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Cuba and Martí: that endearing incarnation

Published: 2018.02.23 - 15:56:00   /  /  Miguel Darío García Porto  /  translated by  Luis E. Amador Dominguez  /

Cuba and Martí: that endearing incarnationVery rarely does the case of identification of a country with a man reaches the transcendence and imbrication embodied between Cuba and José Martí.

"Everything that he did and wrote, however remote he may seem from the narrowly patriotic need, always departs, either morally, philosophically or aesthetically, from his agonizing fundamental concern: to conquer Cuba's freedom, to open up decent ways to his future, placing it justly in the balance of the world "-expressed in his essay Martí: Cuba, the poet and essayist Cintio Vitier.

And that endearing incarnation is coherently assumed in the form achieved in his speeches, letters, chronicles, poems, that taste and that world view of the soul of the whole country, unceasingly uniting to the revelation of our finest and universal essences the configuration of our destiny.

Within this dimension, we must underline important texts such as the speeches ‘Con todos y para el bien de todos’, ‘Nuestra América’, ‘Los Pinos Nuevos’, ‘el Manifiesto de Montecristi’, ‘El Diario de campaña’ or the last letters written to Federico Henríquez and his endearing Mexican friend, Manuel Mercado.

"In pages of this stature, which are not the only ones, the political and philosophical thought of Martí crystallizes," Vitier underlines and elaborates on this topic: "We already know, however, that there is no page lost in it, and that his writing, even that which may seem more casual, always keeps, for the intellectual, emotional or stylistic load, flashes of his genius."

For in the case of the Apostle always, together with revolutionary action, the poetics of Cuba that is magnificent and springs forth as a fertile source in his oratory and writings is inextricably linked.

On this subject, the author of ‘Ese sol del mundo moral’ highlighted: "The identification of Cuba and of Martí, which reaches sacred characters, must be felt through all his work, not only in the historical and political aspect, but also in the symbolic permanence of a man who became the act, the emblem and the inspiring word of his people."

In perspective, the Hero of Dos Ríos represents the peak of an ethical, aesthetic, political and cultural tradition of the Cuban nation that began in the late eighteenth century and bore fruit in all its splendor in his person: "De Caballero, Varela, Heredia , Saco, Del Monte, Luz -whose essences were alive in Mendive's school-, Martí historically comes from, but he surpasses them all because of the breadth and depth of his genius, because of the radicality of his political vision and also because of the height of the times he lived in."

In the political action, the three fundamental currents that would be disputed by the countryside throughout the century (independence, reformism, annexation) were perfectly defined when Martí attended Mendive's school.

Such is the historical context within which, towards his 15 years, Martí emerges to public life. Firstborn of a poor family, of immigrant Spanish parents, at that age he was already a complete Cuban from the telluric root up to the proud flower.

At the outbreak of the Ten Years' War, as we saw, Martí is a disciple and protegé of Rafael María de Mendive. This cultural and patriotic legacy, which we have tried to summarize in broad strokes, he picks up without effort, as something that natively, and disengaged from classist frames, belongs to him in his own right.

Fully identified with the independence ideal, he writes the sonnet ¡10 de octubre! and participates in insurrectionary events occurred in the Villanueva Theater and in the midst of Spanish repression, taking advantage of the freedom of printing issued shortly before, he publishes the editorial ‘El Diablo Cojuelo’ and the dramatic poem ‘Abdala in La Patria Libre’ (January 1869).

For these subversive texts and his direct participation in the Havana agitation of those days, he was sentenced to political imprisonment. The experience of the prison gave him knowledge of the injustice of the colonial system and they say that those experiences marked him forever, an indelible mark that led him to Dos Ríos.

For Cuba, he offered and dedicated his life to it by writing memorable pages. In his letter to Quesada y Aróstegui, dated in Montecristi on April 1, 1895, and considered to be his literary testament, he expressed modestly: "From Cuba, what will I not have written?: and not a page seems worthy of it: only what we are going to do seems worthy to me. (...) You already know that serving is my best way to talk. "

But who is, in short, this man whom Gabriela Mistral called "the purest man of our race"? The Apostle of Cuba, El Maestro, or simply our José Martí is the most complete Cuban, because with his actions as those illustrious knights of the Middle Ages who were looking at the top of a mountain for the strange rose of Lil to offer it to his beloved, so the poet who expressed a day "With the poor of the land I want my luck to cast", found his rose at dawn, and offered it to his everlasting beloved: Cuba.

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