Mensaje en español
The Cuban Nation
by Luis Mejer-Sarrá
These words are dedicated to José Julián Martí
(1853-1895), our Apostle, visionary and intellectual
architect of the Cuban Nation.
Overwhelmed by the lack of patriotism among exiled Cubans of that time and by the feelings of annexation to the USA of many, Martí, while living in New York in 1891, resigned from his position as Consul of Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay, as well as the presidency of the Hispanic-American Literary Society. Also from his role as columnist of the newspaper La Nación, to devote himself solely to the coordination of the new Cuban war of liberation On November 25, 1891 Martí arrives in Ybor City, Tampa, home to exiled tobacco manufacturers, always ready to contribute from their scant resources to the cause of liberation.
That evening, at the Cuban Lyceum, while receiving accolades from the audience, Martí begins his famous speech, parts of which are reprinted from Gonzálo de Quesada y Miranda’s book, Martí, the Man:
“For Cuba that suffers are my first words. Let Cuba be considered an altar upon which to offer our lives, not a pedestal on which to stand”.
“I want, as the first law of our republic, to have Cubans pay homage to the full dignity of man. Every true man must feel on his cheek the blows felt by another man on his own cheek …Either the republic has as its foundation the entire character of each of its sons, the habit of working with his hands and of thinking for himself, the exercise of his full integrity and the respect for others also exercising their own integrity as if it were out of family honor; the passion, in brief, for man’s decorum, or the republic is not worth a tear shed by our women nor a single drop of blood from our braves. We labor for truth and not for dreams.”
“The time has come to lead this imminent war to triumph. Let’s close ranks, now! Countries are not made by hopes carried deep within the soul! Enough of mere words! Let us rise once and for all, with a final assault from the heart, let us rise in such manner where liberty is not endangered by excess or by blunders or by the impatience of haste brought about by triumph; let us rise for the true republic…And let us surround the star, in our new flag with this formula of triumphant love: With all and for the good of all.”
And that lone and white star of our flag today weeps in sadness because the Cuban Nation is divided. The Cuban Nation lives today in exile. It lives in the United States and in the rest of the Americas. It lives in Europe, in Africa and even in the Orient, wherever we find a free Cuban yearning to return. Now, in the 21st Century, we need the spirit of our 19th Century Apostle to enlighten and guide us. May the blood of our mambises’ not have been shed in vain. And to honor our Apostle we need the reconciliation of all Cubans in one sole, free country, the Cuban Nation.
This issue of Herencia extols the character of General Calixto García Iñiguez (1839-1898). Born in Holguín, he participated in the three wars of independence beginning at age 18. He was considered a brilliant strategist playing an important role in the Spanish-Cuban-American War. Under his command, José Francisco Martí Zayas-Bazán, the only son of José Martí, fought at age 17 during the last War of Independence of 1895. José Francisco refused to ride Baconao, his late father’s white horse which had been offered him.