The Martí I Prefer / Fernando Dámaso

  1. The ideas of José Martí, the largest and most universal of all Cubans, have been used for a long time by this person and that depending on their political interests. his scale and his having tried virtually everything human and divine in his work has influenced this situation.
  2. His ideas and thoughts, presented as general guidelines applicable to any geographic region and time, break the narrow framework of every country and time, and are extended to humans. This, has increased his value and made his work susceptible to various uses, which can move easily between opposing extremes.
  3. This has also contributed its part to the ambivalence that various scholars of Marti’s work who, from their individual worldviews have interpreted, sometimes honestly and sometimes not, responding to their own circumstantial interests to which they apply it. Thus has emerged a strange “multi-use” Martí, far from the real man. The brutal practice of extracting as if by forceps phrases and ideas outside their original context, as conveniences, and exposing them as dogmas, has expanded enormously, and today most people only know this castrated Martí.
  4. In addition, critical editions of his works, analysis, interpretations and even ratings, have flooded our libraries and schools, each with its vision and burden of subjectivity, tending, often without malice, to undermine and compromise Martí’s thought.
  5. I am proud to have the four volumes of his complete works, published in 1946 and, even more, to have read them. I’m not a specialist, but merely a connoisseur and admirer. Sometimes I have returned at different times to them, looking for something important and always to a greater or lesser extent, I have found it. This pure Martí in his natural state, unpolluted, with no additions or subtractions, is my favorite.

October 1, 2010