by Sandy Levinson, Director of the Center for Cuban Studies
MARIO COYULA, ¡Presente!
Mayito, as we all called him, died in his beloved city, Havana, on July 7 at the age of 79. With his death, Havana lost one of its greatest defenders – and loving critics. Havana for Mayito was a magnificent obsession, and at times he spoke in a lover’s language as his frustration grew with Havana’s many unsolved problems. We shared his love, and his frustration, and most of all, we wanted to share his passion.
Mayito came into my life the very first year I traveled to Cuba. Early career dreams had included wanting to be an architect, and to meet the refined and encyclopedic Mayito, who knew everything one wanted to know about Havana architecture – the built, the unbuilt, the destroyed, the when-will-we-build-it?, and so much more – was magical.
There wasn’t a question he couldn’t answer. He gave history, context, building materials. The city and its people came alive with Mayito’s anecdotes and commentary. Continue reading