Copy of José Martí: Rebel Without Hatred by J.A. del Regato.


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Copy of José Martí: Rebel Without Hatred by J.A. del Regato.
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Romero, Eduardo S. ( donor )
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University of Florida
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Q3r J. A. del Regato

"The American Nation -- wrote Jose Martl" -- is the most amle home

thatg human decorum has yet built for itself." From Newt York City, where he
lived in exile during more than a third of his life~timec, this eloquent re-

porter, poet and revolutionary, wrote about everyth:ingJ American, in beautiful
Spanish, Mlost of his writings have never been translated into English.
Born in Cuba in 18537, thle son of Spanish nationals, Jose Marti,

through sheer eloquence, abnegation, and love of freedom, became the recognized

Apostle of Cuban independence from Spain. When only fifteen years of age he
was already the editor of a school paper "La Patria Libre", supporting the

Cuban insurgents w~ho were to fight for ten years without success -for Cuba's

independence, At sixteen he.was arrested on suspicion of disloyalty to Spain,
and, having assumed full responsibility for his acts in a show of patriotic
oratory during his trial, Mar~tt' was condemned to forced labor for challenging

the authority of the colonial powecr. Shackled in heavy iron chains which

ulcerated his ankles, he worked in a quarry near Hanvana, where his eyes were

badly burned by the lime, while his convictions were enforced. A petition
of his mother, on account of his youth, changed his sentence to exile in

Spain. Madrid, with its libraries, theaters, literary gatheringts, et cetera,

gave him a cultural opportunity whichr fascinated the young Cuban patriot and
made him fall in love with the country of his ancestors; he found sympathetic
audiences that wJould listen whecn h~is stifled indignation would burst in

evocation of enslaved Cuba, and when all the sorrow pent up, within his soul
would take the form of a cascade of boiling eloquent phrases.


Between Miadrid rand Zaragoza, M~art/1 completed his secondary school

credits and a Licentiate in Philosophy and Letters. And he also acquired a

clearer understanding of his own artistic sentiments as reflected in his

poetry, his literary criticisms, his opinions on art, his philosophical pro-


In 1875, Mfarti travelled to Mex~ico where he worked as a journa-

list and espoused the ideas of the heirs of Benito Judrez, The Indian was a reve-

lation to MiartfX; he was alarmed to see him standing still in the Miexican scene

and afraid that his weight might become a b~urden. In Mexico he wrote a

theater play and met a beautiful young Cuban fromn Camagiiey, Seiiorita Carmen

Zayas-Bazan, to whom he became engaged. To his disappointment a successful

revolt in Mexico brought Porfirio Diaz to powter. As a journalist he had carried

his convictions to dangerous extremes, not out of partisanship but out of

loyalty to his concept of man: his right: to participate in inner discussions

was questioned. The hospitality he enjoyed being no longer spontaneous and

frank, he decided to leave Me~xico for Guatemnala where he was offered a position

at the Teachers' College. Hle became a professor in thie Faculty of Philosophy

and Letters of the University of" Guatemala and worked on a book in whlich he

captured the beauties of the land and sang the virtues of the people of


Marti, at tw~enty-five, had short curly hair receding on his pale

forehead, a mustache that accentuated his smile and a far-aw4ay exprression

in his slanted eyes; to this was added his command of language, his courtli-

ness, and the romantic halo of a restless exile with intense noble aspira-

tions. Marti became a regular attendant at the tertulias held in the home

of General Garcla-Granados. Marra Garcla-Granados, the General's daughter,

a2 young lady of melancholy dlark eyes and caressing voice, was attracted to

Mlart i. When he travelled to Mexico and returned a married man, Mlarfa's

unexpected death was announced. In tender verses that he wrote later, Martl

immortalized la Ni ~a de Guatemala:

"She entered the river at dusk;
thle doctor b~roughlt her out dead.
They said shie died of a chill
I know that she died of love."

In 1878, the pact of Zanjin brought to an unsuccessful end Cuba's

ten-year old war for independence, and Marti was ab~le to return to his

beloved home land, Amon the Cubans that had not given up, their hopes, he

was sought for his qualities as an orator and he was fearless in expounding

his views against autonomism even in thle presence of Spanish officials. H~is

revolutionary activities were closely watched, and one year after his return

he was again deported to Spain. But th~is time he rapidly escaped to France

and thence to New York where he arrived in January, 1880. For the next fifteen

years New York was his home and the center of his feverish intellectual and

revolutionary activities.

M;arti wrote regularly for "La Opinidn Nacional" of Caracas and"La

N~acidn" of Buenlos Aires; his long articles on varied subjects were read by

thousands who came to depend on him to explain the United States of America.

"There is nothing in Spanish that resemnbles Marti's roaring style -- said

Srariento, of Argentina -- after Victor H~ugo, France has nothing to offer to

equal his metallic resonance." According to the contemporary Chilean poetess,

Gabriela Mist~ral, the United States owses Martiz a debt of gratitude, for he

wr~te the best articles on American life that have ever been written in South

America, both in literary quality and in hris concern to conciliate and unite.

The events of the day, the assassination of Garfield, the inauguration of the

Brooklyn Bridge, a lecture delivered by Oscar Wilde, the unveiling of the

Statue of Liberty, a pastoral letter of the Methodist bishop,, the Charleston

eaarthquake and innumerable other events became vehicles to expound his views.,

Those who w~ill read his melodic prose will note the contrast between his tender

expressions and his powerful virility.

In 1882, upon thre death~ of Emerson, Mar'tl/ wrote the moost beautiful

tribute to the Great American:

"Emerson hias died and our eyes fill wsith sweet tears; his passing
gives us not patin but envy, it does not .swell our chest wiith anguish
but with tenderness... Emerson was at sub~tle oibserver w~ho wrote a~s
he sawJ... His pen was not likce a painter's brush but like a sculptor's
chisel. H~e didI not argueo, hie established. Hfe purified, refined,
distilled and took only the essence."

W4heth-ef on love letters or in hlis articles, Martii lets us often

see his own preoccupations and anxieties:

"...because to live is suffering, I live. I live because I m~ust be
stronger than every obstacle and every valor...I muxst find in my soul
an explanation, a desire,,..a just motive, a noble cause for mny
existence." And elsew\here: "Thle sp~irit travels in life like the
hunted fawn, without time to inhale the vivify~ing air, nor to take
a taste of the juicy young shoots, nor to satiate his thirst in the
brook wJhichl, like melted light, runs in the woods.-"

A New York publication, "The Htour", sought M3artias an art critic;

of a painting of the crucifixion he wrote: ]

"The artist does not portray Christ in his conquering charity, nor
in his captivating resignation, nor in his immaculate forgiveness
for whichl there is no .:capacityr in hu~man nature...he sees Jesus,
rather, as the invincible power and incarnation of an idea, broad-
casting a clean and clear beauty which comecs into the souls and
makes itself felt in them,"l

In 1887, he wrote an obituary on Wialt WJhitman~:

"Not since the sacred books of antiq~uity has there been a doctrine,
comparable in apocalyptic language ;and3 sinewedo poetry, to that of
this old poet whose grandliose and priestly utterances erupt like
sunbursts...he is the most fearless, comprehensive and spontaneous
poet of his age. He describes truth as a passionate lover who in-
vades its body and unbuttons its clothing in possessive anxiety.
His language has seemed lewd to those who are incapable of under-
standing his greatness; fools with the affected modesty of prurient
schoolboys...W~hitman's method is that of accumulation..,he evokes
melancholy, like the savages, by rep~tion ...his reasoning never
takes the pedestrian form of argument...instead, he uses the mystery
of insinuation, the fervor of certitude and the igniting shift of

Charles Dana asked MaIrtri to write for "The Sun"~ an' harvintg to

translate thle Spalnish copzy, complained of his owJn inability to render justice
to ari'sprseMatk, in turn,` translated into Spanish several Amenricanr

books; his translation. of the novel "Ramona" by Helen HIunrt: achieved a beauty

of spontaneity and of gr-aceful classical turns, which is said to have sur-

passed the original.

Obligedf to accept sepairation from h~is beloved son, M~arti wrote a

book of poems dedicated to him: ~Son, I take refuge in you...These rivulets

that flowerd through my heart, may they touch yours." His verses are a rare

mixture of simplicity and naked orig~inality, bearing a tender emot~ionn with

adorable innocence. The soft rh~ythm of his verses has been described,

by Uinamuno, as the most varied in the Spannish lan;guage. Unlike many of his

Latin contemp3oraries, Marti did not pose as a misunderstood and tormented

poet: his was a cry of alarm with a loving exhortation.

And as though this intellectual activity was only a sideline,

Marrti workedl incessantly for the liberation of Cuba. H~is interest transcended

the ordinary incliniations of the romantic poets and extended from! sociology

to economics, from education to government. Writing about the Ch~icago Hlay-

market Riots he said of the; anarchists:

"sThose who sow arson and treason because of hate for the prosperity
of others, deser~ve only p~ity...In no honest soul does the thi~rst,
for justice precipitated into crime..."

Ye t when the anarchists were-~sumarily condemned, Marti felt that

their guilt had not been proven and he raised his voice in protest, wsarningr

that the Republic hlad fallen into the injustice anrd violence of monarchies.

'Of Karl Marx, Marti/ wrote that he was not only a tita~nic mover of

the anger of Europ~ean workers but also a profound seer of the reasons of

huaman misery, But, ho also wrot:,e tha;t Mar~xismo hadii two basic da~ngers.:

",.,thlat of extrazneous, confiusedl and incom~plete inte-irpretations
and~ ... thatr oF the pride~ andi dissimrulated vi~olence~ of ambitious
m~en who~t claai~nto be defenders ii" the h~elple~ss in order to raise,
themselves over their shoulders."

Mijximo Go'mes and Antonio Ma1ceo, veterans of the ten-year war,

had fai~led in their attempts to fomnent a new~ movemaent for Cub~an indep~endtence.

Calixto G~arefa~ made an unsuccessful start, known in Cuban history as "la

Guerra chiqui ta", M~arti .orxanizedl the Culban Revolutionary Party w~hich1, at

last, unified the exiles in a single purpose and the revolutionary fermeont

was in action again. Hie founded and published "'Patria"~, the official organ

of the party. H~e travelled incessantly to Mexico, Costa Rica, Jamaica, Panami,

and San~to Domingo to heal the wounlds and reconlcile thle dif~ferences among Cuban

patriots; and he went frequently to Tampa and K~ey-W~est wshere the exiled

Cuban cigar makcers became p~ower~ful supporters of the party:

"To free the Cubans we work, not to corral them...Their rights as men
is what Cubans expect from independence."

There were fences to mend, quarre~ls to reconcile, fun~ds to be raised,

rb~les to be agreed upon; lin all of this he weas thle key~j personaity involved.

There were~ those concerned with the rise of thle Negro in liberated Cuboai

Mlarti vehemently contendeld:

"If in things concernin;: my country I should b~e given thle choice of
one good over all others, I should want theo cornerstone of our Re-
pubolic to be the devotion of Cubants to thle full dignity of maln...
Either the Republic has as its formation the basic character of
everyone of its sons ... respcctinff, as if it we~ire a matter of family
honor, thte unrestrictced freedom of others ..,or else the Republic
would not h~e w~orth a single one of the tears of our women. nor a
solitary drop of a brave man's b~lood. The soul emnanates .equal and
eternal from bodies that are diverse in form and color. HIe sins
against humanity who propagatees antagonism and hate betweenn the
races. Treacherous assassin, ingrate to God and onemyv o:F men is he
who, under pretext of directing the new~ generations, shows them an
isolated cumnulus of absolute doctrines and preaches to their ear
the barbarous gospel of hate rather than thle sweet conversation
of love."

An article app3earedl favoring annexation of Cuba to the United Statess

and referring to Cubans as effeminate and in~cap7able of assuming the responsi-

bilities of citizenship. Prompt to the ripest, Martx' wrote to the Editor of

the E~vening Post:

"'We should have renewed our efforts ,if it wdere not for those among
us wdho faivoredl annexation and held the unmanlly hopes of obtaining
liberty without p:aying thle necessary price for it; and, also, if~
it, were not for others who fearedi ... that our blood soaked ruiins
would serve no other end than to fertilize the soil for the gr'owth
of a ~f~oeign plant."

And tirelessly he admonished his comp~atriots of the difficulties

a~nd pitfalls that lay ahead:

"Our fatherland demands sacrifices, it is an altar, not a pedesstal
... Only the wrealth which is created and the liberty that is conl-
quecred w~ithi one's ownm hands is lasting and good; ... Our Wine is
bitter, but it is our w~ine,"

Cuban exiles everywhre~r Were re~adtying~ themselves for the fight on

Cuban sofl andt the long preparations w~ere corning to an end, Three secretly

loaded boats containing a moderate arsenal wesre to leave Floridia to pick 'up

Cubans in Central Amnerica and Caribbean islands and eventually'land in Cuba.

At the last m~inute a denulnciationm resulted in an embargo and confisca~tion

by United Startes authorities. The fiasco of La Fernandina broke Ma~rti"s

usual composure and threatened to discredit the revolutionaries; but the

new~s of the formidable secret undertakcing spurred the en~thusiasm for the revo-


"W~e hlave lost the Lago~nda, the Am-adis and the RRaracea, bu\t by our
good fortune, not lost is the self-resp-ect of the Cub~ans."

A new expedition w'as prepared and financed with the rematining7 funds.

And by general agcreemecnt, insurlgents rose simultaneously in various places in

Cuba, on February 24thl, 1895. A~ntonio M~aceo and manny other Cuban patriots to join the struggle; Manrt~x went to Sa~nto Domingyo to makec the last

preparations with Miximo Gimenz before Cuba. In the small cormmunity


of M~ontecristi, MartP wrote a manifesto which they both signed, explaining to

the world the legitimatee cause of the Cuban revolution; it was Cuba's

Declaration of Independence, el ''nni'iesto de Mo!ntecristi:

"'This war shall not foster disorder nor tyrany ... Those who foment
and carry its voice declare before the fatherlaind their cleanliness
from hate, their indulgence for thle timid or mistaken Cubans, their
respect for the dignity of mnan..."

M;artl", ever conscious of his destiny, wrote several letters before

sailing, On~e letter was addressed to an old Dominican friend, Federico

Hlenriquez; its contents are considered as his political testament. In this

letter he paid respectful tribute to Mi~ximno Gtjmes, a foreigner who had fought

and was preparing to fight agdin for Cuba:

"I write, deeply moved, in the silence of a home that, for the
g~ood of my country, will be today abandoned. The least that I can
do in recognitifonl of that virtue, is to face death ... in th~e company
of thle one whr~o, because of my hands w~ork and the. commron passions of our
lands, leaves his happy home ... to face the enemy in mny fatherland."

And he further afffirmed:

"I evoked the war; my responsibility starts rather than itnds writh it.
To me, the fatherland will never he trP~iump~3hl ut agony and duty."

He also wrote a tender letter to his old mother and a fathelrly one

to Maria M~antilla, a young N'ew Yorker whom he r~egardedt and loved as his own

daughter: "An page a day, my dear little daughter... and wait for me as long

as you know that I am living," and he added that he carried her picture as a


Marti, Mi~ximo G~mez and a handful of others eventually landed in

Playitas, on the southern coast of Cuba, near its easternmost cape. From

there, knapsack over the shoulder, they walked for four weeks, through some

of the most beautiful but inhlospitab~le region of thcetropical island, the

mountains of Barazcoa, meett with M~iaceo in La Me~jorana, There it wans agreed

that the revolution would be governed by democratically elected regional

representatives of the people, Marti"s theisis, and not by.a military junta.

Then they parted in different directions according to a plan. After a few~

more days df slow progress through muddy days and rainy nights the group of

which Marti made part was surpr~ised by the Spaniards. Ordered by Gcdmes to

remain behind, Martx' jumped on hojrsebacke anld went forth to meet the enemny and

the doeth for whllich he had longf prepared.

Thus, at the age of forty-two, camer to an end Thre life ofr this

warrior who did not fire a shot. Ma~rti was, without qufoesion, a mli~t like few

others. Hle did not aspsire to a3 career as an witnier, .yet he bcamzre the outstand-

ing Latin American writer of his time. H~e was a tender poet of adorable candid

simnplicity, but% without natrcissism ore apparent preoccupat-io~n with method;

he is now considered the irnlititor: of M~odesrnism in Sp~anish poetryr. He livedl

as a foreigner in various countries, yet foundt it possible to love them all

and to exelt their virtues ra~ther: than to reflect unon teilm the sad bitterness

of hlis exile. H~e had the physifognoy of a romantic yet wvas not given to sterile

lamenrtations but to vital. affirmnations with a nostalgQia for idnocenlce. Although

disappointed in love, he did not write of women as treacherous beings but exalted

them as the fountain of life. This revolutionary without hate, wh~o drowned the

pains of his apostolic endeavorrs in his militant love for man, this kneeling

lover, this anxious father, has been justly called a saint of liberty, an

apostle of fsreedom!0


The seeds of Cuban independence were fertilized by the blood of

this remarrkable patriot: from October, 1895, to ;January, 1896i, a sweeping


movement, hailed in Cuba as La Invasionz, brought: doefeat to the Spaznish rmnies

wdherever they wiere met in batte.s Mcceo and Md~ximno G~mes led the triump~hant

3iberators from Baragua', in the eastern. province of thle island, to M~antua, west

of H~avana. The' difficultr circumstances forced the@ Spanish: authorities to make

war use of barbed! wire and to invent the concentration camps'. Two years later

trhe battleship M~aine exploded in the B3ay of HIavana.