When the journalist José Martí fell face to the sun, as bravo as he himself predicted in one of his simple poems, the poet Rubén Darío exclaimed: “What have you done, Master!
The Nicaraguan bard could not imagine that the forerunner of literary modernism in Latin America, at the age of 42, was about to give up his poetry and his best journalistic skills to a shot Spanish bullet ambushed on the banks of two fateful rivers.
With a revolver in hand, riding a horse with a live mane, which a few days ago was presented to him as a token of gratitude by his namesake José, the bravest of the Maceos, the journalist Martí went into battle with a broad forehead and a giant heart to declare courage and pure speech, with a photograph of Maria Mantilla in his pocket and with all the shame of the universe on his face.
The five of us who have come here today to receive the award that bears his name, his highest name, cannot separate ourselves from that young reporter with a deft and deep pen who founded the Patria newspaper on the cold New York streets of New York. 1892, and who, in a shabby frock coat, was whipped behind his back for carelessness in clothes and disheveled hair.
“They say, good Pedro, that you mutter about me / Because I have hair behind my ears / Curly waves increase their volume,” he sang in one of his eleven-syllable stanzas and summed up:
“Sue me, Pedro, in a tight bag / Missing coin he claims / With wet barber hands.”
But there was no lack of money, just a decent hand could not reach into the pocket and spend on a haircut the money raised to promote a humanitarian and necessary war.
Martí was more than an apostle, a reckless fighter who, as a teenager, was put on trial for writing a letter of disapproval to the apostate Carlos de Castro y de Castro, a student of his teacher Rafael Maria de Mendive, for having entered to serve in the Spanish army. .
“This letter was written by me and only me,” he said before the court of inquiry and was sentenced to six years in prison with forced labor in the quarries of San Lazaro: the shackles tore his ankle, but not his libertarian spirit, while for with the bars he asked his mother to send him money for coffee: “Dad gave me 5 or 6 rupees on Monday. I gave 2 or 3 alms and borrowed 2.”
From that trance in prison I came out in the tenth part:
From the bottom of the quarry / With old Nikolai / he took out stones and was more / stockier than he was. Firmly set his flag / between cricket and karlancas / That’s why between two barbarians / Every day on May 19 / Cauto moves him / Dream of white roses.
After being deported to Spain at 14 months old, he stood on the podium and made a patriotic speech, and when he left, one of his ill-wishers approached him and said:
“Why didn’t you say everything you said here today!?”
And Marty, without flinching, replied: “It is by saying it there, it is because I am here.”
In the so-called Fruitful Truce, cataloged as a dissident for disagreeing with the so-called war of the generals, Antonio Zambrano hinted in a speech, squinting at him, that those who do not support this war should wear skirts. Marty told Zambrano that he was such a man that he could barely fit into the pants he was wearing. “I’ll prove it here or anywhere!”
The poet Juana de Ibarburu said that Martí had a great power of attraction to women, because, not being handsome, he had fiery eyes and an invisible halo that touched the sensitive female nerves.
And dona de las Americas added: “His perfect kindness saved him from being a Don Juan, his genius and his sense of the freedom of human rights, from being a conqueror of any kind.”
With this gift, he conquered the poet Rosario de la Peña between letters and love poems, but without suicide, like the poet Acuña; and applauded Carolina Otero, a Spanish dancer, for removing the Spanish flag from the entrance to her show and then immortalizing her in rhyme by seeing her brandish her white coat, aided by harmonious cashmere.
It is a great honor for me to speak today on behalf of Roberto Cornelio Ferguson’s companion, a man who, as a Cardiocentro surgeon, is restoring the heart of Cuban television and, against all odds, continues to uphold the image of Cubans at home and abroad. Isla. I speak for Hector José Ochoa, the cameraman who filmed the Spartan heroism of the fighters under the bullets of Playa Giron and recorded the smile of the militia in honor of triumph and the tear of pain in memory of a fallen comrade. Two years later, he used his daring masculinity to frame, between wind and rain, the vicissitudes of Cyclone Flora.
I’m visiting in the neighborhood with my friend Marina Menendez Quintero, who brings us, by invitation, the literary-journalistic blood of her father, Elio, while she displays her proverbial and beautiful pen, designed to distinguish love from banners of beauty. I went over to the side of my brother Juvenal Balan and I remember what we experienced in Angola due to the early loss of our comrade Juan Bacalhao Padron, and when we had the honor of seeing a Cuban soldier, under the whistle of howitzers, build a small wooden truck to give an Angolan child for dawn.
Cuban press today Marti and Fidelista are in search of new horizons, with the goal of more communication with people and their daily activities. There is talk of new communication laws, of public and media agendas, of striving to get ahead of the Cuban in his daily walk, listen to his feelings and listen to the ground, as real sappers do.
Let me today remember my mother, a poor peasant woman who, when the northern winds blowing from the coast of Isabela de Sagua penetrated the cracks of the hut and tried to put out the wick of the lamp, protected the small light with her body, which, by the way, burned his skin more than once .
That is why I say today that the spark of the Revolution must be cherished in body and soul, as my mother did, and if the impulses increase, it would be very useful to ask for the voice of the child Lino Figueredo and call the rebellious wind to meet:
Marty!, Marty!, Marty!
* Words of thanks from the day before, during the Cuban Press Day ceremony, on behalf of the five professionals who received the José Martí National Journalism Award in 2023 for their life’s work.
Source: Juventud Rebelde