Jose Marti in CELAC

By Jorge Hernández Álvarez

jose-martiHavana (PL) – The historical and universal legacy of Cuban National Hero, Jose Marti, remains valid after 161 years from his birth, in a context where his vision of Latin American integration continues living in what he called Nuestra America (Our America). This mark has a special connotation for 2014 with completion in Havana of the Second Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), a space for regional integration and unity of the people, coinciding with the birthday of the most universal of Cubans.

Marti was born in Havana on January 28, 1853 and in 42 years of life until his death in combat on May 19, 1895 against Spanish colonialism, his most notable mission was a life marked by the sacrifice for the arrival of a free Cuba.

In addition, the Cuban National Hero understood that the role of the emancipation process of the small Caribbean island was crucial for the strategic balance between North and South in the continental geopolitics, and especially for the realization of the major objective: a united Latin America, independent of U.S. imperialism.

That’s why his thought spreads beyond borders with a perspective in favor of Latin America, which a precursor of the integration processes of the area remains valid, as denoted by the success of regional blocs like CELAC, where Marti’s influence has always been present.

For example, in his inaugural speech on December 2, 2011 at the founding summit of the organization in Caracas, the then Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez referred to the notion of Patria Grande (Greater Mother Country), from Marti world view of Nuestra America (Our America), to talk about Latin America and the Caribbean.

Also, on January 28, 2013, when Cuba received the pro tempore presidency of CELAC in Santiago de Chile, President Raul Castro said that appointment was “a recognition of the self-denying struggle of the Cuban people for its independence, paying a special tribute to Jose Marti”, since that day was the 160th anniversary of his birth.

Moreover, the Cuban president stated there the will of his country to promote the consolidation of this mechanism for coordination and integration of Nuestra America (Our America), a regional concept created by Marti that transcends the merely geographic aspect.

Additionally, Raul Castro expressed that the Cuban purpose by leading the CELAC was contributing to build a space of regional sovereignty and promote integration, coordination, cooperation and solidarity in the region, all principles consistent with the Apostle’s ideals in favor of Latin America.


In Cuba, where Marti’s ideals, rescued by the so-called Generation of Centennial under the guidance of Fidel Castro, became the germ of the Revolution triumphant 55 years ago, each January announces a perfect occasion to remember the birth of the National Hero, as well as his work.

In this context, the hero is remembered on the island with various activities such as parades, science events, cultural galas and the warm tribute of thousands of young people who each year, on the night of January 27, stage the traditional March of Torches, to receive and celebrate with joy the birth of the Apostle.

However, the Second Summit of CELAC in Havana gives a significant connotation to the commemorative date with the presence of heads of state and government in order to discuss issues of the common regional bloc that draws together the 33 independent nations of Nuestra America (Our America), and excludes U.S. and Canada.

With respect to this, let Nuestra America (Our America) be understood as that set of countries located from the south of the Rio Grande to Patagonia, with no presence therefore of the “brutal and turbulent North which despises us,” as recognized by Marti.

What historically has been the U.S. policy to the subcontinent was warned more than a century ago by the Cuban National Hero, who contrasted to the imperial hegemony of the North the idea of the Latin American unity, as a necessary path for true independence of the region.

Just about the need for unity of Nuestra America (Our America) against the powerful northern nation, Marti wrote in his newspaper Patria: “in hatcheries the tough and greedy fish, when small fish stand up together, beats water with furious tail, and leaves alone the small ones”.

The people of America are freer and more prosperous as they depart from the United States, noted the Marti from his Latin American vision permeated by his pure anti-imperialism.

In this respect, is also remembered the notion expressed in one of his most brilliant essays: “The trees have to get in line, lest the giant with seven-league boots cannot pass”! (USA).

“It’s time of reckoning, and the united march, we shall walk in close ranks, like silver in the roots of the Andes”, said the Cuban National Hero.

Indeed, together, 161 years after the birth of the Cuban National Hero, regional leaders discussed at this Summit on common challenges for Latin America and the Caribbean, both socially and economically, as part of the required path of Nuestra America (Our America) to true integration.

National Editorial Department of Prensa Latina News Agency