Don Severo Canta-Claro newspaper 1873

Don Severo Canta-Claro newspaper 1873

Journalist, editor and founder of various periodicals on the island. His autonomist editorials and his criticisms of the Catholic church led to censorship of some of his publications by the Spanish government.

Mario Braschi was born January 19, 1840, in the town of Juana Díaz. He began his education in Coamo. As an adolescent, he went to Ponce where he began his work in journalism. In the beginning, he signed his reports and articles with the pseudonym “Riomar.” Later, he also used the names “Cantaclaro” and “Don Modesto.”

After the Glorious Revolution of 1868 in Spain, which was aimed at establishing a democratic regime and through which Spain and its territories acquired, among other things, freedom of the press, Braschi founded his first newspaper, Don Segundo Cantaclaro, in 1873. In it, he openly advocated for the abolition of slavery and criticized the Church’s abuses of power.

When the First Spanish Republic (1873 -1874) fell, censorship returned and Mario Braschi was forced to close the newspaper and flee the island. When he returned, after living in Venezuela and the United States, the government denied him a permit to found another newspaper. In 1876, however, he was able to found a publication in Ponce that was called El Heraldo del Trabajo. It was a farming and commerce weekly that also included short literary, scientific and artistic articles and disappeared at the end of 1880.

He also contributed to numerous publications of the era such as El Pueblo, La Civilización, La Crónica, El Derecho Popular, El Buscapié, La Revista de Puerto Rico, La Juventud Liberal and the Masonic magazine El Delta. He was also a member of the reading cabinet, a center that served as a library, conference room, archaeology museum and the site of talks by intellectuals. Liberal journalists such as Luis Muñoz Rivera, Román Baldorioty de Castro, José Ramón Abad and Ramón Marín met there.

In 1883, the Ponce Court sentenced him to six months in prison for publishing a translation of a French article about the Christianity of the Masons, which the government considered an attack on the Catholic church.

He later moved to Mayagüez, where he re-established La Razón in 1890. This liberal periodical had originally been founded in 1870 by José Ramón Freyre and contributors had included figures such as Manuel Fernández Juncos, José María Monge and Bonocio Tió, among others. Just as happened with Don Segundo Cantaclaro, it had ceased operations after the restoration of the authoritarian regime. Under the direction of Mario Braschi and Francisco Llavat, La Razón became the official publication of the Autonomist Party. Its final edition was published in 1891.

Mario Braschi’s journalistc work is scattered throughout the island’s periodicals. He was also the author of a satirical theatrical work titled Un duelo de siglos (1881).

He died December 28, 1891, in Mayagüez.

Author: Grupo Editorial EPRL
Published: September 12, 2014.

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