Libertadores: A collection of eight films about the heroes of latin american independence
JOSE MARTI - José Martí: El ojo del canario (Cuba)

JOSE MARTI (1853-1895)


José Julián Martí Pérez was born in Havana, Cuba on the 28th of January 1853. Still a child, the bloody spectacle of slavery made him conscious of the struggle and he took an oath:

"To spend his life trying to get rid of crime"

He was greatly influenced by Rafael María de Mendive, master and patriot who paid for his studies. Mendive however was taken to prison due to his political activities. In 1869 Marti’s ideas were published in both El Diablo Cojuelo and La Patria Libre. His play Abdala was published as well.

Once a teenager, he fought against colonialism and soon after he was condemned to 6 years of exile in a political village. There, he denounced the horrors of the political exile in Cuba. Prison helped shape his ethics and thoughts, which led him to begin a war of liberation by stating that:

"A war is necessary but without hatred"


After another year of confinement on the Island of Pinos, Martí was deported to Spain in 1871. His exile in Madrid and Zaragoza confirmed that Cuba could not expect help from the Spanish government in their fight for independence and justice. While in Spain, Martí studied Civil and Canonic Law and Philosophy in 1874. His studies do not make him forget his fight and together with his friend Fermín Valdés, he is once again tried and condemned.

After visiting several European cities, he arrives to Veracruz in 1875 where he meets Manuel Mercado. He returns to Havana on his way to Guatemala in 1877 and in September of the following year, his son José Francisco is born, his adored Ismaelillo who his book of poems is dedicated to.

Once again he was arrested in September of 1879, as he conspired for the Guerra Chiquita, in view of the Spanish authorities demands that he writes a favorable declaration. In exile he travels throughout Mexico, Guatemala and Venezuela and learns first hand of the problems the new republics are enduring due to the existing colonial vices.

Later, he moved to the United States for 15 years where he learned of the governments ´ imperialist tendency to extend its frontiers beyond Rio Bravo. During these years he engaged in different activities:

  • Translator
  • Diplomat and representative of several Latin America republics.
  • Chronicler.
  • Analyst.
He became one of the biggest writers in the continent despite the fact that his books were barely published. He also was the most read journalist in Latin America.


He never ceased to serve his country and during his last period he had only one goal: Cuba’s liberation. For that he:

  • Organized the independent movement by means of the Revolutionary Party.
  • Brought together all the social forces.
  • Drafted up a Republic different to the preceding experiences he had known in other American nations.
On the 14th of March of 1892 the first newspaper, Patria, appeared and on the 10th of April of that same year the Cuban Revolutionary Party was proclaimed and chose Martí as its leader.

Martí ´s interest in the short term was to free Cuba but he had other goals as well:

  • Fraternity amongst Latin American countries, which was essential for economic and cultural subsistence.
  • Improvement of the lives in small villages.
Martí´s revolutionary activities reached a surprising intensity, reflected in his speeches, articles, letters and travels. Martí, with the aim of independence as well as fighting against the expansion of North American imperialism, organized a war that would achieve the impossible. On the 11th of April of 1895 he returned to Cuba where he fought in Dos Rios on the 19th of May.

A few hours before he died he wrote to his friend Mercado:

"Every day I am in danger of dying for my country and my duty… I know how to disappear but my thoughts will never leave"

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