Front Door to Cuba

A Terrible Blow...

Excerpt from "Cuba: A Short History"
Drawn from the Cambridge History of Latin America
Edited by Leslie Bethell, Cambridge University Press
from chapter 2, page 29

A man of deep democratic conviction, Martí appealed to Cubans of all races and classes to fight for an economically and politically independent Republic which would guarantee justice and equality not only to all Cubans but even to Spaniards who decided to stay in the island. Fearing that a long war would provoke the rise of military caudillos, the destruction of Cuban wealth, and intervention by the USA, Martí planned a struggle which differed from the Ten Years' War. A mass rebellion was to occur simultaneously in every region of the island with sufficient force to guarantee a quick victory. Supported by some rich Cubans and the majority of Cuban tobacco workers in Florida, Martí laboriously gathered as much money as he could and worked feverishly to assemble supplies for the initial blow. In January 1895 military equipment for three expeditions was gathered at the port of Fernandina in Florida. Suddenly, on 14 January, the American authorities confiscated the ships and their materiel.


This disaster drastically altered Martí's project and altered the Spanish authorities to the magnitude of the conspiracy. To postpone the date for the insurrection would have endangered all those in Cuba committed to the rebellion. After a last desperate effort to obtain new supplies, Martí set the date for the rebellion and departed for the Dominican Republic in order to join Máximo Gómez.

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