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It was 1960 and in the Folkloric Research Direction of the Central University "Marta Abreu" of Las Villas, a restless, loquacious, sagacious, visionary, laborious as a deeply human man, worked tirelessly in the search, selection and prologue of a future book, which would be, is and will be, a jewel of the orality of the Cuban people: Los Trovadores del Pueblo (The Troubadours of the People). That man was, is, Samuel Feijóo Rodríguez, the Sensible Zarapico, who was bequeathing us an essential work, when it comes to the research of the tenth and its culturists.
At the beginning of the prologue, Feijóo points out: "At the end of the compilation, searching through hundreds of pamphlets, loose leaves, verbal-arduous tradition, cheerful patience, of the first volume of our country troubadours, a singularly bitter question arises from our astonishment before their exquisite decimas: By means of what form of anti-poetic blindness have these varied and wise 'bards', strong and pure centers of the soul of the country, the patriotic heart , been ignored in the compendiums and studies of Cuban literature that our thousands of students read as national culture, 'literary' creation? Why have they not been proudly included in the many literary texts as one of the true victories of our own expression?
We do not have the information about the number of copies that were published that October 10, 1960 in the printing house Ucar, García,
S.A., in the Cuban capital. We do not know the reasons for the edition of only one volume, since we are convinced that Samuel had enough material for a second volume. Suffice it to say that in this, the first and only one, he compiled tens of hundreds of décimas of more than 280 poets, including thirteen more who appear anonymously. A total of 684 pages attest to this. No one, no researcher, had ever delved with his ear close to the earth, ours, theirs, into the soul, into the soul and feelings of the humblest creators of the world.
Samuel arranges, for the better understanding of the readers, the location of the works by epochs, that is to say: from 1900 to 1914; from 1915 to 1935 and from 1936 to 1958. Décimas subject and works, including four-handed ones, are a whole arsenal of incomparable oral value, that like ripe fruits, Samuel gathered, up and down, roads, alleys, villages, plains and hills, in an essential harvest for spiritual nourishment. Hard work at a time when, according to Feijóo himself, poets were published little or almost nothing, with rare exceptions.
And Samuel closes in his prologue: "And what rare centaurs and Greek gods in the Cuban countryside, following the tradition of the old Cuban cultured poets Iturrondo, Plácido, Luaces... The inheritance of the Cucalambé prince of our bards". Metaphysics, religion, political purity, homeland, love, joy, jokes, freshness, pain, frustration, anguish, rebelliousness, walk in these pages written by the people, oblivious to fashions, to aesthetic doctorates, to petulant Frenchified poets, disguised as people, villagers, self-triumphant groups and dictates latrine and porcine guidelines. It is the world of the joy of the song and the popular soul. In the village, the one that remains, the one that with the endearing light illuminates. What he collects remains. Its culture is the mother of knowledge, the depth of one and all the brightness of man. Here is the master simplicity, the transparency, the fantasy, the joyful grace, the joke, the satire, the purity, the pain and the hope of our people. Here is his virile face, in love, fresh, in profound simplicity".
Invaluable treasure, jewel of the oral tradition, Los Trovadores del pueblo, are inscribed in the affective memory of the Island, and are, in my opinion, a communicating
through which beats, in rhyme, the poetic heart of the nation.
Thank you, Zarapico, for saving them from time and oblivion!
(Taken from 5 de Septiembre)
"The plain is beautiful and terrible at the same time; in it fit comfortably, beautiful life and atrocious death; It lurks everywhere, but no one fears it there (...) Hours later, Mr. Danger saw her pass by, Lambedero below. He greeted her from a distance, but got no response. She was absorbed, her eyes fixed forward, at the leisurely pace of her beast, her bridles slack between her hands abandoned on her legs. Arid lands, broken by ravines and furrowed with clods of earth. Skinny cattle, of withered looks, were licking here and there, in an impressive obsession, the slopes and the peeling of the sad place. The bones of those that had already succumbed to the sun, victims of the salty earth that made them starve to death, forgotten by the pasture, and great flocks of vultures hovered over the pestilence of the carrion, were bleaching in the sun. Doña Barbara stopped to contemplate the stubborn aberration of the cattle and with thoughts of herself materialized in sensation, she felt in the tasty dryness of her tongue, burning with fever and thirst, the harshness and bitterness of that land that the obstinate bestial tongues were licking. Thus, she in her determined eagerness to savor the sweetness of that love that consumed her. Then, making an effort to free herself from the fascination that those places and that spectacle exerted on her spirit, she spurred her horse and continued her somber wandering".
Undoubtedly the above, a fragment of the novel Doña Bárbara (1929), one of the most internationally recognized novels by Venezuelan writer Rómulo Gallegos, gives the reader a glimpse of the nature of his country, as well as the passions and conflicts of the inhabitants of its immense plains, and sometimes even of many of its inhospitable places.
With his writing, Gallegos not only describes them vividly, but also moves the reader to feel them as his own, even to the point of confronting them. According to critics, each of his works -especially his novels- are the result of a constant struggle between good and evil where, although the former always transcends the latter and a certain bitterness survives as a result of the triumph of weakness or the bent character of one of the main characters.
Gallegos' authorial stamp is included among the most relevant in Latin America and the world, besides being considered as one of the innovators of the Hispanic American Narrative. To such an extent that, in 1965, the Romulo Gallegos International Novel Prize was created, and in 1972, the Center for Latin American Studies, which bears his name, was founded.
He obtained his bachelor's degree at the Sucre School in 1904. That same year he began his law studies at the Universidad Central de Venezuela, which, although he did not finish them, were important in his later political life. In 1903 he writes the weekly Arco Iris, where he publishes the essay "Lo que somos".
In 1909 he founded the magazine La Alborada, an organ of diffusion of articles, not only literary, but also political and educational. In January 1912 he is appointed director of the Colegio Federal de Varones de Barcelona. Two months later he is named subdirector of the Federal School of Caracas, later Liceo Caracas (at present, Andrés Bello). There he carried out his pedagogical work until 1918, when he became director of the Normal School of Caracas, and in 1922, he renewed his position as director of the Liceo Caracas, until 1930.
In 1914 he publishes a group of short stories under the title Los Aventureros and in 1920 his first novel El último Solar is published, published again in 1930 under the title Reinaldo Solar. Between 1919 and 1922 he directs the magazine Actualidades; in 1922 he initiates the editions of La Novela Semanal, where numerous Venezuelan narrators become known. The success of the novel Doña Bárbara, published in 1929, and the offer of a senatorial position by the government of General Juan Vicente Gómez, which he rejects, lead him to settle in Europe, where he concludes several of his novels. After the death of Gómez he returns to Venezuela, occupying the positions of Minister of Education, Deputy to the National Congress for the Federal District (1937-1940), and President of the City Council of the Federal District (1941).
In July 1941 he was one of the founders of the Democratic Action Party and served as its president until 1948. In 1947 he was nominated by that party for the presidency of the Republic, and was elected on December 14 of that same year. His term of office was quite short, because after taking office on February 15, 1948, he was overthrown by a military coup on November 24. He was exiled to Cuba and later, in 1949, to Mexico, where he lived until 1958.
During his extensive literary career, Gallegos obtained several distinctions such as, among others: Doctor Honoris Causa of the University of Colombia (1948), an honor he renounced in 1955 when the same distinction was conferred on Carlos Castillo Armas, dictator of Guatemala; he was Honorary Professor of the Faculty of Humanities of the University of San Carlos (Guatemala, 1951); Doctor Honoris Causa of the University of Costa Rica (1951); Writer-in-Residence at the University of Oklahoma, United States (1951); Doctor Honoris Causa in Humanities from the Universidad Central de Venezuela (1958); Doctor Honoris Causa in Law from the Universidad de Los Andes (1958); Doctor Honoris Causa in Law from the Universidad de Zulia (1958). The Municipal Council of Caracas proclaimed him, on August 2, 1958, Illustrious Son of the City. That same year he also received the following distinctions: Honorary President of the College of Professors of Venezuela, Great Cross of San Martin, and National Prize of Literature. He was elected member of the National Academy of Language but did not receive it. He was also nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature.
His main works include:
- Los aventureros (1913, short stories).
- The Last Solar (1920, novel)
- The Rebellion (1922, short story)
- The Immigrants (1922, novel)
- La trepadora (1925, novel)
- Doña Bárbara (1929, novel)
- Reinaldo Solar (1930, novel)
- Cantaclaro (1934, novel)
- Canaima (1935, novel)
- Pobre negro (1937, novel)
- El forastero (1942, novel)
- Sobre la misma tierra (1943, novel)
- La rebelión y otros cuentos (1946, novella)
- Venezuelan Stories (1949)
- The blade of straw in the wind (1952, novel)
- A Position in Life (1954, articles and essays)
- The Maiden (1957, drama)
- The Maiden and the Last Patriot (1957, drama and short stories).
(Taken from Cubarte)
English version Hector Hdez.
When the José Antonio Aponte Commission was constituted in the Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba, one of its first agreements was to prioritize the celebration every year of a National Day on the Maceist Ideario.
We had to rescue from oblivion and memory so many feats and so many stories. Give light to the political and ethical ideology of the Bronze Titan, as well as to the legacy of the entire Maceo-Grajales family.
The first of these Maceist Days took place on June 14, 2010 on the occasion of 165 years of the birth of Antonio Maceo y Grajales and 195 of Mariana Grajales, Mother of the Motherland.
With the contribution of academic institutions, political and social organizations, historians and the general public, from that first day all actions began on June 14 and ended on December 6 with a pilgrimage in San Pedro. Why on December 6 and why in San Pedro?
It happens that traditionally from the early hours of the 7th a long march takes place until the Mausoleum of Cacahual, where a large representation of young people from the region participates and it was more feasible for us, in coordination with the Uneac de Artemisa, to mobilize groups of students for the morning of day six.
Why San Pedro? Because it was the place where the life of those who, according to Generalissimo Máximo Gómez, ended up being the greatest of the children of Cuba, and of the Army; The first of its Generals. The most outstanding figure of the Revolution.
The place where "one of the main columns of the temple of the homeland" was demolished.
You had to go there, to the place of more than forty versions. The site that had shaken the world, with the fall of the greatest of the Cuban generals.
San Pedro, the place where death was transformed into life and the Baraguá tree was sown forever.
Without a doubt, there everyone who trembles. "General Antonio fell here," the guide told us as he pointed to a piece of land marked with indelible ink. The image of that gigantic bloody body immediately came to my mind, with 26 war scars and more than 600 fights.
“Moments before from nine to eleven in the morning was the General trying to solve the disagreements between several leaders of this region. Everything was for ambitions of command and spurious jealousy. ”
"Around one o'clock in the afternoon," the museum guide continues, "Maceo had lunch and Miró began reading some chapters of his War Chronicle. The general's sad face went into his usual good mood. He enjoyed reading where he recounted the tactic he had used against Martinete in Colosseum, as Maceo called the Spanish general Martínez Campos in his joking moments. In addition, after being informed that there were no enemies around, he was excited about the idea of attacking and assaulting Marianao that night.
Suddenly some gunshots are heard, followed by closed shots. Maceo tries to get up from his hammock, but he can't, for a few days he wasn't in very good health. "Give me your hand," he tells his assistant Benito. With his help he gets up and starts putting on his boots and sticking his arms. He saddles the horse immediately, with his own hands, as he usually does when he is going to fight, because he feels safer on the stirrups.
Already on the horse, unsheathes the machete and orders the march: "Over here," he exclaimed imperiously pointing to those around him the way to be followed.
The General, furious with surprise, advances escorted by few men.
"And the stone fence?" I asked, remembering the night of the sixties when Fidel, in the Plaza Cadena, gave us a detailed account of the combat of San Pedro to a group of students of the Faculty of Humanities, and where He referred to the imprudence of having chosen that place to establish the camp and made a thorough analysis of the military tactics used.
"Well, according to the narrator, the historian Griñán Peralta," the guide continued, "Maceo gave little importance to that meeting, so he only took a small group of officers with him, because he said he wanted to show them how to load the machete . The general trying to load the machete, approached the stone fence that divided two farms to reach the enemy cavalry and infantry, but he was prevented by a wire fence that intercepted his passage.
I interrupt the versed guide to tell him that Fidel had told us a lot about that wire fence and the fearlessness of Maceo.
Yes, Maceo was sixty meters away from the enemy who kept shooting and then ordered the fence to be cut. The small escort of Juan Manuel Sánchez proceeds to fulfill the order, but a downpour of bullets did not let the task end.
Says Miró Argenter, who was next to him, that the general touched him supporting the hand on which he held the bridle and said: This is going well!
Saying this, a bullet caught his face, he stayed two or three seconds on horseback, let go of the bridles, the machete fell off, and collapsed.
Juan Manuel Sanchez raised Dying Maceo. He sat him down and holding his body he said What is this, General? That's nothing! Don't be intimidated!
Another bullet targets the fallen general. Is dead".
I saw sharp eyes and tears falling from the companions who listened carefully to the guide's story, just in front of the piece of land where the greatest hope of the Revolution had fallen, which did not come to succeed until 123 years after that fatal day.
Knowing that General Maceo fell dead there shudders to the depths of his heart. It is a human burden that shows the ephemeral nature of life but also the greatness of dying with the duty fulfilled. The immense weight of history feels like never before. No Cuban or Cuban of feeling should die without first visiting this sacred place.
They say that when Panchito learned of the news, he ran to meet his beloved godfather and teacher. When he arrived at the abandoned corpse, he burst into pain. A bullet knocked him down on the inanimate body of Maceo. On a sheet of paper he wrote:
Dad, dear brothers:
I die in my post, I do not want to leave the corpse of General Maceo and I will stay with him. They hurt me in two parts. And for not falling into the hands of the enemy, I committed suicide. I do it with pleasure for the honor of Cuba.
Goodbye loved ones, I will love you very much in the next life as in this one. Y ours Francisco Gomez Toro.
In Santo Domingo, please friend or foe, send this role of a dead man.
No one knows what happened next. Five Spanish soldiers approached to devalue the bodies. Panchito was still alive. The practical Spanish topped him off with a machete… ”
The guide ends its story with the reading of the letter that moves us all. We returned to the bus that moved us to the graveyard where the general finally fell and I meditate, thinking about those reflections made by the Commander in Chief that night in the Cadenas Square and I think about the destination or the circumstances.
Already seated in the bus I take the book of César García del Pino about Antonio Maceo and the campaign of Pinar del Rio and the first thing I read are Fidel's notes in his historical allegation History will Absolve me, where he expressed:
“There is an unforgettable passage of our War of Independence narrated by General Miró Argenter, Chief of the General Staff of Antonio Maceo, which I could bring copied in this news to not abuse the memory:
“The people from Bolivia that Pedro Delgado commanded, mostly provided with machete alone, were decimated by throwing themselves on top of the Spanish soldiers, so that it is not an exaggeration to say that 50 men fell by half. They attacked the Spaniards with their fists; No guns, no machetes and no knives! Searching the weeds of Rio Hondo, fifteen more were found dead of the Cuban party, without at the moment it could be indicated to which body they belonged. They had no trace of having wielded a weapon; the locker room was complete and the waist had no more than the can glass; Two steps away from there the lifeless horse with the equipment intact. The culminating passage of the tragedy was rebuilt: these men following their hard boss, Lieutenant Colonel Pedro Delgado, had obtained the palm of heroism; they threw themselves on the bayonet with their hands alone; the noise of the metal, which sounded around them, was the blow of the drinking glass as it hit the stump of the saddle. Maceo felt moved, he, so accustomed to seeing death in all its positions and aspects murmured this panegyric: I had never seen that, the novice people who attack the Spaniards unarmed, with the glass of drinking water for every utensil. And I gave it the name of impedimenta. ”
This is how the people fight when they want to conquer their freedom, throw stones at the planes and turn the tanks upside down.
(Taken from CUBARTE)
English version Héctor Hdez.