Half canary, half jaruqueño

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For almost 10 years in this difficult exercise of journalism, and after my long hours of research in search of information related to the history of Jaruco, I confess that it was not until just a couple of weeks ago that I discovered, at least from my modest criteria, to one of the most relevant men of this land.

I don’t mean an artist, an athlete, not even a doctor or scientist born here in the County City; I am speaking of a Spaniard, who very well was crushed in Cuba.

Florencio Manuel del Sacramento was born in 1814 in Las Nieves, Canary Islands, and arrived on the Island when he was 14 years old with his parents Blas Pérez Pérez and María González Leal.

His was one of the many trips that marked that great wave of Canarian emigrants, who arrived in Cuba in the 19th century.
The young Florencio was established in the then Villa de Güines, and there he became interested in issues related to construction, carpentry and learned, as few in the area, to use hydraulic force through a waterwheel.

Ten years later he arrived in Jaruco, he was 24 years old at the time. Precisely, thanks to his knowledge, he is requested to intervene in the restoration of the San Juan Bautista Church in this city.

And it was during those tasks that he met the jaruqueña María de la Oz González Pereira, who stole his heart.
With her he married in 1841, and they decided to settle on the banks of the mighty Rio San Juan, where they built their house.

Well, surely you wondered, and what is relevant that Florencio, a Spanish emigrant, has married in Jaruco…?
It turns out that in 1845 and given his creative impetus, the construction of a waterwheel machine began, which would be driven by the current of the river, and for this purpose made a dam about 300 meters from his house which he named: ¨La Countess¨, in honor of the history of the famous Counts of Jaruco.

By the way, there he made a fish farm, and in each Holy Week he invited the residents of the area to clean the dam, after which he gave them fish.

In that project Florencio built a canal to move the water from the dam, which today remains more than a century and a half below the national railway bridge.

By the way, the English Company in charge of the construction of the bridge, in 1850 respected Florencio’s idea; hence we can still see that magnificent engineering work when we border the Jaruco River.

Thanks to that project and with the force of the water towards the waterwheel, Florencio made possible other tasks, such as shelling corn, bringing wood and even obtaining flour.

Even the surrounding neighbors benefited from the inventions of the aforementioned lord, when they brought drinking water to the road by a driver, named since then and to this day, as Los Chorritos de Jaruco.

By 1870 the empirical engineer Florencio built a lime kiln to obtain part of the raw material used by the mills, Nuestra Señora del Carmen, Lotería and San Francisco, among others.

Crafts were also made in that oven and today it is preserved in the courtyard of one of the neighbors in the area of the Jaruco River.

¨El Colmenar¨, that is, the estate of the Florencio canary, was also recognized for its exquisite honey, marketed even in Havana.

As an extremely Catholic man, he was assigned as Procurator of the order of the Brotherhood of the Blessed Sacrament in Jaruco until 1898, when he died.

His religiosity was such that Don Florencio Manuel del Sacramento made a wooden cross, which he dragged during each Holy Week until 1890 when he decided to donate it to the San Juan Bautista Church, where it is preserved in the Catholic temple.

The truth is that this man, very little known among the Jaruqueños, should be remembered and thanked because he marked a before and after in the promotion of social and economic works in Jaruco.

Here Don Florencio arrived from the Canary Islands and here he was caught by two great loves, that of his wife María, and the one he felt until his death for the beautiful County City.

Translated by Ada Iris Guerrero

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