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Love without regrets in the tunnel of La Periquera

Published: 2018.02.09 - 16:28:12   /  /  Laura Barrera Jerez  /  translated by  Luis E. Amador Dominguez  /

Love without regrets in the tunnel of La PeriqueraThe Holguín Provincial History Museum, which is known as La Periquera, was given that name on October 10, 1978, the same day that the facility was declared a National Monument.

The ground where this exponent of neoclassical architecture stands today belonged to Pepa Cardé and it was used as a cockfighting arena. Then it was bought by the Spanish Francisco Rondán who built the distinguished building.

Construction work began in about 1860 and lasted for eight years. According to the Holguín anthropologist José Agustín García Castañeda, Rondán was one of the landlords with the greatest purchasing power in the territory and owned several cattle farms and sugar mills.

When the Ten Years War began, wealthier families feared for their wealth and for their lives. They say that that majestic residence served as a refuge for them, as a military fortress. However, the mambises commanded by General Julio Grave de Peralta soon attacked the place.

They say that the Cubans shouted: "Get out of the pericos cage" (in reference to the colors of the Spanish uniforms). Since then the place was baptized with the name that we know today.

The story also includes another insurgent attack, in 1872, when it already housed government installations: the troops of Generalísimo Máximo Gómez and Major General Calixto García Iñiguez arrived there.

The residence served as the Government House for more than 100 years. Since ancient times it has been considered to be one of the most symbolic buildings of the city because of its connection with important historical events. In addition, it has served as a space for shops, cafes, film screenings ... It has also been decorated with a public library, a chess school, an exhibition hall, among other functions.

However, those who live in Holguín and those who are just passing through, admire, more than its very high patrimonial value, the stories that are woven around La Periquera, which give it greater relevance and interest.

As governor, Agustín Peláez lived there, and he was married to a beautiful woman, but according to legend, she fell in love with a young captain of the volunteer corps.

Ana Sánchez Roblejo and Serafín Irioste lived an intense, but short, love story. According to the legend, their furtive encounters took place in the tunnel of La Periquera, the water tank of the San José and San Isidoro Churches, the Military Hospital, the Spanish Army Barracks and the forts located on the Loma de la Cruz.

They say that after mass, she got lost behind the altar and took a small staircase that gave access to the tunnel. One day a fire alarm (which proved unfounded) surprised them in full consummation of their love.

The locks were opened and soon the water flooded all the sections. Then their bodies were found. He had a dignified burial, while she was buried under a discriminatory epitaph: "To Mrs. Ana Sánchez Roblejo who could die in her bed full of virtues and died without honor in the tunnel of La Periquera."

However, they say that you can still hear the moans, laughter and passionate bliss of the lovers that wander through those subterranean places. Maybe they never had any regrets.

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