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IBIZA PEOPLE AROUND THE WORLD: CUBA (2ND PART)
FRANCISCO VARA DE REY’S LIFE STORY

(by Pablo Burgués)

 

As I already told you last week (you can read it Here), the general Joaquín Vara de Rey is one of the few soldiers in the world to whom a statue has been dedicated due to the fact of losing a battle. The fateful struggle took place on 1st July 1898 in the beautiful island of Cuba and the monument was erected six years later in the no less beautiful and no less island called Ibiza.

The reason behind this (a priori) contradictory tribute is that the general and his men fought like real tigers that day and, because of that, regardless of the bad result of the game, the guy was named national hero. Well, I think that the fact that at the time there were no rock stars, neither Master Chef nor Hombres y Mujeres y Viceversa, was also helpful. Thus, Spanish villages were eager for honorary citizens that could advertise their homeland.

In any case, the truth is that right after the death of Vara de Rey was known, a lot of Spanish cities began to proclaim themselves as the birthplace of the fashionable guy. The hard controversy was settled when his birth certificate appeared in Ibiza and, immediately, he was named Honorary Citizen of the town. To be perfectly honest, though it’s true that the boy was born here, it’s also true that throughout his life he had no more contact with the Pitiusan islands. It seems that his parents were only passing through when his mother began her labour, and soon afterwards the whole family left the island and they never came back (not even for the closing of Space).

In spite of this little and unimportant detail, Ibiza people decided to go ahead and they launched a crowdfunding to finance the building of a monument that immortalized the new local hero. 60.321 pesetas and 85 cents were raised, and the Spanish Crown added nine tonnes of bronze.

The king Alfonso XIII inaugurated the work of art on 25th April 1904, and it represents the precise moment when Vara de Rey was killed on the battleground. At its centre we can see the brave general brandishing a sword, while an enemy is approaching him on the back as a dog, with the hideous aim of stabbing a knife till the end.

Beneath that scene there is an angel who is watching it all but, instead of warning Vara de Rey, the stupid one is just offering him a laurel branch, as if he were saying: “well, as you’re going to be killed at least use this laurel to make tasty your cooking, my son”.

In my opinion, knowing what was going to happen to the guy, the angel could have offered something more useful, such as ibuprofen or some plasters.

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Pablo Burgués on Instagram and Twitter

Translation: Dora Sales

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