Distinguished revolutionary and military leader of exceptional qualities.  He occupied the highest responsibilities within Cuba's Liberation Army during the independence struggles of the 19th century. For his services to the republic for more than 30 years, he was declared a Cuban citizen by birth. 

He was born in Baní, Dominican Republic, in 1836. In the island of his birth, he reached the rank of captain in the Spanish army. In 1855, he took part in the struggle against the Haitian invasion of his country of origin. In 1865, he settled in Cuba with his family and requested his discharge a short time after.  He devoted himself to the cultivation of the land and began to make contact with Cubans who were conspiring for independence. 

On 14 October 1868, four days after the beginning of the independence war, he joined the insurgent forces.  Because of his military knowledge, he was given the rank of sergeant and the mission of training the inexperienced troops. On October 18, the leader of the movement, Carlos Manuel de Céspedes, promoted him to major general. 

On November 4, he led the first cavalry charge using the machete.  With a handful of men simply armed with that working tool, he annihilated two enemy companies in a matter of minutes.  He thus gave the first lesson on the use of what would become, until the end of the war, the most fearsome weapon of the Cuban combatants. 

In the ten years of struggle until 1878, he waged countless battles and excelled as the most gifted strategist and the teacher of a number of brilliant chiefs.

When hostilities broke out again in 1895, he returned to Cuba together with  José Martí, with the rank of general in chief of the Liberation Army

Once again, his great military abilities were displayed.  His invasion plan for the west of the island, carried out alongside his Lieutenant General Antonio Maceo, was one of the greatest military feats of all time. 

Deeply frustrated after the United States' military occupation and the establishment of a republic nothing like that dreamt about by the founding fathers, he died in Havana on June 17, 1905.


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