Blogs > Liberty and Power > José Martí

Jan 28, 2006 5:11 am

José Martí

Like bones to the human body, the axle to the wheel, the wing to the bird, and the air to the wing, so is liberty the essence of life. Whatever is done without it is imperfect.--José Martí
José Martí (1/28/1853-5/19/1895), was born in Havana, Cuba. Libertarian, revolutionary, poet, essayist and journalist, he remains the symbol of Cuba's struggle for independence, with few comparable to him. The popular song"Guantanamera" is based on a poem by Martí, HisManifesto of Montecristi describes Cuba as a completely independent republic, free from economic or military control by any outside source. He foresaw an end to Cuba's one-crop economy and U.S. domination, an end to racial discrimination, the embrace of Cuba's African population and outlined what was to be the policy for Cuba's war of independence:
1. the war was to be waged by blacks and whites alike;
2. participation of all blacks was crucial for victory;
3. Spaniards who did not object to the war effort should be spared;
4. private rural properties should not be damaged; and
5. the revolution should bring new economic life to Cuba.
Always the poet, his elegant comments flow with the vision of freedom:
No man has any special right because he belongs to any specific race; just by saying the word man, we have already said all the rights.
Perhaps the enemies of liberty are such only because they judge it by its loud voice. If they knew its charms, the dignity that accompanies it, how much a free man feels like a king, the perpetual inner light that is produced by decorous self-awareness and realization, perhaps there would be no greater friends of freedom than those who are its worst enemies.
Just a thought.
Just Ken
CLASSical Liberalism
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More Comments:

Kenneth R. Gregg - 1/29/2006

Marti, I think, would be a prominent hispanic libertarian today were he alive today, as he was then, and would be in line with our observations of the use (and misuse) of his name.

His comments, and his eloquence, are as valid today as they were over a century ago.

Just a thought.
Just Ken

David T. Beito - 1/28/2006

Excellent article. I wonder what Marti would like of the television network that is named after him.

William Marina - 1/28/2006

My favorite Marti observation comes from the late 1880s, during the many years he was residing in the US, raising money and other support for Cuba. He noted that while the US appeared to be a two-party Republic, the reality was that it was becoming both Plutocratic and Imperialistic. This was, of course, a decade before our massive interventionism from Cuba to the Philippines. It strikes me that his assessment is perhaps more true today than it was over a century ago.

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