Havana asks Mallorca for loan extension

Cuba asks Mallorca for a favour

The Maceo chair. Credit: lamoncloa.gob.es

An antique artefact that is on loan from Mallorca in the news after Cuba has asked if they could hang onto it for a little longer

The City of Havana has formally proposed to the Palma de Mallorca City Council to extend the loan of the Maceo Chair, a piece which has immense symbolic significance related to Cuban independence leader Antonio Maceo.

The chair was initially loaned to Cuba in 2018, when as part of a tour by Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, ‘the “Silla de Maceo” was officially handed over, a souvenir of a common past and a gesture of friendship towards the people of Cuba, for its display in the City Museum in Havana for a period of two years,’ according to a statement from the Spanish Government,

This request comes after the loan which had been extended previously, ultimately expired on November 16, 2023, with Havana showing a keen interest in retaining this ‘endearing’ artefact for an even longer period.

Grisel Terron from Havana’s Office of the Historian outlined the proposal, which includes options for renewing the loan or proposing an exchange of historical items between Havana and Palma de Mallorca.

Terron highlighted the chair’s affective importance to Cubans and mentioned that the Historian’s Office had offered Palma several pieces of historical value, such as a pocket wallet of Arsenio Martinez Campos and two oil paintings, as part of a potential exchange.

She also dropped a heavy hint that Havana would be overjoyed if Palma ever decided to donate the chair, respecting the signed agreement while expressing openness to a donation.

While the Maceo Chair isn’t a finely crafted piece of furniture, it is of the utmost value to many Cubans.  The chair is crudely carved from a palm trunk and bears the initials of Antonio Maceo and symbolises the Cuban struggle for independence.

Its presence in Havana has already attracted over 6,600 visitors to a thematic exhibition, underlining its historical and cultural significance.

The chair’s journey from a war loot to a museum piece in Palma and its loan to Havana reflects the intertwined histories of Spain and Cuba.

As discussions continue, the fate of the chair remains a poignant reminder of both countries shared heritage and the complexities surrounding the custody of historical artifacts.

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Written by

John Ensor

Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina. He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.