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The death of an inclaudicable patriot

Published: 2018.04.15 - 11:55:44   /  /  Ana Rosa Perdomo Sangermés  /  translated by  Luis E. Amador Dominguez  /

The death of an inclaudicable patriotCarlos Manuel de Céspedes was the first to raise the Homeland on that memorable October 10, 1868 at La Demajagua, when he called brothers and sisters to the men and women whom he freed from their condition as slaves and made it possible for his own intelligence and courage to reach his place, his positions and ranks in the fight against Spanish colonialism.

This action, which was not seconded or understood by some people, brought him powerful enemies over the years, but he knew and felt that the free Homeland came first. According to Fernando Portuondo, who was an outstanding Cuban pedagogue and historian, Céspedes was misunderstood.

Cuba is proud to have counted on his audacity to ring the bell of the war and to lead it, winning forever the beautiful qualification that was assigned to him in life and after death: the Father of the Homeland, because he did not give up when the Spaniards asked him to surrender in exchange for forgiveness for his son Oscar, who had been sentenced to death by execution; Cespedes' response was portrayed in a memorable letter filled with Cuban identity: "Oscar is not my only son because the Cubans who die for the freedom of their Homeland are also my children."

The existing divisions led to his dismissal in Bijagual as President of the Republic in Arms and, even though he was slandered, isolated and abandoned, he never betrayed his principles. He took refuge, without escorts or protection, in San Lorenzo, in the foothills of the Sierra Maestra, where he taught children to read and the locals called him the first president. There he fell in combat on February 27, 1874, 144 years ago, in unequal confrontation with a Spanish enemy troop.

Céspedes stands out among the greatest patriots in Cuban history and every day we must learn from his teachings, let us remember that even when he was born in opulence, he died poor in the forest, full of hardships, without any shadow of revenge. When many thought of regionalisms, he thought of all Cubans; when someone spoke of races, he summoned everyone equally; when some thought of individualism, he called to join in the struggle and in the collective work.

Carlos Manuel de Céspedes transcends his deeds, positions and qualifications. Cubans must deepen in the study of his personality to assess, in its entire dimension, the transcendence of the actions of a man who denounced the government of the United States as the bird of prey that flew in calculating circles over the Cuban republic. It is a generous act that warns us of the harmfulness that entails putting individualism and selfishness before the interests of the Homeland. He fought to the end of his strength with the full conviction of the immortality of his ideas and actions, even in oblivion and loneliness.

On his extraordinary firmness and dedication to the libertarian cause, Commander in Chief Fidel Castro once said, Céspedes symbolized the spirit of the Cubans of that time, symbolized the dignity and rebellion of a people - still heterogeneous - that was beginning to be born in history."

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