Born on January 28, 1853, José Martí spent most of his short-lived life fighting for the Cuban independence. Known for his exceptional talent as a writer on revolutionary politics, Martí was first exiled from Cuba in 1871 and spent much of his life abroad. He died on the battlefield while fighting for his country’s freedom in 1895, but he left behind a legacy of inspiration for revolutionaries around the world. Today, Martí was honored by President Obama during his historical trip to Cuba.

Here are some of the author’s best quotes and writings to celebrate his legacy:

  1. “An insatiable appetite for glory leads to sacrifice and death, but innate instinct leads to self-preservation and life.” 
  2. “The force of passion is balanced by the force of interest.”
  3. “He who receives money in trust to administer for the benefit of its owner, and uses it either for his own interest or against the wishes of its rightful owner, is a thief.”
  4. “Talent is a gift that brings with it an obligation to serve the world, and not ourselves, for it is not of our making.”
  5. “Men are like the stars; some generate their own light while others reflect the brilliance they receive.
  6. “But love, like the sun that it is, sets afire and melts everything; what greed and privilege to build up over whole centuries the indignation of a pious spirit, with its natural following of oppressed souls, will cast down with a single shove.”
  7. “One just principle from the depths of a cave is more powerful than an army.”
  8. “He who uses the office he owes to the voters wrongfully and against them is a thief.”
  9. “Just as he who gives his life to serve a great idea is admirable, he who avails himself of a great idea to serve his personal hopes of glory and power is abominable, even if he too risks his life.”
  10. “It is a sin not to do what one is capable of doing.”
  11. “Man loves liberty, even if he does not know that he loves it. He is driven by it and flees from where it does not exist.”
  12. “We light the oven so that everyone may bake bread in it.”
  13. “If I survive, I will spend my whole life at the oven door seeing that no one is denied bread and, so as to give a lesson of charity, especially those who did not bring flour.”
  14. “A genuine man goes to the roots. To be a radical is no more than that: to go to the roots.”
  15. “We are free, but not to be evil, not to be indifferent to human suffering, not to profit from the people, from the work created and sustained through their spirit of political association, while refusing to contribute to the political state that we profit from.”
  16. “Liberty is the right of every man to be honest, to think and to speak without hypocrisy.”