Fernando Figueredo Socarrás (English)

Patriotic, Political  and Historian

by Frank de Varona

Now that we celebrated a new anniversary of the 10 of October it is important to remember patriotic the Cubans that as much they were sacrificed to reach the independence of Cuba. During the month of October also the Month of the Spanishness is celebrated and we remembered the Hispanic contributions to the United States. Fernando Figueredo Socarrás was an individual that made great contributions to Cuba and the United States. At the same time she was one of the most important figures of the history of Cuba of century XIX and principles of century XX.

This insigne camagüeyano not only participated in the first and last battle of the War of the Ten Years and was the delegate of the Cuban Revolutionary Party in Tampa during the War of 1895, but that became first Cuban the elect one to the legislature  state of Florida, first Cuban mayor of the United States, and first Cuban superintendent of schools of this country. She was witness of the two wars of independence of Cuba and wrote several books of history on these conflicts.

Been born in Port Prince, nowadays Camagüey call, the 9 of February of 1846, Figueredo passed its childhood in Bayamo. To the 18 years it goes with its family to the United States where it studies in the School of  Engineering of Troy in the state of New York. In this state friend became of Teddy Rossevelt, who said “Figue to him.”

In Troy it receives a letter of its father who communicates the revolt to him in Cuba against Spain. Immediately the young person of 22 years leaves his studies and returns to Bayamo. Figueredo is named Assistant and Secretary of Carlos Manuel de Céspedes, who the 10 of October of 1868 had proclaimed independence  of Cuba in its talent the Damajagua giving him the freedom to its slaves. The call Father of the Mother country later had attacked the town of Yara, known like Grito de Yara.

Next to Turfs it participates later in the capture and the defense of Bayamo and in the fire of this city, that their inhabitants preferred to burn it before rendering it to the Spanish army. These events take to Figueredo to publish their first book of history, The taking of Bayamo of 1893 where its testimony of the first great battle of the War of the Ten Years renders that lasted from 1868 to 1878.

When knowing the heroic death Turfs in San Lorenzo the foot of the Masterful Mountain range visits east place where the Father of the Mother country was pestered with shots. Figueredo bravely continues fighting in numerous combats and to the end of the war it is ascended to the colonel degree.

It accompanied to general Antonio Maceo to Handles by Baraguá to its famous interview with the Commander in chief by Cuba Arsenio Martinez Fields. At the end of the war it divides to colonel Figueredo with its wife Juanita Antúnez and his son, born in manigua, for exile. In 1881 it arrives at Key Hueso or Key West.

Guest to give lectures on the War of the Ten Years by a group of Cuban ladies called “Daughters of the Freedom.” Figueredo gives nine lectures from 1882 to 1885. These are published in a called book The revolution of Yara in Havana in 1902. Ten years later Fernando Figueredo was named president of the Academy of History of Cuba. And in that same year, 1912, it publishes the biography of Jose Dolores Poyo, intimate friend of Martí and one of the leaders of independentista movement of Key Bone.

Like Poyo, colonel Figueredo helps Jose Martí to collect bottoms between the tobacco growers of Key Bone and Tampa. Jose Martí stays itself in the house of Figueredo when he visits Key Bone.

During the War of 1895, Figueredo wanted to get up itself to the Cuban Army of liberation but it was ordered by Jose Martí to that it served to the Cuban Revolutionary Party from Florida. Figueredo recruit welded, prepares expeditions to Cuba and collects of $30.000 to $50.000 dollars to the month between Tampa and Cayo Hueso. This money the offer to Takings Estrada Palma to New York.

Fernando Figueredo during the years of exile  in Florida citizen becomes of the United States. In 1885  he is elect representative to the legislature of Florida, becoming the first Cuban American in obtaining that electoral position. Later one becomes first Hispanic and Cuban to the named being the superintendent of schools in the County Monroe, who includes all the keys.

The labor conflicts in Key Bone cause that many Cuban workers are transferred to the area of Tampa where many tobacco factories settle down. In June of 1895 Figueredo he is elect mayor of West Tampa. Shortly after it resigns to the mayorship of West Tampa in a letter to the governor of the Flowery one because it thinks that their works by the independence of Cuba create conflicts with their position. The governor rejects his resignation saying that its work in favor of Cuba honors to the one of mayor of West Tampa.

Gained the independence of Cuba it resigns definitively to the mayorship to end of December of 1898 and returns to its mother country of birth. The military governor of Cuba Leonardo Wood names Secretary of State and Interior. Figueredo participates in the Constituent Convention of 1901.   first president of Cuba Tomás Estrada Palma chooses Chief of a main directorate of Communications in 1902 and two years later he names Chief quartermaster chief of the quartermaster service of the Republic.

During the second armed intervention of the United States in 1906, the governor Charles E. Magoon chooses General Treasurer of the Republic, position that occupies by several years. During these years of public life so active east illustrates camagüeyano has time to write history books. Aside from already mentioned, Figueredo wrote Pedro Figueredo and Praise of General Jose Watched Argentes. Also it wrote poetries.

Surrounded by its numerous family of nine children and many grandsons it dies in Havana the 13 of April of 1929 at the age of 83 years. Fernando Figueredo Socarrás  he was a great patriotic and Cuban historian who also served to this nation during his long years of exile. He was the companion of Carlos Manuel de Céspedes and of Antonio Maceo, it helped to Jose Martí in the organization  as the Cuban Revolutionary Party and it served in high positions public to the North American governors as Cuba and the first Cuban presidents. At the same time it participated in the policy and the government of Florida and directed the state schools of a county. He was a great man of honor and valentía and honored and he was faithful to two flags, the one of Cuba and the one of the United States.