Cuba honors Surinamese poet Dobru with a bronze bust

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A post by Peter Jordens. 

René Gompers of StarNieuws reports that a bronze bust of Surinamese poet Robin ‘Dobru’ Raveles was recently unveiled in Santiago de Cuba as part of the final day of the 34th Festival of the Caribbean a.k.a. the Festival of Fire. 

Dobru [1935-1983] meant a lot for Cuba. “He is from Suriname, he is from Santiago de Cuba, he is of the Caribbean. Dobru is universal!” said Raul Fornes, Mayor of Santiago. The bronze sculpture by Surinamese artist Erwin de Vries is located in the Park of Caribbean National Heroes, in the area of Ferreiro, a busy intersection in the touristic center of Santiago de Cuba. When it was unveiled, emotions got hold of Yvonne Raveles-Resida, Dobru’s widow. “I am relieved that this has finally come to pass. We have overcome great obstacles […] this is a milestone because our goal is to preserve his legacy and to publicize and honor his life work. For Suriname this is really big. I am so proud.”

Dobru’s bust has a plaque with a text that the poet would probably have appreciated greatly: “Dobru, national poet of Suriname, friend of Cuba.” The unveiling ceremony included performances by various cultural groups, while several people seized the opportunity to recite from Dobru’s poems. Robin Ermine, Dobru’s nephew and namesake, never knew his uncle, “But I do feel him,” he says. He translates that feeling into poems. For a while it seemed like Dobru himself came back to life when Ermine recited Dobru’s ‘Grantangi’ [Gratitude] and ‘Wan bon’ [One tree].

Dobru’s open support for the Cuban Revolution was also recalled. The Surinamese hero held various leadership positions in Cuba. “He helped forge the bond between Cuba and Suriname,” Fornes mentioned. Henk Herrenberg, representing Surinamese President Desi Bouterse, added that Dobru paved the way for Suriname to the Caribbean region […]. “It’s no problem that he stands here. In Suriname we are not yet ready to honor our heroes […] That Dobru stands here in Cuba is a symbol of the bond between Suriname and Cuba.”

The complete, original article (in Dutch) is at http://www.starnieuws.com/index.php/welcome/index/nieuwsitem/24107. The above also contains an excerpt from http://www.dwtonline.com/laatste-nieuws/2014/07/09/vriend-van-cuba-onthuld-in-santiago (also in Dutch).

For additional news coverage, see http://www.sierramaestra.cu/santiago/cultura/40195-ceremonia-familiar-en-santiago-de-cuba-a-la-memoria-de-robin-dobru-raveles, http://www.prensa-latina.cu/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&idioma=1&id=2867011&Itemid=1 and http://fiestadelfuegosuriname.com/en/dobru.aspx (all in Spanish).

Also check our previous post, Posthumous Honorary Doctorate for Surinamese poet Dobru.

Photo by Irvin Ngariman via http://www.dwtonline.com

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