José Martí, Cuban Patriot

By Richard Butler Gray | Go to book overview

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THE STUDENT OF HISTORY frequently speculates on contemporary and future affairs in the light of past events, even though he realizes that few persons ever learn anything from history. Today, undoubtedly, Cubans of all ranks, who recognize and worship Martí as a great national hero and "apostle," are asking themselves, "What would Martí do if he were alive now?" In the light of his vast affection for Cuba and its people, would Martí today advocate logically and philosophically what should be done by the Cubans, by the United States, and by Latin America? Faced with the myriad problems of the present, would he propose remedies, advocate methods, suggest actions, counsel care, caution against mistakes? Or would he quietly prepare a plan of action, carefully thought out, to be boldly executed by unilateral action or by multilateral cooperation in order to solve the "Cuban Problem" faced by the island's people, by the United States, by the Latin American countries, and by the communist bloc? In other words, would Martí the man as he was, or would Martí the image as he is thought to be, be able to achieve the results for which patriotic Cubans now so devoutly wish?

Martí's short life and untimely death did not prevent him from expressing himself on an astonishing variety of topics or from examining in a penetrating and often critical fashion the perplexing facets of life and thought with which the Cubans and the other Spanish Americans in general were concerned. His mind ranged over the whole universe and his opinions embraced all provinces of knowledge. After his death the "Clult of Martí" arose, and an ever increasing number of followers literally sought out his every word until his collected writings number seventy-four volumes in Spanish.

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