Santiago de Cuba. —Mariana Grajales was raised overher woman condition and her time. She not only gave birth and raised a troop of heroes, who gave their life for thefreedom of the Motherland; but also she has becomethe sublime example of those human beings who are consistent with their ideas. Thus, Mariana Grajales Cuello, the Mother of the Maceo, unwittingly stood up from the virtue of the home that she had formed with firmness and tenderness, or from the redeeming jungle, where she devoted her life to fight, with motherly love and pride of patriot,for the independence of Cuba, as an imperishable symbol of rebellion and female consecration.
Mariana was born on July 12, 1815 in Santiago de Cuba and she was baptized in the St. Thomas Apostlechurch. She learned about values and moral principles, which later she will pass on to their children, from her parents, the Dominican JoséGrajalesMatos and Teresa CuelloZayasfrom Santiago de Cuba.
She lived immersed in the suffering of seeing her homelandoppressed since she was very young. She lived in the time of an inhume slaving repression, which were forging her love for freedom and even her status of transgressive woman, capable to stand up in the defense of a lifeproject that will transformher reality.
At the age of 16, that beautiful and poised mulatto womanmarried for the first time with free brownFructuosoRegüeiferos, with whom she had three children. When years later he disappeared from her life, she faced up the condition of being the head of her house in a precarious and unstable environment. Then, she assumed, overcoming the prejudices of her time,a second relationfrom which Justo Germánwas born, being registered as her natural son.
She was a young woman, who gathered energy, courage and maternal tenderness to facealone the raising of four children, when she met and decided to join consensually MarcosMaceo. And they together set up a family of ten children and a home full of harmony and children, who regardless of their paternal origins, received as inheritance a cluster of values that accompany them throughout life.
When the best defenders of Cuba stood up for its dignity in the battlefields, she, at the age of 53, went to the jungle carrying with her their youngestchildren, her daughter-in-law Maria Cabrales and other relatives, to break the myth that stablished that men were created for public spaces and women to be at home.
Then, the comfort of the farm was replaced by life in the open and the constant movement throughout the insurgent territory. Those who knew hercould say that home was the Homeland hospital, where a woundwas healed or patientscould find the affection of the absent mother and the encouragement to go on ...
Thus, she was on a war footing during ten long years of bloody fight, where she had to face up the loss of her husband Marcos and some of her children, who died in combat. Mariana showed entire dedication to a loving cause and she gave the best example through her teaching work, where she straightened out her maternal feeling conducted throughout so firm roads that she reached the summit of love.
Like many patriots, she went into exilein 1878. After making the corresponding procedures for the recovery of seized properties, she was established in Kingston, Jamaica, where she suffered the rigor of poverty and the Spanish surveillance intercepted close correspondence with her children who were in prison.
She lived in Jamaica until her death occurred on November 27, 1893. Though she was besieged by vicissitudes, that venerable woman was always wearing a cleandress, and her house was always a meeting place for Cubans in the exile. She was strength enough to contribute, together with her daughters and daughters-in-law,to the foundation of patriotic associations organized in Jamaica, from that humble and cheerful little house, where she still dreamed about the independence of Cuba, while she was missed the air of her country.
Andshe is in history, as the Apostlesaid: Smiling at the end of life, surrounded by men who fought for their country and leading her grandchildren to fight ... Her example transcends and it’s the best legacy for current Cuban women.