This article was translated by John R. Bopp
The stories we hear about Basques around the world never cease to amaze us. Just when we’d thought we’d seen and heard it all about Basques somewhere in the world, we go and hear something even more over the top.
Thus is the story of Damián Gaubeka, a Basque from Larauri in Biscay, who was exiled after the insurgent victory in the Spanish Civil War and who came to Caracas looking for a new life, and began working as a gardener.
But he didn’t last long in that noble profession, and then began working construction at a time when Caracas was riding a wave of growth and development. Now we’ve already spoken here about the legacy those exiled Basques left on the cityscape of Venezuelan capital. Well, Damián Gaubeka is one of those Basques who helped create modern Caracas.
But we aren’t mentioning him here just because he’s a Basque exile, nor for his eventful journey to Venezuela, nor for his role as a builder, nor even because General Marcos Pérez sent him into exile because of his political activity in Venezuela. Actually, we found out about him thanks to an article by Javier Conde, writing for El Universal in Venezuela, which not only gives us a picture of this almost “invisible” Basque, but also tells us how he managed to organize, over two decades, soccer matches among the world’s elite in Caracas. He organized a Club Cup that allowed the people of Caracas to enjoy the absolute best soccer.
We’re sure some of our readers will remember this event, as one year, Alfredo di Stéfano was kidnapped in Caracas for a few hours, for political reasons.
Damián Gaubeka was an extraordinary person. Condemned in Franco’s Spain because of his commitment to the struggle against the insurgents who ended up taking over the government, he became close friends with the president of Real Madrid, Santiago Bernabéu, who made him a Member of Honor of that club, and received him at the airport when he traveled to Madrid, on his Venezuelan passport, in order to avoid arrest.
It’s an incredible story told in a wonderful way in the article we’re sharing with you. Don’t miss it. We’re sure you’ll be as surprised as we were.
El Universal – 30/4/2017 – Venezuela
Mundial de clubes con sello vasco
De su invención deportiva hay un montón de entradas en la red; de él, apenas rastros: Damián Gaubeka, vasco, empresario. Ni lugar de nacimiento, ni edad, ni a qué se dedicaba en concreto, ni cómo construyó un mundo de relaciones de alto nivel a un lado y otro del Atlántico. Nada de nada -o muy poco- del hombre que juntó durante los años cincuenta y sesenta del siglo pasado a la creme de la creme del fútbol mundial en una ciudad impensada para tales lides como Caracas.