Hundreds of torches lit up the sky over the University of Havana on January 27, and ignited the thousands of marchers’ commemoration of national hero José Martí, whose 163rd birthday fell on the next day.
(Soundbite) Carmen Díaz, Student of Medicine
“It is touching to see so many people here, all united as one, to celebrate the apostle’s birthday.”
Cuban President Raúl Castro led the march and traveled several streets in the center of the city, escorted by former heads of state from Uruguay and the Dominican Republic.
(Soundbite) Berta Pérez, University Teacher
“This march has always been historical and we have to follow this tradition. The Cuban youths and the Cuban town really owe a lot to his writings, his thought, all his life and his works.”
All the roles combined into one, from poet, journalist, professor, founder of the Revolutionary Cuban Party to herald of the independence war, José Martí has been venerated as the ideological and literary pioneer of the country since he died in a military battle on May 19, 1895.