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A poet and a journalist, José Martí spent his short life fighting for Cuban independence. He died in 1895 during a failed attempt to win freedom for Cuba.
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In addition to writing, Martí worked as a diplomat for several Latin American countries. He served as a consul for Uruguay, Paraguay and Argentina. However, he never forgot about Cuba during his time abroad. Traveling to different cities, Martí developed ties with other Cubans living in exile in the United States.
In 1892, Martí became a delegate of the Cuban Revolutionary Party. He worked hard on plans for a revolution in his native country. Among his ideas for a new Cuban government,
Martí sought to prevent any one class or group from taking total control of the country. He also wanted to overthrow the existing leadership quickly, to prevent the United States from intervening in the matter. While he admired much about the United States, Martí had concerns that Cuba's northern neighbor would try to take over the island.
To free Cuba, Martí joined forces with two nationalist generals from the Ten Years' War, Máximo Gómez and Antonio Maceo. He raised funds from Cuban exiles and political organizations to support their efforts. On January 31, 1895, Martí left New York City to make his way to Cuba. He and his fellow nationalist supporters arrived in Cuba on April 11 and began the fight for independence.
Unfortunately for him, Martí did not last long on the battlefield. He died on May 19 during some fighting in Dos Rios. After his death, his compatriots continued their war against the Spanish, but the country did not achieve its independence until years later.
Through his life and writings, Martí served as an inspiration for revolutionaries around the world. Cuban leader Fidel Castro has called him an important influence on his own revolution in Cuba decades later. Although Martí once was sent into exile for his political activities, he is now considered a national hero in Cuba.
Martí married Carmen Zayas Bazán in 1877. The two met while Martí was in Mexico. The couple had a son together, named José.
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