With love and joy and numerous restored works, Havana will celebrate its 500th anniversary on Saturday, November 16, especially those that register as great values in heritage, history and culture. One of them is the Railway Museum in the old Cristina station.
The Museum treasures the history since the arrival of the railroad to Cuba, on November 19, 1837, with the fundamental purpose of driving sugar production for export to the port of Carenas and also making it possible to transfer passengers. That was how Cuba had the railroad first than Spain.
The first iron road was laid between Havana and Bejucal; A year later he arrived in Guines, another rich sugar zone. The initiative had emerged in 1830 in a group of Havana landowners.
However, the greatest impulse was given by the Cuban Claudio Martinez de Pinillos, count of Villanueva, who was at the head of the General Superintendence of the Treasury of the Island and the Municipality of Havana. Not only did he obtain authorization from Spain to undertake the railway project, but he built the important Villanueva terminal.
It was not to sew and sing the construction of the iron road, in which a contingent of very poor men worked in subhuman conditions; among them, 297 canaries. The payment to these islanders consisted of 9 pesos per month (salary that suffered discounts for passport, ticket and health care expenses). Poorly fed those men were forced to work more than 16 hours a day.
Soon the rebellions began. Thirteen canaries were imprisoned. After six months of the hard work, exhausted and malnourished, 35 were disabled. It is said that they were treated like beasts, they were commissioned to fill marshes and place railway lines on hills and plains. They also built bridges over rivers between sections Habana Bejucal and Guines.
In less than a year, only seven islanders remained. Around 84 young people escaped and 156 died of illness and hunger. Among the deceased was the 13-year-old Francisco Rufino. They say that many times the mother had requested her return to the Canary Islands. She knew that the boy was very weak and that in six months they hadn't paid him a penny.
From the initial Canarian contingent, small groups had been dropped, for having fulfilled the contracts or transfers to other difficult public works. The 144 who lost their lives during the trip from the Canary Islands to Havana are added to the count. According to calculations, 300 died as a result of the foundation of this iron road.
Other interesting museums, which like the one of the railroad treasure history and culture, will be inaugurated shortly before November 16. Among these, the Fire Museum (restored and with a new concept of museography), the Automobile Museum (with an exhibition of old cars and motorcycles), and the Museum of Sacred Art and transitory rooms, located in the restored San Convent Francisco de Asis, one of the most significant ancient buildings of the Wonder City with concert hall.
Following the tradition, on the mentioned festive date for the 5 centuries of Havana, hundreds of Cubans, in particular Havanans, will go to the site where the Templete is located to give three turns to the new ceiba and ask for the same number of wishes. Precisely, under the ceiba that stood there in 1519, the founding act of the then town was carried out, then declared capital, with the celebrations of the first mass and town hall.