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On the 125th anniversary of his death, Marti's legacies to Latin America and the world are more relevant than ever.
May 19 marks the 125th anniversary of the death of Cuba's National Hero, Jose Marti, the man that not only fought for independence but through his work inspired generations of free people in Latin America.
Although Marti was one of the organizers of the Cuban War of Independence, his legacy goes beyond the mere plane of the war. From his youth he ventured into fields such as diplomacy, literature, and journalism, with works that transcend to this day.
He foresaw the threat that the United States represented to America's desire for independence, and expressed his anti-imperialist feelings in many of his writings.
Just before his death, in a letter written to his friend Manuel Mercado, he said: "[...] I am already in danger every day of giving my life for my country and for my duty (...) in order to prevent, by the timely independence of Cuba, the United States from extending its hold across the Antilles and falling with all the greater force on the lands of our America."
The epistle was written on May 18, 1895, in the Dos Rios camp, a day before his fall in combat against the Spanish forces.
In the letter, unfinished by the arrival at the camp of General Bartolome Maso with his troops, Marti stated that "what I have done up to now, and I will do, is for that," referring to his concern about the danger that Washington represented for the region.
The letter has been considered by the scholars of the founder of the Cuban Revolutionary Party as his political testament and in it evidences his strong anti-imperialist character and his opposition to the annexationist currents.
Another of his legacies is anti-racism. (...) Who has seen a black man being beaten and not considered himself forever his debtor? I saw it, I saw it when I was a child, and the shame has not yet died down on my cheeks. I saw it and since then I swore to myself his defense," he wrote.
In one of his best-known essays, Our America, he demonstrated his desire for a united Latin America. Just when many of the speeches emerging from the United States promote hatred and the dismemberment of the continent, his harangue to "walk in a tight group, like silver at the roots of the Andes," became a mantra for all the left-wing movements in the region.