During the eighties, Key West was the most important center for organized nationalist activism and established a distinct and radical revolutionary identity and ideology. Key West Cubans debated how to revive the rebellion, routinely urging new strategies and tactics. José D. Poyo believed that audacious and courageous men capable of inspiring the Cuban people through a combination of guerrilla and conventional warfare would spark a new rebellion. Numerous fighters responded, including veteran Generals Máximo Gómez and Antonio Maceo, who relied heavily on Key West resources. Throughout the previous decade the Cuban republic-in-arms looked to the middle class professional and even wealthy Cubans in New York for leadership and guidance, but after 1880 they lost confidence in any immediate revolutionary solution to the Cuban situation, most prominently the young activist José Martí. Key West acted alone and though the Gómez-Maceo initiative failed in 1886, Poyo and the traditional leadership continued to advocate and organize for an immediate revolution.
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