Sunday, January 18, 2015

What The New York Times Said About José Martí When He Died

[As we await the publication of Fidel Castro's obituary in The New York Times, already written by Anthony De Palma, it is well to remember what The Times had to say on the occasion of José Martí's death in 1895. By way of contrast, we reproduce also Charles A. Dana's tribute in The New York Sun].

Published in The New-York Times, June 5, 1895

The news of the death of José Martí, the so-called president of the Cuban Republic,  has caused a real sensation. Martí was the soul of the revolution. He had initiated and prepared it, in spite of the little aid that he could find in Cuba every time he had attempted to create a revolutionary movement. Naturally, his death gives hope that the war will soon be ended. Martí was not a fearful rebel, nor was he one of the exceptional men who may overturn a country by force of talent. A commonplace poet and writer, a prolix orator of diffuse style, he had written and talked so much that he had obtained a reputation among the Separatists. These, lacking a chief having any prestige at all, gave him their money.

It would be unjust to deny that he had remarkable tenacity, activity, and perseverance. Perhaps he was also a man of conviction, as his friends assure. But he must be severely judged. To put into turbulence a country which asked nothing more than peace and work, to expose it to a ferocious race, thinking always of revenge against the whites, to light the fires of civil war, pillage under the pretext of "Cuba libre," and put obstacles in the way of reforms which had been demanded for years, are not acts that claim indulgence.

However, there are men more guilty than he was, and more deserving of public censure. They were paid by him or they expected to gain something if he could be victorious. To sustain the revolution he had to recourse to all sorts of means; lies, false news, calumny. The end of Martí is the beginning of the end... The war will be hereafter conducted by negroes only, and bandits.


Editorial published in The New York Sun, May 23 1895

We learn with poignant sorrow of the death in battle of José Martí, the well known leader of Cuban revolutionists. We knew him long and well, and esteemed him profoundly. For a protracted period, beginning twenty odd years ago, he was employed as a contributor of The Sun, writing of subjects and questions of the fine arts. In these things his learning was solid and extensive, and his ideas and conclusions were original and brilliant. He was a man of genius, of imagination, of hope, and of courage, one of those descendants of the Spanish race whose American birth and instincts seemed to have added to the revolutionary tincture which all modern Spanish inherit. His heart was warm and affectionate, his opinions ardent and aspiring, and he died as such a man might wish to die, battling for liberty and democracy. Of such heroes there are not too many in the world, and his warlike grave testifies that, even in positive and material age, there are spirits that can give all for their principles without thinking of any selfish return for themselves.

Honor to the memory of José Martí, and peace to his manly and generous soul!


Vana said...


What a mean spirited piece the York times wrote of the Apostle, I see they haven't changed for the better, yet the New York Sun honored his memory as the generous soul he really was, a man who gave his all for love of country and fellowman.

We shall soon read in the NY Times about the glorious send off they'll give the murderer and souless man from Biran.

Manuel A.Tellechea said...


When Kim Il-Sung died, the entire nation seemed in a paroxysm of grief. Shrieks, wailing, uncontrollable movements, pulling of hair, expressions forlorn and pitiful. Everything except tears. Whether this was because the dehydrated and hungry cannot easily produce tears, or because North Koreans by common assent withheld this surest token of grief from one who did not deserve it, to spare their own dignity and alert the world to their real feelings about the deceased, it is impossible to know. In Cuba, too, when Fidel at last is allowed to die -- that is, pronounced officially dead -- you will see a similar phenomenon; but as our people are not as inscrutable to us as are the North Koreans, we shall be able to tell with no difficulty whether such grief is real or feigned or such a spectacle staged or spontaneous. In truth, we can already answer that question; but it will be a satisfaction for us to see with our own the eyes what we have always known in spite of the world's selective blindness.

Christian C. said...

In a similar display of American condescension toward Cuba, so-called journalist Andrea Mitchell referred to the Cuban opposition members who met with US diplomats as "so-called dissidents"

(Apparently I'm the only one who watches MSNBC and noticed this slight)

Manuel A.Tellechea said...


I watch MNBC from time to time myself, and have even left comments on their website. José Díaz-Balart, Congressman Lincoln Díaz-Balart's other younger brother, works there as an anchorman. It's a joy to watch him trying to fit in. Uncle Fidel must be very proud (in fact he said as much in an interview once).

Yes, Andrea made another priceless comment on the same plane as calling Cuba this "so-called island" or Raúl this "so-called dictator" (wait, the MSN has never referred to either Castro as a "dictator").

I suppose that these "so-called dissidents" are jailed in "so-called prisons" and assaulted by "so-called rapid response brigades."

It would appear that, as far as liberals are concerned, it is no longer enough to be persecuted or prosecuted by Castro as a dissident or to adopted by international human rights organizations as a dissident: to be a real dissident (as opposed to a "so-called dissident") you must support the resumption of the diplomatic relations and the lifting of the embargo.

On the other hand, liberals can no longer accuse these "so-called dissidents" of being in the pockets of the administration, since by denouncing Obama's initiatives they have proven their independence.

Click here to read the MNBC report cited by Christian.

Christian C. said...

Not to mention she blew a rare opportunity to hold a high-ranking member of Cuba's political elite accountable with her fawning, softball line of questioning (Vidal didn't give any other interviews). It was as if she was catching up with an old girlfriend.

Those so-called dissidents Mitchell referred to risk their lives for the right to question their leaders, a right she clearly takes for granted.

This is only surpassed by that one time Barbara Walters fellated Fidel and called it journalism.

Manuel A.Tellechea said...


Jacobson and Vidal (or should that be Vidal and Jacobson, since clearly the Cuban calls the shots) are probably old friends from the days that Vidal and her husband were posted at the Cuban Interests Section, in Washington, D.C. before they were expelled as spies.

And Baba Wawa must be really good at it, too. Castro made her a "personal gift" of the Tiffany lamps that hung at the old Presidential Palace. The presidential china, btw, she gave to Madame Mitterand.