Mendive. Journal on Education,april-june 2021; 19(2):692-694

Translated from the original in Spanish

A José Marti's brother from Pinar del Río, a debt is settled with the life and work of Martín Herrera


Un hermano pinareño de José Martí, se salda una deuda con la vida y obra de Martín Herrera


Irmão de Pinar del Río de José Martí, uma dívida é quitada com a vida e obra de Martín Herrera


Teonila Álvarez Echevarría1
Yadyra Piñera Concepción1

1University of Pinar del Río "Hermanos Saiz Montes de Oca". Cuba.


Bibliographic sheet

González, P.L y Hernández, D.(2019) Martín Herrera, el hermano vueltabajero de José Martí.

Ediciones Loynaz. Colección Raíces. Pinar del Río. Cuba.

ISBN 978-959-219-639-1


As part of the teaching management of the University Extension process, there is the promotion of the National Reading Program in the University and the community. On this occasion, as part of the activities of the extension project of the University Extension department of the University of Pinar del Río "Hermanos Saíz Montes de Oca", the book Martín Herrera, José Marti's back-to-back brother, is presented for students, teachers and lovers of national and local history.

Edited by Editorial Loynaz, in its root collection, the book ends with this invocation:













(González and Hernández, 2019, p. 95)

Why do the authors of the book culminate their historical research on this native of Pinar del Río with this solemn request? Who was the man whom the epithets revere: "great friend of Martí", "patriot", "worthy"...?

It is not by chance that they choose the epitaph that the Respectable Fiat Lux Lodge is written on the plaque that he placed in the patriot's house, located in San Juan y Martínez, his last place of residence. Convinced that in order to receive merit, man has to do great, lasting and difficult work, they relive in a rigorous historical investigation the life of San Juan by adoption, Martín Herrera Montero, who was a native of San Diego de Nunez, from where he left to to become a man of action and a social educator in one of the areas of the backwater geography.

The authors of this essential book, pedagogues by profession, but above all out of vocation and devotion, organize the text into five well-structured chapters , two in which they show the personality of the patriot and his ability to question the reality he lived not only criticizing, but acting accordingly, by assuming correct positions in solving problems of social interest .

Martín Herrera was a true leader because he encouraged new and radical attitudes among his contemporaries with his communication skills, in relation to the universalization of education, social justice and the development of culture.

In the book, which begins with the epigraph "Approach to the life of Martín Herrera", the history of man in its link with the historical context is never left out of hand; Therefore, one of its main values is to highlight the life of Martín associated with the struggle for the emancipation of the Homeland, the independence revolution and his death in misery, since, like Francisco Vicente Aguilera, He offered his entire family patrimony to the cause and, when he had nothing more to give, he asked his wife, América Léón and his daughters Pocahontas and Pennsylvania, to give their jewels for the revolutionary cause.

Not out of fickleness, Martí called him brother; for this reason, one of the most valuable chapters in the book is the one dedicated to friendship relations, a feeling so elevated for Martí, between those two men. A sample of this is the following excerpt of one of the letters cited by the authors in the book, specifically that of the March 9, 1893, where the Apostle of the Cuba wrote to Herrera:

   "My dear Martin: Here's a grateful man that will never forget what a brave heart makes of his loyal understanding, and in the capacity of everything great, for the service of his homeland" (Martí, 1975, p. 233-234).

The authors make clear evidence about what Martí thought of Martín Herrera in the following passage published by the Apostle on April 30, 1892, in the Patria Newspaper:

   (…) Martín Herrera moves with his heart, the heart of the Key: he raised the San Carlos school for the Cuban of all colors, and he maintains it; He goes from house to house, shaking consciences; he presides from his work cart; He loves freedom, and knead with his popular hands, virtues that are to prevent the loss. He, the son of free emigration, a new Cuban from the wandering homeland, who brought the heroes to the world, should be the one who, with an impetuous heart and patriotism that waits on his feet, raised the sacred monument (Martí, 1975, p. 383).

The work is about both the revolutionary links within the Cuban Revolutionary Party and the Cuban emigration, whom Herrera strengthened and united, from which the authors offer valuable analysis.

For professionals of History, students who study this career and for lovers of Pinar del Río, this work offers a magnificent panoramic view of this territory during the 19th century and the first three decades of the 20th; in its pages you will find curiosities about the province, from the pen of important historians of the nineteenth century, in addition to the fact that the bibliography reviewed is an important contribution and point of reference for other studies of local history.

As an added value of the research, there is the rescue that the authors make of the personality of the patriot, because for a long time it remained in oblivion until the brochure of José María Mier Rivas was published in 1917,where his life and work have been known for the first time,. Subsequently, on 24 February 1925, a park with his name was inaugurated in the village with his name with his name, in the ancient Plaza de Armas of San Juan y Martinez and in 1939, the Lodge Worshipful La Palma with his name was created. 

In summary, for the readers and the letters of Pinar del Río, the book is an invaluable historical investigation delivered by means of a simple language that, while remaining academic, it has elegance and touches the sensitive fibers of the reader, by educating them not only in patriotism the responsibility, the honor, the sense of social justice, but also in the conviction that one can only fully lives when thinking and acting in accordance with the needs of the time in which we live.



González P.L y D. Hernández (2019) Martín Herrera el hermano vueltabajero de José Martí. Ediciones Loynaz. Colección Raíces: Pinar del Río. Cuba.

Martí, José. (1975). Obras Completas Tomo I. La Habana, Cuba: Editorial Ciencias Sociales.


This work is under a licencia de Creative Commons Reconocimiento-NoComercial 4.0 Internacional
Copyright (c) Teonila Álvarez Echevarría