Cuban anthem to Jose Marti heard all over Havana
Marti's writing got him in serious trouble for the first time in 1869 when he wrote passionately about his support of the rebels during the Ten Years’ War. Cuban landowners were seeking independence from Spain and wanted to free the slaves. Marti, who was only 16 at the time, was convicted of treason and sedition and sentenced to six years’ labor. His parents' intervened and got his sentence reduced after a year, but he was exiled to Spain. The irons he was held in scarred his legs for the rest of his life.
Statues of Marti are all over Havana, including in the center of a leafy square opposite the hotel where I stayed the first two nights. The entire neighborhood dates from the era in which Marti lived and on the May 19 anniversary of his death in 1895 bouquets of flowers emerged from nowhere around the base of that statue. Havana’s main airport is the José Martí International Airport, his Jan. 28 birthday still is celebrated and various postage stamps featuring Martí have been issued over the years Cuban exiles in Miami and the Castro regime in Cuba even argue over his “support:” both sides claim that if Martí were alive today he would support their side of the long-running feud. Click above to hear it now as sung from a rooftop at an outdoor restaurant in Havana.