The 171st birthday of Jose Martí, the author of Cuba’s independence

Known as the Apostle of Cuba, Jose Martí was born on this day, January 28, 1853. He would die on the battlefield on May 19, 1895, never seeing his beloved Cuba free from Spanish colonialism. His leadership, his ideas, and his legacy, however, continued to drive the Cuban drive for liberty after his death, eventually leading to freedom and independence just a few years later.

Jose Martí was a poet, a writer, and an intellectual with the courage of a warrior. He was a giant among men who never backed down or compromised his principles. He stood firm in the face of a colonial power, enduring prison and forced exile without losing his dignity. His intellect slayed his Spanish oppressors, who tried everything they could to neutralize him without success. It wasn’t until Spanish soldiers killed him on the battlefield that they were finally able to silence him, but to their surprise and consternation, his legacy and his words continued stronger than ever before.

64 years after his death, another colonial oppressor would take control of Cuba. Since the arrival of the communist Castro dictatorship, it has tried to usurp the words and legacy of Jose Martí for its own purposes. However, all those attempts have been a failure. Every single word Martí uttered and wrote is drenched in freedom, the antithesis of socialism and communism.

The words of the Cuban apostle José Martí are as pertinent today as they were over a century ago. They are words that not only Cubans can live by, but ones by which any people who desire to live in freedom can live.

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