Since time immemorial, there have been people in Cuba who have gone missing without a trace.
June 28 marks the 155th anniversary of the disappearance of Matías Pérez, a Portuguese sail maker who lived in Havana and partook in one of the most spectacular forms of air travels ever recorded in Cuba.
On board the hot-air balloon that he had baptized, La Villa de Paris, Matías Pérez ascended until he disappeared from the sight the of thousands of people who helplessly awaited his descent.
A search conducted by local authorities proved unsuccessful.
The story of his disappearance has become been part of popular Cuban fantasy.
The popular saying «gone like Matías Pérez» refers to people who disappear forever without a trace.
There are still people who believe Matias did not disappear but ran away with a beautiful girl, disguised as his assistant and hidden in his balloon.But there are other versions of the tale.
Some claim to have seen the balloon flying over the coast tales told by old sailors claim he can be seen him during stormy nights.
Another illustrious person who went missing in Cuba was Juan Nápoles y Fajardo (El Cucalambe).
In 19th century poetry Manzano is a slave and Heredia is exiled so, Nápoles Fajardo would be the missing one.
In 1862, the man popularly known as El Cucalambé and whose poetry had made him famous, disappeared forever. Stories about the disappearance of the 33 year old are still told today.
His poetry referred to the race issue and inspired feelings and desires of the Cuban farming community.
Between 1848 and 1852 the poet was involved in several plots against Spain.
Sometime later he married, became the father of two children and agreed to work for the Spanish colonial administration in Santiago de Cuba.
Fortune seemed to be smiling on him but he felt offended when his former colleagues criticized him for having agreed to work for the government.
As the first war of independence with all its stormy implications loomed, El Cucalambé was confronting his own inner turmoil.
Some say he was killed by the Spanish enemy but the most widespread hypothesis points to suicide.
He had published just one book, Rumores del Hórmigo and none of his portraits would remain for posterity.
The list of missing people also includes the abakuá André Petit, also known as Andrés Quimbisa, Cristo Facundo de los Dolores or El Caballero de Color.
In 1857 he founded a ñáñiga society for white people known as Regla Quimbisa and baptised in 1863 as BacocóEfór.
This was his greatest achievement, because Petit’s initiative made a contribution to the Cuban nation’s unity by bringing black, white and mulatto people together under one set of beliefs, rituals and expressions of solidarity.
It is said that André Petit had had a private audience with the pope in Rome.
From that moment on, Petit would introduce the crucifix in the ñáñigo religion and created the Abasí Square as symbol of the Christian God.
Once the abakua people from Havana knew about the agreements Petit had made with the Catholic Church, they menacingly awaited his arrival at the port of Havana.
Petit however had anticipated the potential aggression ashore and kept the hostile crowd at bay by waving his walking stick.
Andrés Petit died at the age of 48. The cause of his death was never known and no one knows where his remains rest.
Many people still place flowers (12 white roses and one red rose) before his portrait in home-temples.
His walking stick was passed on to scholar Fernando and for many years people used to say that Mr. Fernando was the man with the clearest vision in Cuba.Share on FB Share on TT