“The apostle of Cuban independence”, “the Cuban Patriot” “, “The Martyr of the independence” are some of the titles that Jose Martí gained. He was a Cuban journalist, essayist, translator, professor, publisher, poet, politician, philosopher and thinker. He is considered one of the highest, purest, richest and deepest influences in Latin America. His dedication to the cause of freedom made his name a synonym for liberty through the continent.
EARLY LIFE - A SIMPLE CUBAN.
Mariano Martí Navarro his father and Leonor Perez Cabrera his mother were two poor Spanish immigrants. Jose Julian Marti Perez was born in la Havana, Cuba on January 28, 1853. When he was 4 they moved back to Spain and stayed there for two years, then came back to the island were his parent enrolled him in a public school near to his father job as a prison guard in Santa Clara.He spent part of his childhood in a colonial factory realizing heavy tasks for a child. Even though he was a brilliant student. In 1865 he enrolled in the Escuela de Instrucción Primaria Superior Municipal de Varones, headed by Rafael María de Mendive, who would work as a very strong influence in the development of Martí’s politic philosophy. The friendship of Marti with his best friend Fermin Valdez Dominguez, the sun of rich slaveholders, was also essential in the development of his thought.
GENESIS OF HIS PHYLOSPHY
Since very young Martí showed his very strong position in pro of Freedom and equality of men. An example of this was sought when he and his classmates herd about the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. They expressed their pain by group mourning, and cried the loss of such an important political figure in abolishing slavery in the United States. One year later he entered the Instituto de Segunda Ensañanza where Mendive financed his studies.In September 1876 Marti signed up to the Escuela Profesional de Escultura y Pintura de la Habana to study drawing. He planned to be prominent in this field but he failed due to not getting commercial success. In 1867 he reentered to the school of San Pablo that had been established and managed by Mendive, there he tightened his ties with Mendive, by helping him with the administratives tasks of the School. He studied his second and third years of his bachelors studies.
FIRST PARTICIPATION IN POLITICAL CRITIQUE WRITING
Then the 10 years war came. Martí and his best friend Fermin joined the Cuban nationalists clubs formed after the war. Jose started showing his strong desire for seeing a free Cuba through his poems and published them. He was trying to work in the dream of a free Cuba. He also published a political writing on Fermin’s only publication of the journal “El diablo cojuelo”. It is around this same time when other two of his most important works came to light, his sonnet “10 de octubre” and “The Abdala” a verse drama about the struggle of a imaginary country called Nubia looking for its freedom, published in the one volume La Patria Libre newspaper which he published himself.After these facts the Spanish government on the island decided the closure of the school and this interrupted the studies of Marti and made him to resent even more the Spanish rule in his country. He continued writing and spreading ideas against the Spanish colonies, such as the opposition to slavery, that was still legal and broadly practiced in Cuba.
YEARS IN PRISION
At a very young age, with 16 years old Jose was accused with Fermin, both accused of treason against the Spanish government, for writing a letter to one of their friends, reproving that he recently joined the Spanish Army. After confessing to the charges Marti was imprisoned in the National Prison and was condemned to 6 years in prison. Despite his parent efforts obtaining legal support and writing letters to the government they could not help his son. This would be his first complication against the Spanish government. And this fact started shaping even more his ideas and political philosophies.
THE EXILE, SPAIN.
After 2 years in prison Marti fell ill and had to be transferred to Isla de Pinos to eventually be exiled to Spain. There they allowed him to continue his studies. Probably they thought that the young Martí would renew his loyalty to Spain by finishing his studies there, and that after suffering severe maltreatment in jail he would be afraid of do any manifestation of his disagreements. But they were wrong. The years in jail served as a fuel to Marti’s political ideology and once in Spain he looked for Cuban compatriots to join them. In January, 1871 he contacted his fellow Cuban Carlos Sauvalle, who also had been deported to Spain and whose house had been serving as a center of reunions of exiles Cubans. Recalling on his years in prison, Marti wrote the article “Castillo” about the suffering in the prison of a friend he met in prison nad it was published in the Cadiz’s newspaper “La soberania Nacional”. The article succeeded and was later republished in the Sevilla’s “La cuestion Cubana” and in New York’s “La Republica”. He also enrolled in the law faculty of the Central University of Madrid. He continued actively participating in political discourse against Spanish activities in Cuba and debating with Spanish press. In July 1871 Martí published the tract “Political imprisonment in Cuba” inspired on his own experience in prison and his consequent deportation to Spain. In the same year in Cuba, 8 medicine students were executed with charges of desecrating a Spanish grave, with no evidence of it. As a consequence, Marti wrote “A mis hermanos muertos”. Another consequence of the incident was the detention of Fermin Valdez, who was sentenced to six years in jail, but the sentence was later changed for the exile to Spain. Fermin and Marti reunited again.
IN ENEMY TERRITORY
In 1873 Marti was even more actively fighting for Cuba’s freedom. “A mis hermanos” was published by Fermin. In the same year the Cuban flag was hanging for first time in Spanish territory in Marti’s balcony at Concepcion, Jeronima. On February 11, 1873 the Proclamation of the First Spanish Republic by the Cortes was published, reaffirming that Cuba was inseparable of Spain. Marti responded with “ The Spanish Republic and the Cuban Revolution” an essay. He sent it to the Prime minister of Spain and was this same writing that Jose sent to Nestor Ponce de Leon, a member of the Junta Revolucionaria de Nueva York, with the expression of his will to contribute in the armed revolution. Marti and Fermin moved to Zaragoza in may. In 1873 continued his studies at the Universidad Literaria graduating with a degree in civil law and in cannon law. He continued publishing many articles in La Cuestion Cubana of Sevilla.
A WORLDWIDE TRIP
He signed up also In August as a student at the Facultad de Filosofia y Letras de Zaragoza, where he finished his degree by October. Then he left to Paris. There he met Auguste Vacquerie and Victor Hugo. In December, 1874 he left to Mexico. Prevented from returning to Cuba, Martí went instead to Mexico and Guatemala, since it was the closest that he could be to Cuba. During these travels, he taught and wrote, feverously advocating continuously for Cuba's independenc
In Mexico he lived in La moneda St. a very prestigious location of the time, close to El Zocalo of Mexico City. There he met Manuel Antonio Mercado, who was the secretary of the Distrito Federal and became one of his best friends. In Mexico he collaborates with many organization in pro of the workers and the people. Was in one of those organizations, the Sociedad Gorostiza, were he would meet his future wife, Carmen Sayaz Bazan. He witnesses the coup by Porfirio Diaz against Sebastian Lerdo de Tejada. Through his writing exposed on his articles for several newspapers he opposed Diaz’ government and his violent acts. But Mexico did not promise to be a good place to live nor express himself with Porfirio Diaz at the presidency.
In 1877, using his second name second last name as a pseudonym he traveled to Cuba, to try to make arrangements to move his family away from Mexico City. He failed and had to come back to Mexico City. He traveled to the south until he got to Guatemala City. There he installed his family in the suburb of Ciudad Vieja a prosperous place where artists and intellectuals lived. In Guatemala, on may, he was named head of the Department of French, English, Italian and German Literature, History and Philosophy, on the faculty of philosophy and arts of the Universidad Nacional. He came back to Mexico eventually and is in this time when he met Carmen Sayaz Bazan.
RETURN TO CUBA
After being in Guatemala he came back to Cuba. There he met the afro-cuban revolutionary Juan Gualberto Gomez who would be his lifelong partner in the armed revolution. It is in this time when he married Carmen at la Havana. He resigned to sign the Pact of Zanjon, that would be the end of the 10 years war. He joined also the Comite Revolucionario de Nueva York. And close to the end of this same year his son Jose Francisco, “pepito” was born in Cuba.
In 1881 Marti moved to New York and stayed there for a brief time. Then he moved to Venezuela. There he founded the Revista Venezolana, which occurred to annoy the dictator Antonio Guzman Blanco. He was forced to go back to New York where he openly supported the struggle of Cuba for liberation and could also work to many Latin American newspapers and magazines. He also wrote poems and translated novels to Spanish. Marti refused to support General Maceo and Maximo Grajales, because he knew they would stablish a military dictatorship in Cuba. As well he knew it was too early to launch a successful campaign. The facts that came later confirmed his speculations.
PROPAGATION TRAVELS AND FINAL ARRANGEMENTS
In 1892 he traveled visiting many Cuban clubs all over the world and he was received with great enthusiasm, which accelerated the need of fundraising to start the Revolution. And was in one of these trips when he was poisoned in Tampa, Florida. On June 3, 1893, he has an interview with Máximo Gómez in Dominican Republic, and they planned the uprising. Then on July he met with General Maceo Costa Rica. In 1894 he continued traveling organizing the revolutionary movement. In July, he visited the Mexican president Diaz, and travelled to Veracruz. In August, he prepared and arranged the armed expedition that would begin the Cuban armed revolution.
On January, 1895, US authorities stopped the steam ship Fernandina and two other suspicious ships, and confiscated his weapons ruining the Plan de Fernandina. Everything relayed now in the uprising in the island. On January 29 Marti, Jose Maria Rodriguez and Enrique Collazo drew up the order of the uprising. Juna Gualberto led the organization of the uprising in la Havana and Marti moved closer, to Montecristi, Republica Dominicana, to organize the uprising altogether with General Maximo Gomez. Before going to the battlefield Marti commended to Gonzalo de Quesada to order and edit all of his literature in very specific order. Thanks of that we can have all the literature of Marti accessible.
DEATH, THE MARTYR
Jose Marti was killed by Spanish troops on on May 19, 1895. Maceo realized that the Spanish had a strong position between some palm trees and ordered his men to disengage. Marti was alone and he saw a young courier riding by so he said: Joven, a la carga!. Marti was using a black jacket and riding a white horse in the midday light, so he was an easy target for the Spanish soldiers. They shot him and took the body. They buried him and then exhumated the body upon realization of his identity. Marti is buried in Santa Ifigernia Cementery in Santiago de Cuba.
"NO ME ENTIERREN EN LO OSCURO / A MORIR COMO UN TRAIDOR/YO SOY BUENO Y COMO BUENO / MORIRE DE CARA AL SOL." - (Fragmento) Versos Sencillos, Jose Marti
- Izalcofilms. "José Martí, su vida y su obra." Youtube, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jxi8olCt7FE.
- Encyclopedia of World Biography. "José Martí." . Encyclopedia.com. 20 Mar. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.
- Wikipedia,"JoseMarti". Wikipedia.org https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jos%C3%A9_Mart%C3%AD.