José Martí and Lewis Masquerier
Por: Dr. Rodolfo Sarracino

Rodolfo_Sarracino Reading José Martí`s articles about the United States and the characters he refers to in his Complete Works, reveals his complex vision of a nation well in its way towards imperialism and the rich political and social inclinations of numerous peoples and individuals of its population who willingly or unwillingly contributed to its peculiar brand of civilization.

A case in question is that of the elderly journalist Wiliam Masquerier whom he briefly refers to in one of the issues of the Argentinian newspaper La Nación of Buenos Aires. He was born in the State of New York, where he died on the 1st of August, 1888.

Details of his demise with nearly all New York papers coinciding with the news of of the death of US Vicepresident William Almon Wheeler, whom Marti praised, together with the greater part of the press, for his honesty in office, and whose grave conceived in simplicity and modesty was symbolic of his entire political career.

The most complete local press versions on the Masquerier grave, to which Martí had access, suggest that in 1888 he was doing his journalistic job under high pressure from his revolutionary responsibilities with scarcely enough time for research. This was the context information at his disposal, which was clearly insufficient to prevent him from correctly interpreting the meaning of exotic diagrams, complex phrases in foreign languages and various images on the walls, most of them not easily interpreted and in most cases confusing, which covered most of the gigantic “mausoleum”, and attracted those of the public by its misteries and went there to see for themselves what the press had termed incomprehsensible and irrational, and in which Masquerier had invested a considerablepart of his fortune.

Far apart from the minimal information offered by Martí in his article, a result of hurried reading of the local press, forced by circumstances in which the elderly Masquerier lived, whom he called “the frenchman”, which by the way was not his nationality, reveal that he was a politician of substantive importance in the State of New York, committed during most of his life to the objective of achieving rational and humane solutions with the important problema, until today pending, not only in the United States, but the entire world: the need for a far reaching reform of society on a substantive world problem, equality and justice for human beings of the world, achieved only with Socialism without violence.

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