Joaquín de Agüero
Joaquín de Agüero (1816, Puerto Príncipe – August 12, 1851, Puerto Príncipe was a Cuban revolutionary. In 1843 he freed all his slaves. In 1851 he headed an insurrection against the Spanish government, in the central part of the island. After a desperate contest, he was defeated in battle, captured, and shot, together with his main followers.
Joaquín de Agüero studied law in the city of Havana, but returned home as soon as he received notice that his father had become terminally ill. After his father's passing, he inherited his father's land and slaves. A notably generous man, he established a free public school for underprivileged children in the small town of Guáimaro, 70 km (43 mi) southwest of Puerto Príncipe. The site of that school was selected in 1869 as the venue for the drafting and approval of Cuba's first Constitution as a free country, the Constitution of Guáimaro.
Joaquín de Agüero freed his slaves in 1843, and gave each of them a plot of land so they could make a living. This action caused great alarm among the Spanish authorities, as well as among many of the area's large plantation owners. Despite the usual public outcry to abolish slavery, Agüero's action was an illegal act, and to escape legal inquiries, he was forced to leave Cuba with his family for the United States; however, the immense love he felt for his homeland brought him back within three months.
After his return, Agüero stayed in his farm "El Redentor", near the town of Guáimaro, while actively participating in clandestine independence movements against Spanish rule. By 1849 he had become a key figure in the "La Sociedad Libertadora de Puerto Príncipe", involving himself in armed revolt against the ruling government. The liberation group he led publicly denounced Spanish rule and demanded independence. With only forty men in his force, they were quickly defeated by Spanish troops. Agüero was arrested en route to Puerto Príncipe while trying to flee to the United States. His armed revolt had failed miserably, but as historian Cento Gomez stated, "it was a ground breaking event in the history of Cuban struggle for independence." On August 12, 1851, he was shot by a firing squad of Spanish troops alongside three of his compatriots in Puerto Príncipe (today’s Camagüey province).
Years later Cuba did achieve independence from Spanish rule, and to honor Agüero's dedication to the Cuban cause of freedom, after the conclusion of the Cuban War of Independence (1895–1898), several public places and buildings were named after him. Even fast food restaurants have their billboards have the name Joaquín de Agüero emblazoned on their billboards.
- "Unidad básica Joaquín de Agüero, Camaguey". Painted signs and mosaics. Retrieved 15 June 2013.
- Tejera Diaz, Lucilo. "Joaquin de Aguero Showed Cubans the Path for Independence". acn cuban news agency. Retrieved 15 June 2013.