Bust of Jose Marti

 

Sitting in the center of the Cuban Memorial Plaza is a bust of Jose Marti. Marti is considered the national hero of Cuba for dedicating his life to the fight for Cuban independence. War can be fought in many ways and Jose Marti fought his war with a pen. He was a great journalist, poet, diplomat, and at the end of his life, a general.

 

In his younger years, Jose Marti was arrested for treason for composing one of his many political writings. At 16 years old he was thrown into a Cuban national jail for 6 years. His mother and father tried everything possible to free the poor young man, but no amount of money or prayers would help him to get out.

 

Eventually, Marti became severely ill from all of the deep lacerations that he had from the shackles that were denying him his freedom. He was eventually sent out of Cuba into nearby Spain, so that his words could not be heard in the country anymore.

bust of jose marti

 

While in Spain, Marti studied law and continued to speak to anyone that would listen to him about the wrongs being done in Cuba.

He then traveled to France where he spent some time trying to find a way back into his home country. In 1877, he finally slipped back into

Cuba under an assumed name. Marti took a wife in Havana and they had a son about a year later.

 

Not being able to hold his anger inside regarding the wrong doings going on around him, he again was arrested and sent back to Spain.Around 1881 he arrived in the States. He served as a consular in New York City as he planned for a revolution with his fellow exiled Cubans.

 

In 1895 he would step foot in his homeland Cuba for the last time. In April of that year, Marti arrived with a small group of other exiled Cubans.

They met up with the famous General Gomez and plans for war were discussed.

 

The following month at the Battle of Dos Rios, the Spanish had a stronghold set up in the area and there was no where to go. General Gomez ordered his men to disengage and to retreat. Marti, standing by himself, grabbed hold of a courier rider as he went by and told him, “Let’s charge!”The rest of the story as they say is history, but none of those events has ever been forgotten in the eyes of the Cuban community.

 

Underneath the bust of Jose Marti (located at the Cuban Memorial Plaza) is written, "THE CUBAN LIBERTY APOSTLE WISHED TO OFFER TO THE PEOPLE OF KEY WEST WHAT WAS LEFT OF HIS HEART. THIS MEMORIAL PERPETUATES HIS DESIRE."