Every March 15th, Cuban patriots remember the heroic feat of Major General Antonio Maceo y Grajales, who strongly protested against a peace treaty with Spanish colonial rulers following the Ten Years War in the second half of the 19th century.
Mariana Grajales Coello, the Brave Mother of Cubans
Maceo, as everyone knows the legendary hero, opposed the signing of the Pact of Zanjon that ended the Ten Years War.
He met with Spanish General Arsenio Martinez-Campos in Mangos de Baragua, in today's Santiago de Cuba province.
There, the top colonial authority in Cuba then, wanted to discuss the peace terms, but Maceo argued that no peace could be achieved if none of the objectives of the war had been accomplished; chief among those aims was the abolition of slavery in Cuba and Cuban independence.
In Baragua, Maceo expressed his inconformity with laying down their weapons without achieving independence and the abolition of slavery, as was stipulated in the Zanjon Pact, and his decision to continue on struggling for Cuba's independence
General Antonio Maceo had 24 scars and three bullets in his body, as a testimony to his services to the Homeland, for which he fought bravely.
In the interview between Spanish general Martinez Campos and Antonio Maceo in Mangos de Baragua, on March 15, 1878, the peninsular chief offered him money or capitulation, but the Cuban answered: "...the men who, like me, fight for holy cause of freedom, will break their weapon when they are considered impotent to win before sullying."
Maceo did not recognize the treaty as valid and stressed the undying commitment of Cubans to the final liberation of their motherland.
Thus was manifested the intransigent spirit of the Cuban people which did not want peace without independence, a spirit which has continued to be manifested.
Referring to this event, Jose Marti said, "I have now before me the Baragua Protest, which is one of the most glorious pages of our history.