“They will get a mock-up of a city, one without a bohemian life, a prudish town,” posted the writer Otilio Carvajal.
Several artists from Santa Clara who expressed their views on social media against the closing of “La Marquesina” demanded to know what would come of the “Los Gimez” septet, which provides entertainment every night at this bar and whose members are all

70 years old and older. One of the group’s musician who was contacted said that he had no idea what would come of the space: “In fact, we were waiting for it to reopen in order to continue playing there,” he stated.

El septeto “Los Gimez” amenizaba las noches de La Marquesina (Foto de la autora)

“One more in a long list of bad decisions,” stated Osmani Arencibia, a Palmares worker, on Facebook.

“La Marquesina” is one of the most popular and bohemian places in town, with a great daytime cultural life, as well as a night life, the habitual and only site of traditional Cuban music in the city. If we look up its history, we’ll see that it was always a bar, I have photographs that prove it. There is still time to put a stop to that awful idea,” added the Palmares worker.

In areas close to the center of town, similar places exist, such as the gastronomic complex Santa Rosita, La Bodeguita del Medio and the Central Hotel, where one can pay only with Cuban pesos cards or the equivalent in foreign currency.

Official sources explained that the Artex store, located to the right of the theater, will also be eliminated. A cafeteria named “Marta” –in honor of the city’s benefactress- will operate there. The name has also been the subject of debate among Santa Clara artists. One of the goals of this new establishment is to eliminate the “lack of discipline” that the “malecón” wall generates as the evening meeting ground for city youth who have no affordable spaces where they can have fun.

Las opiniones expresadas en este artículo son de exclusiva responsabilidad de quien las emite y no necesariamente representan la opinión de CubaNet.

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