Tall, elegant, refined cultivated, with a sweet and smiling mood, but also dominant and authoritative, Pedro Figueredo Cisneros —whom colleagues and friends called Perucho— left a positive imprint on the Cuban and universal culture.
From him Cubans received their National Anthem, which he wrote mounted on his horse; the people of Bayamo repeated it shouting, and then became a symbol of the nation.
This February it is the bicentennial of Perucho Figueredo´s birth. Cuban inherited from him courage, vigor and eagerness to fight for the sovereign nation.
For the cause of liberating Cuba from Spain, Perucho Figueredo did not accept the pardon which would free him from the death sentence imposed by the court-martial, and he preferred to die. He was shot on August 17, 1870, when he was 51 years old.
A Lesson of Patriotic Love
Sick, weak and powerless to walk to the firing wall, Perucho Figueredo asked for a carriage, and to humiliate him, he was forced to ride on an ass to the chosen place.
His executors mocked him, but the patrician from Bayamo answered serenely: “All right, all right; it won´t be the first Redeemer to ride an ass.” Upon arrival, he was ordered to kneel, but he firmly denied.
Again he showed his courage when struggling for a free Cuba, because as he once said, “The Island was lost to Spain.”
And just at the time of his execution, when the order to shoot was given and death was near, he left us the greatest lesson of patriotic love.
Then, Perucho Figueredo recalled the letter of the national anthem he had composed, and shouted: “To die for the nation is to live.”