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General Antonio Maceo Grajales

 

General Antonio Maceo Grajales

 

Was second-in-command of the Cuban army of independence. Commonly known as "the Titan of Bronze," Maceo was one of the outstanding guerrilla leaders in nineteenth century Latin America, easily comparable to José Antonio Páez of Venezuela. The son of a Venezuelan mulatto and Afro-Cuban woman, Maceo began his fight for Cuban liberation by enlisting as a private in the army in 1868 when the Ten Years War began.

Five years later, he was promoted to the rank of general because of his bravery and his demonstrated ability to outmaneuver the Spanish army. In 1878 when most of the Cuban generals believed that their armies could not defeat the Spaniards, Maceo refused to surrender without winning Cuban independence and the abolition of slavery.

Ultimately he was forced to leave Cuba. He returned to Cuba when war with Spain began again. His most famous campaign in the War of Cuban liberation was his invasion of western Cuba when his troops, mostly Afro-Cubans on horseback, covered more than 1,000 miles in 92 days and fought the enemy in 27 separate encounters. Spanish general Valeriano Weyler pursued him vigorously if only to curtail Maceo's destruction of the Cuban sugar industry. On December 7, 1896 Maceo was captured and killed as he attempted to rejoin Maximo Gómez' forces. His death prompted yet another congressional resolution for belligerent rights for Cuba.

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