Not by chance the news brought sadness to our souls, in some Latin American countries the common people have paid him tribute in front of sculptures of Marti. Unmistakably the peoples understood from the beginning that nowhere else the Commander of Cuba is living more than in our Apostle.
Long ago, Fidel stated clearly that he owed José Marti his patriotic feelings and the profound concept that Homeland is Humanity. “The audacity, the beauty, the value and the ethics of his thinking helped me become what I think I am: a revolutionary”, respectfully and humbly stated the Leader of the Revolution.
The guide we are saying good bye to was never a passive disciple of Marti. In March 1949, when US marines desecrated the National Hero’s sculpture in Havana’s Central Park, the wave of indignation arising in the people had a man riding on the crest: Fidel Castro who led the outcry in front of the omnipotent US embassy.
The preparation of the youth willing to attack strongholds in Santiago and Bayamo, on July 26, 1953, was inspired by José Marti’s ideas, as well as the tenets put forward in the basis of the Cuban Revolutionary Party and the Montecristi Manifest and the continuous drops of light left by the Hero throughout his life like a road to victory.
With the Apostle’s legacy, his anti-imperialist stance, his unconditional devotion to the freedom of the homeland and the vision that the need and the possibility of building a future of struggle and progress through unity is rooted only in the masses, the Generation of the Centenary, led by Fidel paved the way for a future of justice and progress.
Such a patriotic character was depicted –accidentally? - in a 1953 picture, shortly before Fidel led the attack on the Moncada barracks: in the Santiago bivouac Fidel was photographed standing next to a portrait of Marti. Seeing them together served us to understand better his words of those days: “I brought the Maestro’s doctrines in my heart”. After all, just a look at the lives of both is enough to verify this: they were and they are one man with two faces.
For our freedom, for the advance of Cuba and for the balance of the world, Martí left a teaching that no one else assumed as clearly as Fidel Castro and no one else brought them to fruition better than him. As our top pro-independence leaders Marti and Fidel bore the same patriotic genes of Céspedes, that “father of all Cubans” who produced the best soldier-children for his army.
Like the National Hero, Fidel took the humbler’s side in his early childhood. The boy who used to leave home and spent time with very poor Haitians became the head of state who rescued justice for the farmers. His brother Ramón retold it with his own words: Don Ángel wanted a lawyer to protect his interests of landowner and had the leader who signed the Agrarian Reform. Since in an unfairly flat world, Fidel was always a good paradox.
Fidel and Marti have in common the rare gift to multiply forces. Those seven rifles he gathered with Raúl in Cinco Palmas and made him say “Now we can win this war!” reminded of the confidence of Marti when he expressed “great happiness” after his landing next to Máximo Gómez and the other four men at Playita de Cajobabo, amid rough weather. The symbol was crowned by Fidel’s visit to that site on April 11, 1995, a century later: like a green mountain against the dark night, the Commander waved the same flag for which Martí arrived.
Both were creators and party leaders, both journeyed thousands of kilometers in exile, with paltry amounts of money, collecting funds, weapons and willingness to organize a Revolution which still remains the same. And both warned that only its builders –the Cubans- are able to bring it down.
Fidel was more than a mere follower of Marti. In addition to the readings of books in his childhood or in his confinement, he was always accompanied by books from the Apostle whose lines he highlighted, his life was creative and enriching, to the point of making a bridge between Marti’s dreams and the reality. Although we all felt there was a similar question like that he made Camilo: “Am I right Maestro?”
Both left for Cuba journalism and reflection, touching letters, speech which never go out-of-date, convinced followers, complete works and lots of examples. And in twice the time of Marti’s life, Fidel could materialize that vindication of Cuba the indignant and acute Maestro made against the doubters about our people.
They had no room for hate since they understood that independence is not achieved with low passions. Neither the Spanish nor the Americans had personal enemies in one or in the other. Their words, like their visions, were aimed at the roots.
Fidel Castro was the one who set in motion Marti’s Republic with all and for the good of all, with the full dignity of man at the core. The guide always talked about Marti more than about himself and venerated together with the people the immense gallery of heroes of this small land.
He is the leader who did not find for his column, the first in the Sierra Maestra, a better name than José Marti. The one who after much battle for Cuba, is tactically moving his headquarters to Santa Ifigenia in another caravan to watch over Cuba, near the mountains, at the Maestro’s side.