Morality, Justice and Freedom in the life of José Martí

Martí, a living presence in these times

José Martí is the most universal man of all Cubans, to whom we pay a well-deserved tribute this May 19, on the 129th anniversary of his death in combat.

The Apostle of Cuban independence covered, in his life, a wide range of activities in which he shone with his acute certainty in dealing with each one of them. In his redemptive project he intertwined three basic ideas: morality, justice and freedom.

The Cuban hero lived convinced that no human work can be brought to a happy conclusion, much less endure, if it is not based on solid moral principles and values. That explains why moral preaching has been present in his practical political and literary work. He lived and died as the great ones know how to do, leaving us a life full of teachings and examples, and everything he wrote is bathed in moral concerns in which his constant concern for the value of virtue and human perfection is evident.

Marti’s emancipation project was also presided over by another basic idea: that of justice. Martí conceived the need for the war of liberation as an act of justice aimed at vindicating the right of his people to be independent, and as the beginning of a program of broad social transformations that would make the rights of his compatriots to a better and more dignified life a reality, that is, to the realization of what today we would call three generations of human rights: civil and political; economic, social and cultural; and the development of peoples.

On the other hand, Martí raises the need for full freedom. And he emphasizes that the art of freedom consists in putting selfishness at the service of virtue, so it is the duty of the free man to help the freedom of others. And not to help free those who suffer domination is to fail in justice, the supreme moral virtue.

In the words of our national hero, “Every man of justice and honor fights for freedom wherever he sees it offended, because it is to fight for his integrity as a man; and he who sees freedom offended and does not fight for it, or help those who offend it, is not a whole man”.

José Martí does not conceive true freedom without social justice, without the equal right of men to the benefits of freedom. And in this regard Martí says: “We love freedom, because in it we see the truth. We will die for true freedom; not for the freedom that serves as a pretext to keep some men in excessive enjoyment, and others in unnecessary pain.

Martí continues to be the redeeming light for all Cubans, and today his ideas on morality, justice and freedom are more relevant than ever. His work continues as the necessary guide to defend the freedom achieved and to fight for the constant human improvement.

Translated with (free version)

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