José Martí

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According to the reading José Martí: An Introduction, what was his greatest political achievement?

According to José Martí: An Introduction, the greatest political achievement of José Martí was laying the groundwork for a future Cuba that could be free and just.

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The cause that propelled José Martí was that he wanted to sever Cuba from Spain and any other Western power that might treat it as a colony. Not only did he try to turn Cuba into an autonomous republic, but he aimed to transform how people would be seen and treated in the new nation.

“Martí’s goal was not merely the liberation of Cuba but the liberation of all bodies that would make up a new republic,” writes Montero. In a sense, Martí wanted to build a Cuba where its citizens were no longer persecuted due to categories like race and gender. What Martí sought to achieve was a democratic Cuba without oppression.

While Martí would not see Cuba turn into a just nation in his lifetime, Montero believes that Marti’s political writings and actions helped “lay the foundation for such a republic.” Martí died fighting Spanish soldiers in 1895. Three years later, the United States would intervene in the war and exert its influence in Cuba. In 1902, Cuba became, in the words of Montero, a “lame republic.” The United States recognized its independence. In reality, Cuba functioned as an American colony, with those in charge acting according to the wishes of America.

As Cubans continued to fight for their proper independence, Martí remained a central figure. He was sometimes depicted as an angelic figure with a “saintly halo” around his head. In Montero’s review of Martí’s life, it seems like his greatest political achievement was showing future Cubans that their country was worth fighting for.

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