Sculptor and peasant: two high honors

Sculptor and peasant: two high honors
Sculptor and peasant: two high honors

When you listen to the sculptor Héctor Caro Acosta talk about the love he feels for the land, you immediately understand why he so admires the characters of Rómulo Gallegos, Juan Rulfo and Onelio Jorge Cardoso, masters in telling mysteries and pains of the countryside and the men and women who inhabit and transform it.

One day he confessed to me that he had already learned all the secrets of marble and was in a position to give a lecture on the subject as well as to extract the most countless figures from it: fish, roosters, tree leaves, pedestals, ashtrays, crabs, swords, human torsos, or to “dress” a kitchen counter or the walls of a bathroom.

Today, at the beginning of his 61st birthday, with the help of talent and chisel, he can still do it and transform raw marble into an admirable work of art.

But current times, marked by a deep economic crisis throughout the world, do not have everything with the universe of marble. We have to be realists; Above all, it is necessary to produce food for family and personal subsistence and for sale.

This is how Caro Acosta understood it, a man without fear of work or the strong sun on his head for long days. From his parents, Luis and Cristina, he learned it very well since he lived in Martín Mesa, a neighborhood near the Zayas region, where he still has a feeling of volcanic and pure love towards everything that springs from the earth. .

“I was recently at the site and hugged all the ancient male mango trees that were there. Still stop. They are wonderful,” he recalls excitedly and begins to recall his memory towards a very distant past that also links him to Cuban soil.

“I remember that in the 60s of the last century, when I was only about seven years old, my mother took my brothers and me to spread fertilizer on the cane, hoe it and guataquear it. That task was not a game for us, nor an entertainment to keep us calm. No. It was a very serious task and we accomplished it,” she says.

His father was a man linked to the sugarcane universe all his life, in the Central Orlando Nodarse, and after his retirement he became linked as a farmer to the land, which Héctor assumed as usufructuary after Luis’ death.

To carry it forward he has had, in addition to his family and his wife Yamilé, the tireless Felipe Villa, grandson of a veteran of the wars of independence and Nana Victoria, a second mother for Héctor and his brothers.

Hector wants to produce the maximum in the cavalry that is at his disposal. He already has 50 quality mango trees and is preparing the land for planting cassava, pumpkin, okra, bananas… But, like all Quixote, he must fight against very tough windmills if he intends to obtain efficient harvests.

“We need the support of the Western Agricultural Company in the plowing of land, fuel, seeds, irrigation systems… They give us nothing. Cleaning the cavalry of weeds was very difficult. And agriculture has many requirements. The land is plowed, then comes irrigation, fertilization, and the application of insecticides. Sometimes they provide us with very small amounts of fuel, but in the end it does not reach our hands,” says Héctor Caro.

And he continues talking about the task before him: “For there to be agricultural growth, there must be delivery of credit to farmers, updating of technological models, access to technologies, fencing, modern machinery and everything that I already mentioned before, without which is impossible to develop agriculture and livestock.

Looking at the expanse of land in front of us, I ask him about its characteristics and he answers. “This land is very fertile, with a natural gift of moisture conservation. It is hard for plowing, but it does not have any salinity.”

When I ask him to compare advantages and disadvantages when it comes to sculpting or furrowing, he responds: “Both jobs are difficult, but agriculture is more difficult. Starting with the time you have to get up, the exhausting days under the sun, in addition to being subject to the inclemencies and betrayals of nature and seeds, the theft of crops and low yields.”

As a sculptor he managed to acquire efficient equipment, but as a farmer he is still subject to rudimentary work instruments, typical of previous centuries: hoes, pickaxes, machetes.

However, he deeply appreciates the help received from a collaboration project with Mexico, supported especially by President Manuel López Obrador, through which the usufructuary Artemiseño peasants have received inputs consisting of machetes, fumigation backpacks, rubber boots and pruning pliers.

Héctor defends the credo that you can, at the same time, work hard and dream of new goals. For this reason, along with the typical planting and harvesting of agricultural foods, he plans to undertake investments to guarantee the production of preserved products, jams, pastas and dried fruits, an investment that requires not only personal financial effort, but also the help of the State.

Héctor Caro Acosta does not abandon his passion for marble. There have been many years of complicity to let his beloved profession as a sculptor drift adrift. But now, like the characters of Gallegos, Rulfo and Onelio, the earth calls him passionately, and the veteran sculptor is not willing to turn a deaf ear to such an essential call.

 
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