Martí was only 15 when he first entered the world of journalism. In that January 19th 1869, only nine days before turning 16, the Apostle along with his friend Fermín Valdés Domínguez acomplished his first journalistic work. “El Diablo Cojuelo” (The Crippled Devil) was the name of the publication, asort of flier edited at El Iris Bookstore and Printing, located on Obispo20-22 Street in Havana in a moment of freedom of press.
This newspaper had more patriotic value than those of literary or journalistic and represented a asign of acumulated defience, reason why it has been said that this publication is one of Martí´s marks among his “first manifestations in prose against the colonial regime and in favor of the Cuban independence”.
Only one copy of “El Diablo Cojuelo” was released due to limited freedom of press which as Martí reminded “… wasn´t neither wide enough to let us say as much as we wanted nor to piblish everything we heard”.
Several years after 1869, Fermín Valdés Domínguez stated that although he was the editor of “El Diablo Cojuelo”, the essence of the work had been created by Martí with the collaboration of Dr. Joaquín Núñez de Castro, Antonio Carrillo y O’Farrill, as well as himself´s.
This one of a kind publication, whose main article was written by Martí (as well as some of the others in the newspaper), ws characterized by using a language loaded with sharp humor and critizizing spirit, a reflection of the blistering sociolitical environment of the year.
Martí´s first steps in journalism had to be taken under the pseudonym of “El Diablo Cojuelo”, through the publication of “… anonymous fliers printed by kin editors”, but as he promised us in those very pages, in time it would be proved that “… this Devil wasn´t a devil at all, and the crippled part wasn´t so either”.
And what the Apostle promised “… daring to be a reckless and incisive writer”, he fulfilled: three days later, on January 22nd 1869 he created the publication “La Patria Libre” (Free Motherland) and several years later, on March 14th 1892 he founded “Patria” Newspaper (Motherland), his top creation in journalism.
Although Martí´s first steps in journalism were aparently as a “crippled devil”, his extensive journalistic work travelled at the speed of light and now a days is a lead for the world´s press.