Antonio Marabini Martínez de Lejarza is a retiree who has spent his life as an aeronautical engineer building airports at the service of Dragados. Tangentially, that does not feed and as he aims to make it clear "the inheritance was another family branch" has been and is Marquis de Ovieco and Valdegema. The first of these titles (the coat of arms includes two rampantes and two stars) comes from Admiral Blas de Lezo, the fashionable man since the Goya awards gala. From the most absolute oblivion for centuries, his ancestor has gone through a recent rehabilitation of his figure and now to be in all the political-cultural sauces of this country unable to recognize in his past.
– Suddenly, Blas de Lezo is on everyone's lips. For better or worse?
-I think it's for the best. If we are able to show the world the life of this illustrious sailor, who was not at all a conqueror but a defender of the territories of Spain at that time, I would be delighted. And logically I do not like being denigrated.
-What do you think the words of Borja Cobeaga saying that he does not give "the bitch he earns" to make a film of his ancestor?
-I do not want to be the bad guy in the movie. The cinema will have its ideas about Blas de Lezo and I, like my ancestor who is, I am a strong defender and I seek to spread his story.
-There are those who see their way of expressing offensive …
-It is an opinion of yours, that I do not share but respect. I think our heroes should be valued, especially for young people. If it is not through the cinema, then through other artistic manifestations.
– It is necessary to recognize that the Spanish cinema does not have money in general for a film of these characteristics.
-We would have to leave with a movie where his figure is recognizable and strengthened. I would like it to have a certain package. If what we do is a "Superlopez" maybe I do not like it that much anymore.
– Are you envious of Hollywood's treatment of historical cinema?
-Absolutely. «Master and Commander» seems to me a marvel, being the closest thing to the story of Blas de Lezo. It would be the perfect example, although you will not get that money here in Spain.
– Are you afraid that the fact that it was Vox who asked for a film about the admiral could associate him with a political party or a specific ideological tendency?
-Everyone will have their ideas, but I would have liked this to be a much more general and consensual topic. We are before a national hero, but our great passion in Spain is to always denigrate the hero. If it is a single party who asks for it, I will not oppose it.
-By the way, have you seen any of the Goya movies?
-Do not. I'm sorry to say it. I have nothing against Spanish cinema, but I do not see it. It's a question of freedom: Mr. Cobeaga says he does not want to make a film and it seems very good to me; I'm not going to see Spanish cinema either because I do not like it. Some, yes.
– Do you think that the interest of Spaniards has increased to meet characters from their past?
-In the last half year, three books about Blas de Lezo have been published. That gives an idea of the extent to which people are eager to know their history. The interest for the admiral will continue and if the cinema wants to get away from that, well then.
-Actually, considering that a few years ago nobody knew anything about his ancestor, it can be said that good times are running for Blas de Lezo. Since the exhibition of the Naval Museum in 2013, countless books, studies and tributes have come out, like numerous statues.
-Yes now. With what the first and second cost! The first was in Cartagena de Indias. There he appears with a hook, which shows how little his story was known because he never had a hook. That statue was paid for by the Spanish government in the 1950s. Then came the one from Cádiz and the one from Madrid, which is the one I like the most, Salvador Amaya, who shows it with serenity. The last one was in Vélez-Málaga, looking at the sea, which gives it a special attraction. That's where he lost his leg. Now they want to do another one in Cartagena and I am trying that in my second land, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, there is a monolith or street.
-Cobeaga speaks of a "half-man" man, and historiography remembers him as the "half-man".
-Today the last books speak of "double man" rather than "half man". In his day he was not called "medioman", that is later. And he talks about his physical limitations, not about his greatness as a sailor.
-It must be a pretty brave guy, surely unbearable.
-Quite (laughs) When he was sent to Cartagena de Indias, what the king wanted was to remove him from his surroundings, and he took him as far as possible to Cartagena as head of the army.
-What comes with a kick up …
-Yes, to get it out of the way. In Peru he also quarreled with the Viceroy, the Marquis de Castelfuerte, because Don Blas conquered ships and the viceroy did not want to fix them. A Blas de Lezo had a hard time catching them and took a tremendous anger and asked to leave. He was always a person who was against the established hierarchy.
– In fact, he died without recognitions, outside the "establishment".
"Moreover, the Viceroy Eslava requested his immediate cessation in the battle of Cartagena but at that time the emails took a long time, so when Blas de Lezo arrived he was already dead. He did not know about it but in the last period he suffered that cornepting. In his diaries he tried to tell his truth and not Eslava's, who was the one who knew he was going to succeed because it was the boss's. In that we have not changed anything: the boss is right and the one below is screwed.
-In that sense is a very current character, a rebel against the court system
-I understand that if. With Admiral Rojas he also had a fight because he said he was older than him, but the other had the approval of the authority. Of those he had all within the court.
He was more a man of action than of salons.
-When he loses his leg, to the service of France, before his samples of value, the king grants him the possibility of staying in the French court. He was young and he thought he had nothing to do there: he recovered, put on his wooden leg and continued to fight throughout his life.
-It is sad that centuries later we continue to throw our historical figures at the head …
– As a Spaniard I think we should be much more united to be able to make our illustrious representatives have the recognition they deserve.
-In England, Nelson is neither right nor left; and three quarters of the same happens in the United States with Lincoln.
-Nelson lost a battle in Tenerife and was crippled against Gutiérrez, as little known as Blas de Lezo and of great height. Of course I'm envious of England! Vernon, whom Blas de Lezo defeated in Cartagena de Indias, is buried in Westminster Abbey with full honors. The English are capable of telling their story. You only have to see Nelson's statue in Trafalgar square. And that Nelson did lose battles, Blas de Lezo none.
"We know more about our defeat in Trafalgar than about the victory in Cartagena, as we know better the fiasco of the Invincible Armada than that of the" English contrarmada. "
-So is. The defeat of Nelson in Tenerife is not known in Spain. Thats the reality. They have always shown us how we are from the outside. We put sticks on the wheels ourselves. History has dictated us from outside. If we leave the English, almost won the battle of Cartagena … We must fight to dictate our history, whether good or bad, not coming from outside to tell it.
– Nevertheless, good part of this country flees of our past like of the plague.
-I have an illustrative anecdote. When the frigate Blas de Lezo was given five or six years ago the flag of combat in Getxo, where I was present, there were such queues to know the frigate that did not give a coarse. Then they went to the homeland of Blas de Lezo, to Pasajes de San Pedro, and there they received him with whistles. It was the same frigate an hour before and after. He was not welcome on his land. It is absurd that they are not able to appreciate the people they had.
– Is Spain in need of symbols or references?
-I do not know, but it's not bad to know our ancestors.
-Good and bad, all faces …
-Of course, there are people that we should not stop. But all the countries that pretend try to have references.
-It seems that the government does not want to celebrate the 500 years of Cortes in Mexico and the conquest itself is seen as a genocide from Spain.
-It's stupid. Cortés what he did was conquer but with the Mexican people themselves. You have to know the history to appreciate it within its true magnitude.
-What does it mean to be a Marquis of Ovieco?
-It is an honor to be a descendant of Blas de Lezo. My duty from now on is for the world to know its true history and all its greatness.
– Feel that you have inherited some characteristic of your ancestor?
-Unfortunately, no. To begin with I am whole and I do not have the desire to fight (laughs). I am Basque on the maternal side, but the paternal, descendant, is not from there.
-What is the most beautiful thing you have read or heard about your ancestor?
-A plaque in Torrejón of the road where he says that «he lived with dignity, he fought with honor and died with the honor of the wish fulfilled».
– What can we learn from the admiral the Spaniards of today?
-The great will that he had to fulfill his work. This man was assigned to various sites and did his work 100% and in several places he left part of his anatomy to achieve the challenges that they put him. That is the fundamental thing, not only of a captain general or of anyone, but of the whole world: each individually has its challenges and Spain will advance according to each one's compliance. And if not, then we'll go to hell as a group.