Cuban history includes among its important pages the date of January 19th, 1869, when the only issue of El Diablo Cojuelo was printed in Havana, the first work of a political nature prepared by José Martí. It was at the El Iris Imprenta y Librería, located on Obispo Street. It is edited by the young son of Leonor and Mariana when he was about to turn 16, together with Fermín Valdés Domínguez, who paid for the edition.
In the small four-page print, there was an editorial plus some minimal scenes, not lacking in acute humor and critical background, a reflection of the socio-political events of that historical moment. In the study Historical Analysis of El Diablo Cojuelo by José Martí, by researcher Roelvis Ortiz Núñez, it is pointed out that “this singular and fleeting newspaper represents the importance that the young man gave to the written word as a unifying factor of wills and expression of revolutionary thought .
His title was an irreverent cry at the time; the text, a display of latent rebellion, but ready to emerge. In the analysis of it, it was determined that it had both patriotic and literary or journalistic value. «
The investigation summarizes fundamental details of the content, among which the journalistic facet of the Apostle stands out, his constant vision of alert and critical analysis regarding some events of the social, economic, political and cultural daily life of mainly Hispanic American countries, all approached with objectivity and transparency.
In such a small space, it exhibits strong criticism of the existing newspapers in the country, defenders of Spanish interests, promoters of reforms and fierce attackers of Cuban independence, as well as highlights that the long-awaited freedom of the press does not yet allow us to talk about the problems that really tormented Cuban society at the time, as was the case with slavery and independence, objectives for which the Orientals took up arms in 1868. Ortiz Núñez indicates in his investigation that “among Marti’s contributions, at such a young age, his criticism of the reformist meetings held in those days is manifested, such as the Reform Board of January 13th, 1869; and reproaches the corrupt leaders of the time and servants of Spanish colonialism. »
Likewise, he points out that «the young man rebukes the teaching system implemented in Cuba, since the study plans had been reduced to teaching the subject Religion, with the fundamental aim of promoting the cult towards the Hispanic.» El Diablo Cojuelo is described by some specialists as a kind of steering wheel.
His name is related to the homonymous novel by Luis Vélez de Guevara, a 16th century Spanish writer. It also stands out for the journalistic forms used, by including small dialogues. It constitutes decisive evidence of the patriotic sentiment of our Apostle since adolescence, a human being marked by colonial barbarism that led him to undertake his unwavering mission of fighting to the death for the independence of Cuba.