A soft breeze whiffs through the trees in the Plaza de Armas, the site selected by the Spanish conquistadors for the founding of Havana in 1519. Today this is the place where many lovers meet up to be together.
In the same vein, other people feel the desire to come here to relax, sitting on one of the park’s benches and journeying through their memories.
This setting is also where many cultural activities take place, which among other things enliven the old city and enrich the human spirit.
The wonder of this place is hearing one of the serenades like those that people once lauded, or better said, that our grandparents performed. In addition, one can discover a work by the street-theater group Giganteria, who bend down from their high stilts to ask for donations from tourists; or you can simply attend a reading by the recognized Cuban writer Soleida Rios, to realize a few essential qualities of the human spirit: playfulness, perspicacity and inner freedom.
To walk up to any couple seated on a bench and to recite a few verses to them before the beginning of Rios’ recitation is an activity representative of her program.
Just like the other participants, I memorized a couple of verses at her request and at 3:00 in the afternoon I approached a couple who were enjoying their caresses.
“Good afternoon,” I greeted them kindly. “My name is Jorge and I’m participating in the cultural activity of writer Soleida Rios, who will begin her recitation at 4:00 this afternoon. Would it bother you if I whispered some of her verses to you?
The two looked at each other, surprised, but then leaned forward toward me.
“Well, this is the first time anyone has ever proposed something like this to us, but it’s no bother at all,” the young man responded.
I recited verses by Emilio Ballagas that engendered the feelings of love that he awaits. Of course I asked them for their opinion, to which the by-then delighted youth responded, “It’s very beautiful…and where did you say that reading will be held?