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The infinite pain, the Fragua Martiana and glory

Published: 2017.07.26 - 10:42:38   /  /  Laura Barrera Jerez  /  translated by  Luis E. Amador Dominguez  /

The infinite pain, the Fragua Martiana and gloryIn 1938, Gonzalo de Quesada Miranda (son of the Martí’s disciple Gonzalo de Quesada Aróstegui) and Dr. Federico Castañeda, together with Emilio Roig, began research to find the exact location of the Canteras of San Lázaro, where José Martí had done hard labor as part of his jail sentence. When finishing his imprisonment, the hero wrote the precise clues in his book "El presidio político en Cuba":

"Infinite pain should be the only name of these pages. Infinite pain, because the pain of the prison is the most rude, the most devastating pain, that kills the intelligence and dries up the soul, leaving in it traces that will never be erased.’’

On Marti's lines were the remnants of what had been hell to him. In photos we can see him when he was 17 years, shackled at the ankle, a sad uniform... His face of fatigue and his glance have more than 12 daily hours of hard labor. In 1870, the prisoner No.113 wrote to his mother:

"Look at me, mother, and do not weep for your love:
If I am a slave of my age and my doctrines,
And filled your martyr heart with thorns,
Think flowers will be born amongst thorns."

Of one of the links of the shackle used by him in the Canteras of San Lázaro, they made a ring marked with the name of Cuba that accompanied him from 1887 until his death. Those sad and painful days enjoyed the impetus and deep conviction of defending the Homeland.

That is why, years later, when the place was already located and properly prepared to tell the story, there came a heritage of incalculable patriotic value. Today the Fragua Martiana Museum, at the intersection of Hospital and Príncipe streets, in the municipality of Centro Habana, shows the remains of the quarries, the forks of the boat that Martí and Gómez used when disembarking in Playitas de Cajobabo, a table and an armchair used by the Apostle in the house of Dr. Ramón Luis Miranda, the revolver that Martí had planned to wield when he entered the Necessary War, the famous smell-pad provided by María García Granados (the Guatemalan girl), a copy of the Patria newspaper, as well as the scarf worn by Maceo on the day of his death, and several documents belonging to the medical students murdered in 1871.

The infinite pain, the Fragua Martiana and gloryLa Fragua was declared a National Monument on May 8, 1996, both for the objects exhibited there and for the constant defense of history, the ideals of independence, the life and work of the Apostle. In recognition of these efforts, the Gold Medal and the Diploma awarded by the University of Zaragoza, Spain, to José Julián Martí Pérez, who graduated from that center with great recognition as a student, was added to his historical collection.

There are all those relics. In a small space, far from the city's maelstrom, Martí’s foresight was fulfilled that the chains of the prison would be worth more than any glory.

This is the hardworking nature that walks through those walls, goes through the courtyard and echoes Martí and the certainty that we have the task of making the Homeland: "The mother of decorum, the sap of freedom, the maintenance of the Republic and the remedy of its vices, is above all else, the propagation of culture: make men whoever wants to make people."

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