José Martí is very close for Las Tunas people

The Victoria radio station premiered the documentary Martí and Las Tunas last year. The work belongs to the series "La tacita de oro" by Wílber Antonio Díaz, and is committed to delving into the proximity of the Dos Ríos man with these lands. Since then, the radio material has given what to talk about in university classrooms as in specialized meetings.

Las Tunas, Cuba.- That is why, and due to the closeness of January 28, 26 Digital spoke with Wílber, a young and passionate radio program maker. We did this knowing that there are several common elements between the life of the Apostle and this region of eastern Cuba.

Las Tunas received the title of city in 1853, just months after the birth of José Julián. Manuel Nápoles y Fajardo was the first editor of his printed work. The presence here of his son, José Francisco Martí Zayas Bazán, is also known. The steps of his offspring were outstanding in this territory. El Ismaelillo fought as a mambí soldier in the taking of Las Tunas in August 1897. It was a determining event in the Spanish capitulation in Cuba.

Perhaps, you usually visit Vicente García Park, in this region, and do not know that the ancient cannon in one of its corners was the protagonist in that fight. Moreover, it was precisely José Francisco, the gunner, who detonated it. A deafness accompanied him since then for the rest of his life. Direct consequence of the fierce firings of the cannon. It was fundamental in the insurgent attempts to take the Church.

The young Angel de la Guardia Bello, the only eyewitness to the national hero’s fall in the fields of Dos Ríos, also died on these dates. Likewise, it was here, in the shelter of the night and among the bonfires lit of a camp, where he told the most intense details of that mournful date of May 1895. The yearbooks of the time attest to that.
After more than 100 years after all these events: what does the investigation of Wílber Antonio Díaz bring?
"Las Tunas is an important bulwark, a firm pedestal, in the forging of Cuban national unity. There are many criteria about events that took place in these lands and that are directly related to José Martí.

"We have the responsibility of answering all those riddles. We have to do it for us and because the younger generations must be aware of who we are because of those stories that come to them. It is a huge risk and a misrepresentation that we are not sure how the events took place".

"The documentary summarizes part of all that research we have done in that regard. The purpose is to make the information reaches those peasant people, away from libraries, who do not have time to review or investigate on their own in this type of work. It also pursues that the middle and high listener is encouraged to study more.

"It describes fundamental events. For example, it includes the interview given by Máximo Gómez to George Eugene Bryson, a journalist for The New York Herald. It is an event that splashes throughout Cuba and cannot be seen only as a fact of this place.

"That conversation took place here, in Las Tunas, in what was once the town of San Andrés, near San Joaquin. It is a very important dialogue because it is the first time, after the disastrous events of Dos Ríos, that there is an official talk about the death of José Martí.

"What came out of that conversation was the opinion of the Liberating Army about the death of the organizer of the entire war process. Besides, that was the version that the world knew. There are references to that interview scattered in different publications of the time, in the country and in different places."

Wílber, despite his youth, speaks as if he had been on the scene of those events. He also bets more. That is why he maintains that, by that time, José Martí had already got rid of the mustache that accompanied him much of his existence. Moreover, he knows that his thesis is risky. However, he quotes that Dr. Pablo Aurelio Valencia Forns, who in the forensic analysis of the Apostle's body, asserts that he had only a mustache shadow. Therefore, he invites to continue delving.

His great passion, however, seems to be centered on Las Tunas. In the need to strengthen its local history and unravel the essences behind the individuals that define it. "The celebrations of the city of Las Tunas have to reach everyone, be more public. We cannot limit ourselves to the symbolic burning on the night of the 26th, the locals must feel that we are truly celebrating who we are.

"We must also highlight more other dates such as the victory of August 30th, 1897. It was not only the taking of the city. An episode that marked the Spanish capitulation in Cuba. "In the libraries of the country, there are not always professionals trained to talk, for example, about issues related to José Martí. It is felt in some places, such as La Plaza Martiana de Las Tunas, a little helplessness of the authorities, taking into account the value of such place for the people of this city and the country.

"It is important to alert and warn where the errors are. It is a way to indicate others and invite them to be aware of reality." Wílber made the first premiere of this documentary series last year by these same dates. In that proposal, he sought, chronologically, at the beginning of the veneration to Mariana Grajales for these places, the presence of Las Tunas in the annals of the celebrations for Mother's Day and other interesting events.

Besides, he works on another risky bet. He delves into the presence here, by Carlos Manuel de Céspedes. "Yes, the Father of the Fatherland lived in Las Tunas after the uprising in La Demajagua. He settled in the area of Los Melones. From that camp, they issued the most important documents of the Ten Years' War. There we go. We are giving the first steps of a new challenge."