On October 10, 1868 the chime of the bell at the Demajagua Sugar Plantation in the eastern city Cuba was heard. Carlos Manuel de Cespedes, main figure behind an uprising in that region, gathered a group of followers, freed his slaves and read out a proclamation of independence.
The war against Spanish colonialism had begun, and its causes were exposed in the first great document of the time: The Manifest of the Revolutionary Committee of the Island of Cuba or the October 10th Manifesto.
The text did not leave any doubts as to the objectives of the struggle.
There was no possibility of negotiating any type of peaceful understanding with Spain, only absolute independence. Another declaration of principles present in the Manifesto was the use of the term "equality," along with "freedom." Cespedes immediately applied the declaration by freeing his slaves and asking them to join the struggle for full equality with whites.
However, hopes of attracting aristocratic sectors into the movement led to more moderate statements in the text of the Manifesto. Here it expressed the desire of the gradual abolition of slavery and with compensation for the "property."
On October 10, Cespedes and the forces that accompanied him remained in Demajagua waiting for news from the rest of the group in the eastern city of Manzanillo. After receiving the news, the governor of the city deployed forces with the objective of preventing any internal support.
The Cuban leader, without re-enforces, decided to move to Bayamo. At 1 am, on October 11, the rebel troops left with an exploration patrol to the vanguard. Its first objective was to control the town of Yara and continue enlarging the independence troops.
At 5 pm, from the outskirts of Yara, the rebels urged the forces in a small garrison to surrender, but a re-enforcement group from the Spanish column prevented the victory. The Spanish troops attacked the independence forces.
The inexperienced combatants dispersed and Cespedes was left with 11 men.
Pessimism took control of the spirits of the men to the point of hearing a voice say: "Everything has been lost," to which the Revolutionary leader responded, "We still have 12 men, enough to obtain the independence of Cuba".
The commitment of the warriors was sealed with the definitive independence of Cuba. Yara was the first defeat that the independence troops suffered, as the press identified the action with the independence revolt.
From this day the press would incorrectly call the uprising the "Grito de Yara," when in reality the uprising was held the day before in Demajagua, place where the "declaration" of the Cuban homeland was heard for the first time in history.