Santiago's Antonio Maceo Plaza. Photo: Archive

On March 15, 1978, Fidel said, "… Our generation has received the heritage, the spirit of everything that other generations did: the heritage of Céspedes and Yara; the heritage of Agramonte, Calixto García, Máximo Gómez; the heritage of Maceo, the heritage of this singular, extraordinary act that was the Baraguá Protest … the combatants of our era had this very much in mind, the Protest of Baraguá was very much present, the idea of never giving in to defeat."

In 1878, a portion of the independence forces were worn down by almost ten years of war, with no help from abroad, weakened by internal division, and affected by the peace campaign of Arsenio Martínez Campos. Lacking political vision and confidence in victory, they accepted the Zanjón peace agreement reached February 10, that year.

The accord did not provide for independence or an end to slavery, the main objectives of the call to arms made by Carlos Manuel de Céspedes on October 10, 1868.

Major General Antonio Maceo, summoning his immense moral authority, rejected the agreement, along with a group of other officers and soldiers. He rightly insisted that Spain had resorted to negotiation only because the colonial forces were unable to end the conflict on the battlefield.

Maceo's historic statement during a meeting with the Spanish command, March 15, 1878: "No, there is no understanding between us," epitomized the political maturity of a number of officers and soldiers from humble backgrounds - many Black and Mestizo - who were resolved to continue the struggle.

Baraguá has become a symbol of the uncompromising determination shown by revolutionary men and women throughout Cuba's struggle for justice.

Not to be forgotten is the speech made by Fidel on the occasion of the centenary of the event, in 1978, when he said, "What can surely be affirmed is that with the Baraguá Protest, the patriotic, revolutionary spirit of our people reached its highest point, its climax; and that the homeland and the revolution's banners, that of true revolution, with independence and social justice, were placed in the highest seat of honor."

Antonio Maceo's confidence in victory and intransigence are essential to today's generations. His example has been key to facing the Revolution's most difficult moments, captured in the conviction that "the future of Cuba will be an eternal Baraguá». This is the legacy of the Baraguá Protest.