Jose Marti is known as the Apostle of Cuban Independence for dedicating himself to the cause of freeing Cuba from Spanish rule in the 19th century. It’s a coincidence that he’s following on so soon after we met Simon Bolivar, but also a sign of the recurring theme among stamps of the Americas around independence heroes and liberators.
Marti was a student rebel who managed to draw enough attention to himself that he was arrested and jailed at the tender age of 16. He was treated badly in prison, then exiled to Spain at the age of 18, by the Spanish authorities. I mean, what sort of kid gets sent halfway round the world to avoid them rabble-rousing in their home country? It didn’t stop the Cuban rebels, nor did it deter Marti. As a gesture of defiance, he started flying the (unofficial) Cuban flag from his balcony in Madrid and he wrote extensively on the cause of liberation.
In Spain, he managed to graduate law. He then travelled widely across the USA, Mexico and Guatemala, campaigning for the cause. He planned with others for an uprising against the Spanish, returning to Cuba in 1895 after a 24 year absence. He died during fighting against the Spanish.
As well as his political activities, Marti was a poet, essayist, philosopher and journalist.