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General Antonio Maceo in his military clothes
biography of Antonio Maceo
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Thinking in Antonio Maceo
he.ro(he^r'o)n.[pl heroes(-oz)]. [L. heros ;Gr he`ro`s], 1. In mitology & legend a man of great strength and courage, favored by the gods and in part descendend from them, often regarded as a half-god and worshipped after his dead: as Aeneas and Hector were heroes to the ancients. 2. Any man admired for his courage, nobility or exploits, especially in war: as Washington is a national hero. 3. Any person admired for his qualities or achievements an regarded as an ideal or model. ." Webster's new World dictionary of the American Language. P:681
Wherever you look, wherever country you look at, you can see heroes in their history. War made heroes from people that in other circumstances would be only common people. An historical moment exists, when this kind of people shine with the light of their actions or thinking and enter the pages of the history. They were the examples that were taught to us when we were children and the model of conduct that you must venerate and think of this kind of people that in their moment did what they have to do.
One of these heroes is a Cuban. His name is Antonio Maceo.
When Cuba's first Independence War starts in 1868, Antonio, with his father and four brothers joint the Independence army as a simple soldier. Ten years later he is the most respected of the Cubans soldiers and in the last moment of the war he did an action that put him in the pages of history. Imagine that moment. The war was ten years in Cuba's field. The Cubans made many mistakes. Political mistakes and over all problems that still exists in our days in Latin American nations: ambitions, human miseries, inconsistency. People were tired and confused, the Independence war at that moment was going through a bad moment in the Cuban field. Spain wants to end the war and send their best negotiator. He uses his best weapon: internal division in the Cuban field, and invites all to a sign a Peace Pact, and start making deal with Cuban fighters. Many people, really must of them accepted this Peace without independence, except one. This man was Antonio Maceo. He said that he can't accept the Peace without abolish the slavery, and he said too that ten years of struggle in the battle field is so much to accept that Cuba will not be a free country. This moment is known in Cuba as LA PROTESTA DE BARAGUA. Antonio Maceo and his men made an appointment with the Spanish negotiator to discuss about this issue. The negotiator thought that they want to submit, but Maceo wanted only clarify him, that all he needs is some days for reorganize his men and then go back to the struggle. He said that he didn’t accept a Peace without independence and he will continue in the battlefield until he win or die. This is the moment that put a man in the category of hero. Maceo doesn’t sign the Peace Pact with Spain. Later he left Cuba – because really there are no conditions for continuing the struggle- but he doesn’t surrender. He save the honor of Cuban that have been struggling for ten years, the honor of the ideals for that the Cubans went to a war.
Almost twenty years later, in 1895, when Cubans starts again their Independence War against Spain, Maceo will put in the pages of Cuban history his second sign. Between 1878 and 1895 Cuban's ideals for freedom doesn't stop. Now there is JOSE MARTI -another Cuban hero- who creates a Party for obtain Cuba's Independence and invites at all the old soldiers for a new battle. Maceo accepts and returns to Cuba to conducts the war action known as LA INVASION, when the Independence Army moves the war from the oriental part to the whole island. With an army of about 1,500 men, he struggles against 200,000. He had a battle each three days and in all he defeats the Spanish Army and he crosses the island from one extreme to the other. Then when he is in the other part of the island he had combats very successful against the Spanish army without receives any supply or help for the outside. This action puts him as a genius in military art.
When Maceo had finished LA INVASION he saw that the same conditions that were the cause of Cuban defeat in the first war were coming again in the central and oriental part of the island: ambitions, divisions, insubordination, and when he was moving to solve this problem in the political field was killed in combat.
He died the way the heroes died. Died struggling. Giving to the Cubans and all who want, the example of a person that follows the principles of his ideas, without regards more than fatherland interests.
Today in his birthplace there is a big statue, encircled with big “machetes” –the weapons that Cuban uses in their independence war- this is the last statue of Antonio Maceo, since this statue he invites next generations to struggle for the same ideals he did and shows the way to be free. He said: “…Liberty is conquered with the edge of the machete, it is not asked for; to beg for one’s right is a device of cowards, incapable of exercising such rights.”