A Tragedy of Jose Marti / Fernando Dámaso

José Martí, his figure and his thinking has been utilized, over utilized and even underutilized, at different times. Undoubtedly, this was something he could not have imagined, despite his broad vision.

We Cubans have been ungrateful, and have allowed him to be manipulated, attacking him in life for having promoted the war and not participating in it, which resulted in his absurd death in combat; reproaching him for having imagined a superior nation with more the chances for the average citizen, and even made him responsible for the attack on a barracks, in which he was not involved physically or intellectually; made him responsible for thousands of young people having had to study at schools in the countryside away from their family and social environment, working the land as farmers, with low productivity, because one day he wrote an article outlining the experience of a North American community, where the children of the workers, in addition to studying school subjects, learned a trade from their parents; made him responsible for the anti-imperialism and an enemy of the United States, where he only referred to it as a concern, in his posthumous letter, having lived and become politically active in that country for the major part of his socially active life; made him responsible for the existence of a single party when he never raised this, and a staunch supporter of the right of each person to think for themselves and act accordingly; and many other absurdities, based solely on convenience, with which he never had anything to do, but the responsibility for which has been laid on his shoulders for years.

This is too much: the Apostle, as we call him, does not deserve such a lack of respect. Now, as if this were not enough, a president who is a friend to the Cuban regime has taken to using him, after apparently having exhausted the ideas of Simon Bolivar. Marti phrases appear quite often in his speeches, most of the time taken out of context, perhaps by the mere fact that they sound pretty interesting. As Martí wrote about almost everything in a general way, without specifying details, there is something there for everyone. That is his great tragedy as historical personality.

Cubans, at least, always in debt to his ideas, should be more respectful of the Apostle, and not allow, much less applaud his use by anyone who thinks it appropriate to do so for his own political ends. On this anniversary of his birth, this should become a moral commitment.

January 27 2012