I have the grim impulse and the sacred yearning to catch a glimpse of my dead dreams in life/Oh, the insomniac pupil and the closed eyelid!…/(I’ll sleep tomorrow with my eyelid open!)…. At only 34 years of age, Rubén Martínez Villena was overcome by tuberculosis that tormented him for so many years, but that did not break his fighting spirit.

The so-called La Protesta de los 13, in which he led a group of young people in denouncing the corruption of the Alfredo Zayas government, reaffirmed Villena in a leading role in the political life of the country.

Other vital projects such as the Cuban Action Falange, the Retail Group and the General Strikes of March 1930 and August 1933 also had his organizing action.

Undoubtedly, the communion of ideals with Julio Antonio Mella would also involve him in the José Martí Popular University, in the Anticlerical and Anti-Imperialist leagues, in the Movement of Veterans and Patriots and in the Communist Party, in which he became a member of its Committee  since 1928.

The crimes and arbitrariness of Gerardo Machado, in the presidency of Cuba, led Rubén to call him “Ass with Claws” a description that defines the tyrant in that period of national history.

Until the former Soviet Union he arrived with the illusion of recovering his health. However, Mella’s murder makes him return and assume the leadership of the Party to which he gave the last of his strength.

He would dedicate his last speech to his great friend, barely without a voice, after organizing, almost in agony, the popular and revolutionary mobilization for the reception of Mella’s ashes.

His poetic work and his political thought inspire several generations of revolutionary artists around the world.

Author: TANIA RAMIREZ

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