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Inspirations bequeathed by Céspedes

Published: 2017.10.23 - 11:36:17   /  /  Laura Barrera Jerez  /  translated by  Luis E. Amador Dominguez  /

Inspirations bequeathed by CéspedesCarlos Manuel felt his first political passions in Spain. It was the decade of the 40's of the 19th century and while he studied law at the Universidad Literaria de Cervera, Barcelona, he joined the citizen militias with the rank of captain.

Youth cheered his spirits. He came to master French, Italian, Portuguese, German and English. His studies channeled his incipient impetus and upon returning to his homeland he soon realized that Cuba was experiencing a suitable context to begin the struggle against colonial power.

According to researcher Rafael Acosta de Arriba, "He is no longer the same provincial young man who left to complete his studies to be a Lawyer as it was stated then. He is a young man who has been touched by the development of modernity, by the debate of ideas, by the liberalism that, together with the impetuous capitalist development, leads to most of the countries visited through paths of accelerated growth. He returns to a colony with an old system of plantations and with slavery as a moral fraud and an obvious economic brake on the capitalist development. The contrast cannot be more obvious."

When he was 49 and in possession of a vast fortune as a landowner he decided to take up arms. So the seed of the Father of the Homeland started to grow. The first step on that road to immortality was to accelerate the armed uprising to stop the fulfillment of the order of Captain General Francisco Lersundi, who sought to imprison the creators of the emerging revolutionary movement and eliminate their independence intentions.

With the rise of Demajagua, on October 10, 1868, Carlos Manuel de Céspedes began a decade of national-liberating, democratic and anti-slavery war that provided a place for every Cuban, regardless of their skin color and social position. "Cuba needs all its children to achieve independence!" He said with the certainty of men who know how to be faithful to the future. The year 1868 demanded sacrifices, but the future needed inspiration.

It is not a dream, it is true,

The enraged Cuban people raise a war cry;

The people who have suffered for three centuries

How black the oppression encloses.

From the wide Cauto to the Sierra del Escambray,

The cannon roars, and we can hear the boisterous boom,

The barbarous oppressor is shaken,

he moans, sobs, and shyly terrifies himself.

Of its strength and heroic bravery

the fields become tombs, and its greatness

degrades and stains horrible cowardice.

Thank God that at last with integrity

Cuba breaks the chains that oppressed it

and haughty and free raises its head!

At that time, the author of these verses was barely 15 years old. It was José Martí in letters, but he would soon turn the feat of the forerunner into a sword because "a people must have once been thrown on their shoulders to know what the strength of it was, with no more weapons than a hawk-stick with a golden fist, decided, face-to-face of an implacable nation, to take away for his freedom his most unhappy possession, like removing a tiger from his last cub."

As Fernando Martínez Heredia would say, "the initiators destroy the impossible; revolutionaries learn to tame and work with them. The mambises who held the fight in more than half Cuba for ten years had to become superior to themselves, not just to their circumstances.” Thus the Homeland was born in the Bayamo sugar mill, and so the Cuban Revolution started.

Perhaps that is why the last days of Carlos Manuel de Céspedes Loynaz del Castillo were accompanied by the grateful people that knew he was great and looked after him as a historical symbol, even before his physical death.

Céspedes himself describes the affection of his neighbors in San Lorenzo, where he had his last abode, far from the love of Ana and the tenderness of his twins Gloria Dolores and Carlos Manuel. The seed of the Father of the Homeland was already a glorious fruit, and it would always be.

On February 27, 1874 and after a premonitory dream, Céspedes decided to wear his best suit, so he was captured in his journal. His death left no less than that masterfully described by José Lezama Lima: the fertile fertilizer for a nation to be born.

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