Eusebio Leal is officially the Havana City historian, but, in fact, he is much more than that – a kind of magician that turns ruins into palaces and abandoned tenements into housing.
Cubans know him simply as “Eusebio,” a man they see in Old Havana every day, walking about in his work clothes. Through his efforts, Old Havana is slowly transformed into a “beautiful city,” a process that benefits the locals most of all. He received us Monday morning, the only time he puts aside for interviews.
The work of Eusebio and his team is in plain sight. He reminds us that “on the 1st, we reopened Havana’s Gran Teatro. The Gomez commercial center is being restored. The Capitolio building is being restored. We are working on a beautiful building that will be the venue of the Alliance Francaise, their largest such venue in the world, with 10,000 students. The Marti Theater was restored. In 2015, we managed to build a number of houses. We’ve kept pedestrian streets open. We’re working to protect the environment in the port area.”