Cuba's national hero, the Cuban poet Jose Martí, devoted his life to the cause of Cuban independence from Spain. Born in Havana, Cuba, in 1853, Martí began using his literary talents as a means of activism at a young age. He quickly became passionate about liberating Cuba from Spanish rule which led to his involvement in the Ten Years’ War.
In 1869, Martí created a one-volume newspaper, La Patria Libre (Free Fatherland), in which he expressed the liberation of an “imaginary” country through poems. However, his involvement in this publication led to his arrest and imprisonment in Spain, where he continued his support for the Cuban independence movement by publishing anti-Spanish writings while in exile. This experience inspired him to create Political Imprisonment in Cuba, a pamphlet detailing the brutalities faced in Cuba by the Spanish government and the Cubans' need for independence.
Martí was not only a passionate advocate for Cuban independence, but he also believed that education was critical to achieving political and social change. He completed his degree in law in 1874 at the University of Zaragoza and moved to Mexico a year later. While in Mexico, he contributed to several newspapers, in support of Cuban independence. In 1878, the Ten Years’ War ended, and Martí returned to Cuba. However, within a year, he was arrested and charged with conspiracy, forcing him to flee to France and Venezuela for short periods.
In 1881, Martí settled in New York City, where he wrote poems and essays for several newspapers that covered a wide range of topics. However, he never forgot about his mother country and the struggles Cubans were living through. In 1892, Martí became a representative of the Cuban Revolutionary Party. He envisioned a Cuba where one ruling class no longer dominated the country. The ideas sparked plans to overthrow the existing government.
In 1895, Martí and his supporters began their fight for Cuban independence in April, but sadly, he was killed by Spanish troops in May. His death marked a turning point in the struggle for Cuban independence, and he has since served as an inspiration to revolutionaries all over the world. Martí is seen as a symbol of Cuban independence and democracy, due to his dedication to the cause. After Martí’s death, Cuba continued to rebel against its allies and became an independent nation due to his work within the Cuban Revolutionary Party.
Today, the Cuban poet is not only remembered for his efforts in the Cuban Revolutionary Party but for his literature as well. His ideas and actions have influenced generations of political and social leaders. Martí's contribution to the Cuban independence movement continues to be recognized, and he is regarded as one of the greatest heroes in Cuban history.