The Fall of the Apostle (Jose Marti) / Fernando Dámaso

Soon, May 19, will mark the anniversary of the fall in Dos Rios, former province of Oriente, of José Martí, the most universal and transcendent of all Cubans. Poet, writer, critic, journalist, humanist, diplomat, politician, revolutionary and the main organizer of the independence struggle of 1895 which, after fierce fighting, allowed the emergence of the Republic.

His written work, long and deep, covered practically all spheres of knowledge of his time. His thinking, comprehensive, still maintains its validity at the present time our country and may apply to others, given its universal character. Of Marti, much has been said and written, but his ideas have not fared as well. Many of them, in the mouths of demagogues and opportunists have served as false moral cover for political outrages and every kind of arbitrariness, far from their true objective. However, this is not the responsibility of the Apostle, but of those who have, over the years, used them for their own personal interests.

Marti, deeply humanist, lucid thinker, was able in his short physical existence (only 41 years) to see where others saw nothing, and to feel and understand the convulsions characteristic of one era ending and another beginning, in addition to furthering the daunting and thankless task of combining different wills for the sake of achieving a great ideal: the independence of the land of his birth. His honesty and his conviction that he should be present in the war that had broken out and the mediocrity of some, led him to the battlefield, for which he lacked the necessary practical experience, that fateful May 19.

It is true that with his death, Cuba lost a unique figure who might have eschewed regionalism, warlordism and other diseases affecting the gestation of the nation, as well as others of his own birth, but with the distance of years I think that perhaps, like Ignacio Agramonte and Antonio Maceo before then, fate was magnanimous to him, not giving him too long an existence to lose prestige or to face ridicule.

It is that today makes Martí’s ideas and his thinking and work respected by honest Cubans, seeing in them some of the valid responses, so necessary for the reestablishment of the Republic that he imagined and that, unfortunately, was prematurely cut short, not being allowed its development and consolidation.

May 17 2011