January 28, 2024
171st Anniversary of Birth of José Martí
Martí Vive: Celebratory Events
Across Cuba and elsewhere, events are taking place to celebrate the life and work of José Martí on the 171st anniversary of his birth. Born on January 28, 1853 in Havana, Cuba, Martí was a writer, poet, philosopher, patriot and fighter for the birth and independence of the Cuban nation. His name is synonymous with the struggle of the Cuban people to defend the high road of civilization, the Cuban Revolution, Cuba’s independence and the struggle to build a society in the service of the well-being of the people.
On January 27, in the Plaza de la Revolución in Havana and in cities and towns across Cuba, children and youth took over the streets to pay tribute to José Martí and to confirm his legacy lives on in them. Many of the children wore historical dress from Martí’s time.
Speaking to the day’s events Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez posted on X, “This morning the Cuban squares were filled with children in a beautiful tribute to Martí. Tonight we are going with the young people to the Stairs of the University of Havana. Martí guides and will continue to guide the soul of the nation.”
The evening event saw the re-enactment by today’s youth of the traditional March of the Torches, which has taken place for 71 years since the 100th anniversary of Martí’s birth in 1953. The March of the Torches was initiated that year as a protest against the crimes of dictator Fulgencio Batista, who had seized power the year before through a coup d’état. The newspaper Juventud Rebelde reports that members of the country’s youth and student organizations will light the torches “with the same fire that the Centennial Generation, led by Fidel Castro, [did] and illuminated the dignified future of Cuba.” It states further that “The colourful and multitudinous parade” continues to [express the] fervour, passion, commitment and unity of a people determined to defend their sovereignty, independence and the conquests of the Revolution.”
During the week leading up to Martí’s birth anniversary many other programs took place in schools and institutions. An exhibition was organized in Holguín, as it is annually, by the Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba in honour of the occasion. The exhibit highlights Martí’s life and work through brushes, canvases, photographic lenses and sculptures. In Havana an exhibit “Martí in Us” opens January 28.
Internationally, tributes were organized in other countries of Latin America including Venezuela and Ecuador, as well as in many other countries. In Beijing, on January 26, a floral tribute was made at the Jintai Art Museum in front of Martí’s sculpture by Cubans living there, along with Cuban diplomats and Chinese friends of Cuba.
(Photos: Estudios Revolución, Partido PCC, Juventud Rebelde, A.A. Garcia, R. Polanco F, Ralmero, A. Becerra, Presidencia Cuba)