José Julián Martí Pérez at 170: The descendants of José Martí and those who repress them now
“I think they kill my child every time they deprive a person of their right to think.” – José Martí
José Martí was a poet, journalist, and Cuban independence leader. He had also endured prison for writings critical of the Spanish government. He organized a war of independence, but did so without resorting to dehumanizing his adversary or appealing to hatred. He was also a fierce advocate for civil liberties and especially freedom of thought and expression. Today, January 28 marks 170 years since the day José Julián Martí Pérez was born.
The communist dictatorship in Cuba claims José Martí as its own, but their ideology and actions are in stark contrast to his values.
Over a thousand sons and daughters of Cuba are arbitrarily and unjustly imprisoned today for exercising their right to free thought and expression in calling for freedom in July 2021. Eleven thousand are jailed for pre-crime in Cuba. The regime jails them for what they might potentially do in the future. Millions of Cubans have gone into exile, and many are barred from returning home by the Castro regime. The Castro regime continues to kill Cubans for standing up for freedom or attempting to flee Cuba to live in freedom. It has criminalized free speech, and jailed artists and independent journalists for exercising their profession.
Ideas expressed below by José Martí are in conflict with Castroism, but are in accord with the democratic Cuba that helped draft the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, and struggled for a more just and democratic order, but was damaged by Fulgencio Batista after 1952 then systematically destroyed by the Castro brothers after 1959.
“Man loves liberty, even if he does not know that he loves it. He is driven by it and flees from where it does not exist.”
“Freedoms, like privileges, prevail or are imperiled together You cannot harm or strive to achieve one without harming or furthering all.”
“Liberty is the right of every man to be honest, to think and to speak without hypocrisy.”
“It is the duty of man to raise up man. One is guilty of all abjection that one does not help to relieve. Only those who spread treachery, fire, and death out of hatred for the prosperity of others are undeserving of pity.”
Martí also criticized the writings of Karl Marx, observing they were antithetical to his own values. If one considers that he wrote, “It is the duty of man to raise up man. One is guilty of all abjection that one does not help to relieve. Only those who spread treachery, fire, and death out of hatred for the prosperity of others are undeserving of pity.” He was a contemporary of Marx who had written in 1849, “We are ruthless and ask no quarter from you. When our turn comes we shall not disguise our terrorism.” Martí recognized the dangers of Socialism and its doctrine of envy, observing:
“Socialist ideology, like so many others, has two main dangers. One stems from confused and incomplete readings of foreign texts, and the other from the arrogance and hidden rage of those who, in order to climb up in the world, pretend to be frantic defenders of the helpless so as to have shoulders on which to stand.”
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