SYMBOLISM IN POLITICS
JOSÉ MARÍ serves as a convenient, even necessary, symbol of identification for many politicians who wish to gain high office. Once there, party leaders find it indispensable to justify their acts by associating them with Martí's name. On the other hand the opposition attacks that identification as being misplaced, and would transfer the Apostle's mantle to its own shoulders. From the sidelines those who revere Martí cry, "A plague on both your houses! Everybody talks about Martí, but no one does anything to fulfill his ideals."
The purpose of this chapter is to examine viewpoints of leading politicians, political events, and party platforms to determine to what extent Martí's ideals have been reiterated and followed in the recent history of Cuba. Since Martí was very much preoccupied with the corruption existing in the Spanish colonial government, and since it is often said that corruption continues to be the major shortcoming of modern Cuban government, particular attention will be given to these charges. In addition a large share of the chapter will be devoted to an examination of the degree of success achieved in political reform, an important feature of Martí's philosophy of government.
When President Gerardo Machado fell from power in 1933, the traditional Liberal and Conservative parties of Cuba fell with him. Popular antagonism to their support of the dictator forced them to