Passage to War: A Missing Chapter in the Life of a Cuban Legend- Jose Marti's Journey to Join the Cuban Revolution of 1895

Show simple item record Braun, Paul F. 2011-05-05T17:35:32Z 2011-05-05T17:35:32Z September 2002 2011-05-05
dc.identifier.other e97529ed-9d0c-4b1c-9467-d3da34e1de30
dc.description.abstract Jose Martí compels historical interest for various reasons. Foremost, Cubans recognize Martí as the "Apostle" of Independence. In 1895 he died in combat at the age of forty-two. During his short lifetime, Martí contributed immensely to the corpus of Latin American literature and political thought. However, Martí is primarily honored for single-handedly organizing the revolution in which he perished. Martí's passage to war, speaking geographically from where he began to where he landed, should have been a journey of no great challenge. It deserved no more press than it received. But as a snapshot in Martí’s life his eleven-day journey appears intriguingly under-developed. Historians routinely cite Martí’s departure from Montecristi, Dominican Republic, on 1 April 1895, and his eventual arrival in Cuba on 11 April 1895, as if, quite honestly, they have never looked at a map. From either Inagua or Hispaniola (islands in the Caribbean), Martí’s destination, Cuba, was but a mere forty-six miles. Indeed, concerning his journey, history reflects only brief descriptions about Martí overcoming improbable odds or, even less than that, a wisp of dated facts. Therein lies a story. The methodology for telling this story rests on primary sources. The story, through comparative analysis, challenges and seeks to clarify secondary sources. Martí’s untold story is, of course, multidimensional. Therefore, there are chapters about Martí’s life; Cuba's revolutionary history; the United States' one-sided posture toward Cuba (as early as the first decade during the nineteenth century); Martí’s compatriots; Spanish rule; and, yachts and ships and starting and stopping. It is an exciting and bizarre story and one with a happy ending. It is also true. And, it is a tale from which a legend emerged. What originally attracted my interest in Martí’s story arises from professional experiences as a United States' Licensed Ship Captain (Master of one hundred gross tons, sailing and towing endorsements, since 1991). Personal offshore-sea experiences happen to include all the specific areas referenced in the primary and secondary sources covering Martí’s passage (including Cuba). In historical context Martí’s sea-wise hurdles-- concerning port of departure to port of arrival--seemed exaggerated. Therein existed the seed from which grew the logical conclusion that there was more to the story than initially reported. Furthermore, those readings piqued my curiosity because of their authors’ off-handed depiction of a captain's implicit loyalty to ship and crew in contrast with transporting armed insurgents into dangerous situations. For not only was the vessel and crew at risk from the "friendly" governments into whose territories they sailed, but also anxiety had to abound surrounding the onboard presence of armed insurgents. In addition to my experiences at sea, there are also my rather unique experiences from the opposite side from revolution--having been a two-term elected city commissioner in Dunedin, Florida (1987-1992). Whereby, in the small context that it was, I learned to have special appreciation for civil decorum in the midst of change. In addition to those real life experiences are also those from owning and operating a multinational business (1979-1991). Aside from Martí’s story, which begs to be told, is that my qualifications impelled me to be the one to attempt it. On the one hand, Martí’s story satisfies thesis requirements for a Master's Degree in History. But, I also bring to the subject the talent to tell a good story. This I credit to a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English from Indiana University (Bloomington, 1976). Important also is a Master's Degree in Business Administration from the University of South Florida (Tampa, 1997). The former polishes my palate for appreciating and telling the story while the latter bears upon the material and theoretical understanding of what motivates societies. The title to this story did not develop in a vacuum. On 25 March 1889, Martí’s letter to the editor of the New York Evening Post defended Cuban patriots of the Ten Years' War (1868-1878). His letter delineated specifically the Cuban patriots' resolve, which included examples of them overcoming nearly unbearable hardships. Among the examples rested especially Cubans’ resolve to engage war in the first place with Spain, an overwhelming foe. Martí, in response to “weak Cuban character,” disdainfully expressed to the editor that the patriots "knew in one day how to rise against a cruel government, to pay their passages to the seat of war with the pawning of their watches and trinkets." With that same kind of fervent resolve--a feeling drawn from the few historical snippets of his passage to war--Jose Martí persisted. Thesis or not, Martí’s story has merit. He was a great American. en_US
dc.language.iso en_US en_US
dc.title Passage to War: A Missing Chapter in the Life of a Cuban Legend- Jose Marti's Journey to Join the Cuban Revolution of 1895 en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US M.A.
dc.description.major History

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