Latin Heritage Foundation Celebrates Enrique Jose Varona’s 167th Anniversary

Cuban philosopher Enrique Jose Varona and University “Enrique Jose Varona”Online PR News – 25-November-2016 – New York, NY – Enrique Jose Varona is one of the most influential Cuban intellectuals of the late nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth century. He was born on April 13, 1849 in the village of Santa Maria of Puerto Principe, in the present province of Camaguey, Cuba; and died in November 13, 1933, in Havana. He had an extraordinary influence on Cuban education, culture and society after the end of Spanish colonial rule on the Cuban island, and became an icon of the Cuban youth of the 1930s for his incorruptibility and patriotism.

He founded the Conservative Party, which he presided over and accompanied Major General Mario Garcia Menocal as vice president when he was elected president of Cuba. Since an early age, he studied the classics of ancient Greek and Latin, and Spanish and modern writers. He completed a bachelor degree in Institute of Matanzas, in 1891, and a Bachelor and Doctor in Philosophy and Letters, in University of Havana, in 1892 and 1893, with the thesis “The Positivist moral and the evolutionist one”, which comprises two aspects of his philosophical preferences: Positivism and Darwin’s theory of evolution.

““What a tyrant is made of? Of the vileness of many and the cowardice of all.” -Enrique Jose Varona”

After the death of Jose Marti, Varona was the editor of “Patria”. He was a member of the National Academy of Arts and Letters, Royal Academy of Medical, Physical and Natural Sciences of Havana, and of the Anthropological Society of Cuba, of which he was President, and Honorary Professor of the University of Havana and Honorary President of the Academy of History of Cuba. He was a member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences of the University of Havana. He collaborated in national and foreign publications.

When the military intervention of United States in 1898 Hispanic-Cuban conflict, Varona believed the intervention would be beneficial to Cuba. He was welcomed by Governor Leonardo Wood together with the Cuban intellectuals who returned to the island in order to participate in the reconstruction of the Cuban nation. He was appointed Secretary of Public Instruction and Treasury, and entrusted with the reform of Cuban secondary and university education.

Varona began the publication of his philosophical conferences on psychology, sociology and moral philosophy, in which he emphasized his positivist criteria as a tool to oppose the directions of Spanish thought and in favor of Cuban ideals.

From the perspective of philosophical positivism, Varona reformed Cuban middle and higher education by putting into practice his basic pedagogical criteria. (Gualdo Hidalgo, publisher)
Author: Monika Donimirska

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