Belgium Grants Medal to Cuban City Historian

Belgium Grants Medal to Cuban City Historian Havana, Aug 17.- Belgian Ambassador to Havana Koenraad Adam delivered the Official Medal of the Order of the Crown by decree of Belgian King Albert II, to Alejandro Hartmann, historian of the Cuban city of Baracoa, the first city founded in the Caribbean island. During an official ceremony Monday on occasion of the celebrations for the 500th anniversary of the foundation of the city of Baracoa by Spanish colonizer Diego Velazquez, Adam decorated Hartmann for his defense of the first Cuban city.

Adam commented that the relation between Baracoa and Belgium dates from 1517, when Juan Witte was appointed by Pope Leo X as the first Bishop of Cuba, in Baracoa.

He recalled that in 1998, with the cooperation of the University of Lovaina, the authenticity of The Cross of Parra, left by Christopher Colombus in October 1492 during his first trip to America and now declared as a national monument, was certified through tests using Carbon 14.

Hartmann expressed gratitude for the decoration, which he said he received on behalf of the inhabitants of Baracoa, with whom he shares the deep love for the beautiful Cuban city.

During the celebrations, Hartmann presented a book called "Baracoa, Cuna del Cacao" (Baracoa, Cradle of Cocoa) and the local government assembly conducted a solemn session to mark 500 years of the foundation of the first Cuban city. (Prensa Latina)