Carlos Manuel de Céspedes, the Father of the Homeland

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Carlos Manuel de Céspedes y del Castillo, the Father of the Homeland, freed his salves and abandoned his properties in his farm La Demajagua to call for the war for the independence of Cuba, against the Spanish colonialism.

On October 6, 1868, at the Rosario sugar mill, Céspedes was elected maximum leader of the armed uprising, and it was agreed to begin the armed struggle on October 14, 1868.

However, upon learning that on the 8th, the military governor of Bayamo had ordered the arrest of the main conspirators and their leader, the plans were advanced and it was ordered to take up arms and concentrate in his La Demajagua sugar mill, during the night of the 9th.

His political, ethical, moral and revolutionary ideas, and those of the men who would accompany him in the struggle, were reflected in the minutes of that meeting, and they were taken up again in the Manifesto that was made known in La Demajagua on October 10, 1868 with the revolutionary outbreak, where the beginning of a just, anti-colonial and anti-slavery war was announced that broke with the ideas of reformists, annexionists and autonomists.

Proclaiming the beginning of the armed struggle as the main way to obtain independence with the resources of internal forces, without the presence of foreign troops, and with the purpose of eliminating slavery, constitutes on the strategic plane, without a doubt, the most significant contribution of the political-military thought of Carlos Manuel de Céspedes.

In Bayamo the military form of government was instituted, homologating the supreme command of the provisional revolutionary government, with the maximum authority of the Island.

Céspedes, first President of the Republic in Arms

On April 12, 1869, Céspedes took over the presidency of the Republic in Arms. He held this position until October 27, 1873, when due to internal contradictions in the House of Representatives, caudillismo and regionalism of some leaders, he was dismissed in the Bijagual camp.  Then he was persecuted by Spanish troops, until he died in unequal combat at the hands of the Spanish sergeant Felipe González Ferrer, in San Lorenzo, La Sierra Maestra.

The war initiated by Carlos Manuel de Céspedes would conclude with the Zanjón Pact, not because of the victory of Spanish weapons, but because – as José Martí pointed out – the Cubans dropped their sword. With the deposition and death of Céspedes, the conflict began to decline politically. However, the Great War cleared the way for the Necessary War to give continuity to the thought and action of the Father of the Homeland.

Jorge Luis Lora Moran

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