of Florida and the Caribbean"
Cuban writer and patriot José Martí was a man of profound thought and expression, yet also a man of action. His continued fight for Cubas freedom brought a life of exile, imprisonment and, ultimately, his death in battle at the age of 42.
For more than a century the beliefs of José Martí have inspired Cubans and millions of others around the world. He wrote that freedom, justice and equality must be the foundation of any government. It is ironic that today Martí is considered a hero by both Fidel Castro and those who oppose Castros regime.
Martí was born in 1853 in Havana. By the age of 15, he was politically active and helped start an anti-colonial newspaper advocating Cuban independence from Spain. At 16, he was imprisoned as a revolutionary and sentenced to hard labor in a stone quarry, and then exiled to Spain. There he published the first of many pamphlets critical of colonial government. He also completed his education at the University of Saragossa, earning a law degree in 1874.
Further travels took him to France, Mexico and Guatemala. He returned to Cuba in 1878, but was again banished for continued revolutionary activities. In 1881 he settled in New York, where he was active in the Cuban Revolutionary Party and founded its journal, Patria, in 1892. He helped plan an invasion of the island and in 1895 finally landed in Cuba with a group of armed revolutionaries under the command of independence hero General Máximo Gómez y Báez.
On May 19, 1895, in his first battle, Martí was killed. The fight for freedom continued, however, leading to the Spanish-American war of 1898 and Cubas independence in 1902.
José Martí is considered one of the great writers of the Hispanic world. His timeless ideas were expressed in a vast array of poems, articles, essays and a novel. He celebrated the expansiveness of the human spirit and encouraged individual freedom and human rights. His fluent style and vivid imagery give his work an intensity still admired today. In Cuba, in Florida and elsewhere, countless streets, buildings, monuments and plazas are named in his honor.
Para conocer a un pueblo se le ha de estudiar en todos sus aspectos y expresiones: en sus elementos, en sus tendencias, en sus apóstoles, en sus poetas y en sus bandidos.
In order to know a place one must study all its aspects and expressions: its elements, its tendencies, its apostles, its poets and its bandits.
JOSE MARTI - Cuba's
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