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Martí, José (1853–1895) and the Parti do Revolucionario Cubano

Edward T. Brett


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José Julián Martí y Pérez is considered the father of Cuban independence, but he was much more. He was a philosopher, statesman, poet, essayist, orator, journalist, advocate of racial and class equality, and revolutionary. Martí was born in Havana, Cuba, on January 28, 1853. His father, Mariano Martí Navarro, was a native of Spain and his mother, Leonor Pérez Cabrera, was from the Canary Islands. He was the oldest of eight children and the only boy. The family was poor, and Martí was only able to attend high school due to the support of Rafael María Mendive, an enlightened thinker and school teacher whose views did much to influence Martí's early political and moral development. In early 1869, a year after the first Cuban war for independence (the Ten Years' War) commenced, the 15-year-old anti-colonialist Martí began a newspaper, La Patria Libre (The Free Fatherland), and wrote his first notable poem, “10 de octubre.” His short-lived newspaper was terminated, however, when the Spanish authorities closed his school in March and arrested him in October because he had authored a letter denouncing a fellow student who had pro-Spanish proclivities. Despite his youth, he was sentenced to six years of hard labor in a rock quarry. In early 1870, however, his sentence was commuted and he was exiled to Spain, where he soon penned his “El presidio politico en Cuba” (Political Imprisonment ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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