The concept of homeland was clearly announced in Cuba by Havana-born priest and philosopher Félix Varela Morales (1788-1853), who was also a theologian, teacher, writer and journalist.
The outstanding thinker early envisaged the future nation –which came into being decades later- and influenced successive generations in creating the basis for the Cuban culture and nationality.
The concepts of freedom and sovereignty are contained in his thinking, as are slavery and annexation, in line with his rejection of the Spanish colonialism.
He conceived the future Cuba with all its ethnical components –white, black, mixed-race people- all having the same rights, even the Spaniards living in the country.
As eminent professor at the famous San Carlos y San Ambrosio Seminary, he separated theology from philosophy, explained physics and chemistry (given his scientific background), and contributed to Cuba’s scientific development without withdrawing from his mission as priest.
He taught philosophy, political economics and constitution; leaving behind a logical school of thought regarding the bases for the emerging methods of modern sciences; and he also founded the country’s first laboratory of experimental physics.
Throughout his time as a teacher, he provided young people with broad horizons of advanced knowledge and instilled patriotic ideas in them. Regarding this, José de la Luz y Caballero’s remarks about Varela are often recalled: „he was the first one who taught us how to think.”
Among his students there were outstanding founders of the patriotic culture: José de la Luz y Caballero (teacher and philosopher), José Antonio Saco (historian and sociologist), Domingo del Monte (cultural organizer), Felipe Poey (famous scientist) and José María Heredia, the first revolutionary poet in our America.
During his stay in Spain (1821-1823) as deputy of The Courts, he advocated the Independence of Spanish America and was in favor of the dismissal of King Ferdinand VII of Spain.
Persecuted and sentenced to death by absolutist authorities, Varela fled to the United States, where he lived for the rest of his life.
Born in Havana to a Spanish father and a Cuban mother on November 20, 1788, he died on February 25, 1853 in San Agustín, Florida, in the United States.Share on FB Share on TT