José Antonio Maceo y Grajales, well-known as Antonio Maceo and with the nickname of "The Bronze Titan", he was born June 14 1845, in a rural area of the city of Santiago de Cuba.
Marcos maceo and Mariana Grajales’ son and, with General rank, he was the second in command of the Cuban Liberator Army, and one of the independence leaders more outstanding of the second half of the XIX century in Latin America.
Although his father taught him the art in the handling of the war weapons and abilities in the administration of properties, besides educating him in a code of inflexible honor, it was his mother, Mariana Grajales who inculcated him a strong discipline, to the point of causing him a passing stammer in his childhood, and that he would overcome it in the adolescence.
This discipline would be fundamental in the forge of his character and it would be reflected in his acts like military leader, since his mother Mariana Grajales, in front of the family altar, threatened her husband and her six children to fight for the independence of Cuba or to die in the intent, going herself to the "manigua" to support from the rearguard the actions of the mambises.
His military career with the Cuban Liberator Army began when his father, next to him and several of his siblings, they united to the Carlos Manuel de Céspedes rebellion like soldiers.
For his courage in the combat, their strategic abilities and their disciplines, he was ascended quickly in the military scale, in spite of the racist and classist tendencies of several of the own patriots whose origin was frankly bourgeois or aristocratic.
The humble origin of Maceo and the color of his skin delayed the ascent to the General rank of the exceptional mambí, although already rank of Colonel and General Brigadier he had reached it quickly.
The men in command of him began to call him "Titan de Bronce" because of his exceptional physical vigor and resistance to the bullet wounds and steel weapon. He recovered of those more than 25 wounds of war and it seemed that none of them affected his value when he entered in combat.
General Antonio Maceo was one of the Cuban leaders that rejected the signature of the Pacto del Zanjón. He protested before the terms imposed by the Marshal Arsenio Martínez Campo March 15, 1878 because they didn't fulfill none of the indepence objectives: neither the abolition of the slavery, neither the independence of Cuba.
Encounter considered today like one of the pages more worthy of the history of Cuba, also recognized as "La Protesta de Baraguá."
In 1896 in his intent of meeting with the maximum General Gómez in the areas of Las Villas or Camagüey, near Punta Brava, property of San Pedro, Maceo advanced with a small group (no more 20 men) and his personal escort (two men), the doctor of his troops and the General Brigadier José Miró Argenter.
When they tried to cut a fence to continue the march they were detected by a Spanish strong column that opened an intense fire. Maceo was reached by two shots: one in the torso, don't (light) and another that penetrated him in the skull after breaking him the jaw.
His partners could not transport him because the fire was intensified and next to him it was only the lieutenant Francisco Gómez (well-known as Panchito Gómez Toro), son of the General Máximo Gómez who voluntarily faced to the Spanish column to protect the general's cadaver. After being hurt of bullet several times, the Spaniards finished off him savagely with machetes, leaving the two bodies abandoned, without knowing the identity of the deads.
The cadavers of Maceo and Panchito were picked up the following day by the habanero Colonel Aranguren who to the knowledge that happened went immediately to the place. Then they were buried secretly in the property of two siblings whose swore to keep the secret until Cuba was independent and they could be carried out the corresponding military honors.
Antonio Maceo y Grajales was not only a key figure in the movement Cuban independentista of the second half of the XIX century, besides a brilliant military strategist. His liberal thought, based on the honor and the virtue, marked the thought of the generation that continued him, next to the vast and comprehensive thought of José Martí and it can be said that those thoght are still living among the best in the Cuban youth.
Actualmente, los restos mortales de Antonio Maceo y Grajales descansan en el monumento del Cacahual, cercano a los límites de la antigua finca de San Pedro, y es lugar de peregrinación de los cubanos. Es ya una tradición que las graduaciones de las academias militares cubanas se realizan junto al Cacahual.
At the moment, the Antonio Maceo's mortal remains are resting in the monument of Cacahual, near to the limits of San Pedro's old property, and it’s place of pilgrimage of the Cubans. It's already a tradition that the graduations of the Cuban military academies are carried out next to Cacahual.