Original art: ModoGráfico

April 19, 1810 marked the end of a process that started in 1808, the year Napoleon invaded Spain. Not long had the horses of the napoleonic army been pasturing at leisure in the Iberian peninsula, when a judicial tempest broke out to determine the vessel of people’s sovereignty. If this vessel was Ferdinand VII, then sovereignty returned to the people when he was illegitimately replaced by José Bonaparte, since there was no pre-existent agreement of consent between them and the new monarch, either explicit or tacit. This was the argument that peninsular provinces asserted through the creation of Supreme Juntas; but in American provinces, the representatives of the Supreme Central Junta unfairly thought it could not happen the same way. This is why Regent Mosquera, sent from the metropolis, started a process of persecution against the first Junta constituted in Caracas, to the shock and dismay of loyal mantuano subjects, who could not understand why they were being persecuted for defending the deposed King and, also, for proceeding the same way that Spanish provinces did.

It appears that the peninsula saw the creation of American Juntas with distrust, which reveals a certain “bad conscience” from the metropolis, regarding American provinces. Moreover, there are abundant documents that expressed this distrust, emphasizing that the constitution of the Juntas would eventually lead to independence. So we are left with the following scenario: a sector loyal to the Crown that took the path of the Juntas, mirroring the peninsular institutions; another minority sector that could certainly glimpse in the Juntas a first step toward independence and, lastly, Regent Mosquera, who disregarded the former’s existence and viewed them with absolute distrust, without exceptions.

This episode highlighted the bulk of the difference, at times profound and others not so much, in the way the Crown treated overseas provinces. Not in vain, this is one of the main topics of the Jamaica Letter, dated in Kingston on September 6, 1815, where Bolívar remarks:

We are a small human community; we live in a different world, surrounded by great seas. We are young in the ways of almost all the arts and sciences, although, in a certain manner, we are old in the ways of civilized society. I look upon the present state of America as similar to that of Rome after its fall. Each part of Rome adopted a political system conforming to its interest and situation or was led by the individual ambitions of certain chiefs, dynasties, or associations. But this important difference exists: those dispersed parts later reestablished their ancient nations, subject to the changes imposed by circumstances or events. But we scarcely retain a vestige of what once was; we are, moreover, neither Indian nor European, but a species midway between the legitimate proprietors of this country and the Spanish usurpers. In short, though Americans by birth we derive our rights from Europe, and we have to assert these rights against the rights of the natives, and at the same time we must defend ourselves against the invaders. This places us in a most extraordinary and involved situation.

A paragraph later, he is even more explicit in the relation with the situation of white Creoles; he says:

Under the current Spanish system, and perhaps more strongly now than ever, Americans have no other place in society but that of slaves fit for work and, at best, that of mere consumers.

El Libertador spoke from his social condition; how could he do otherwise: he is speaking as a white creole. And they were the pioneers of the Independence movement; they were later joined by other social strata, it could even be said that some rather belatedly. The significance beats and breathes in the fact that the events in 1808 left mantuanos, who would later promote independence, no room for doubt that they were not treated the same as peninsular citizens. Being a white creole set them apart from the peninsula and this was evidently the port from which the ships would set out and reach the beaches of the republic’s creation.

“La ley respetando la virtud y honor” refers to the Spanish virtue and honor, not the French; and “el pobre en su choza” demands freedom from the napoleonic rule, not the Spanish crown.

Once the Mosquera affair was resolved, when the Central Junta replaced him and restored the honor of caraqueños framed as criminals, the Regency of Spain invalidated all Juntas, so the problem returned to the starting point. Ferdinand VII’s subjects did not accept another King. This is the cornerstone of the events in April 19, 1810, when the Parliament of Caracas, presided by Martín Tovar Ponte and José de las Llamozas, enforced the popular sovereignty residing in the City Council. Then the Junta for the Defense of the Rights of Ferdinand VII was created and Captain General Vicente Emparan along with the other officials of the deposed Crown were invited to join, but they did not support the project. However, they signed the Declaration of April 19 and in the following days, they left the province of Venezuela, which was still a year away from being a republic.

Not all Parliament members and signatories of the Declaration were the same who created the Junta in 1808, and no doubt the Junta of 1810 was even less loyal to Spain than the former. Mosquera’s abuses were not ignored. These are the days of the “Gloria al bravo pueblo,” which refers to these events and so “la ley respetando la virtud y honor” refers to the Spanish virtue and honor, not the French; and “el pobre en su choza” demands freedom from the napoleonic rule, not the Spanish crown. This comes from the wonderful study made by Alberto Calzavara about the History of Music in Venezuela, just like the matter of the so-called “mantuano plot” is sufficiently studied by Inés Quintero in the eponymous book.

It is true that these events of constitutional identity held the seed of the Republic of 1811, but these men were not doing this for their revolutionary fervor, as certain historiography claims. They were defending their King and stated that sovereignty resided on the people represented by Parliament, and this is why they did not accept any other monarch, without their consent.

A different story started on April 19, 1810, and ended on July 5, 1811. The fifteen months between one and the other were crucial for Venezuela. On the one hand, the constituted Junta issued a proclamation on April 27, clearly stating the causes that led to the Junta’s creation:

We have the same reasons to imitate the attempts of our brothers in Europe, which so far we have only admired, the same justice sustains us, the same energy with which we must vindicate our violated rights…

Later, the same Junta headed by José de las Llamozas and Martín Tovar Ponte, with Juan Germán Roscio already working as Secretary of State, issued a speech and a call for elections to choose the lawmakers of the entire Capitanía General who would complete the work done by caraqueños on April 19, 1810. This call was made on June 11, 1810, and it explained that the main is the one I just mentioned: give national reach to what was done in the capital and to hand the fate of the Capitanía General and the appointment of its authorities to people’s sovereignty.

Those who see the actors of April 19, 1810 as revolutionaries are exaggerating; those who point out that the process started in 1808, came to a head in 1810 and concluded on July 5, 1811 are right.

The Regulation for the Election of Lawmakers established the method for parishioners to choose lawmakers, and how many corresponded to each district. It established that, once elected, the lawmakers would create the General Deputation Junta of the Venezuelan Provinces. This was the first election held in the free Venezuela. It was indirect, second-grade, and restricted to men over 25 and owners, which evidently, reduced the electoral universe considerably. The elected lawmakers met on March, 1811, and what would originally become the aforementioned Junta, became the Constituent Congress of Venezuela, which would declare the independence on July 5, 1811, and would appoint Juan Germán Roscio and Francisco Isnardi to draft the National Constitution of 1811, sanctioned by the Legislative Branch on December 23 of that year.

Once we’ve made a cursory review of this process, we can conclude that, certainly, starting on April 19, 1810, the province of Venezuela made a government for itself, even though it was through the creation of a Junta to defend the rights of a deposed king. And this is a clear expression of the freedom that inspired the actions of these men, once sovereignty reverted back to them, after the events of Bayona, the place where Napoleon received the claudication of Carlos IV and set a trap for Ferdinand VII, which left his brother José as Emperor of Spain. So starting on April 19, 1810, the members of the province of Venezuela elected their first authorities (de las Llamozas and Tovar) and the Junta established the legal framework for the election of the first lawmakers chosen in 1811, who in turn approved the first National Constitution which served as the basis for electing the first Triumvirate in charge of the Executive Branch, with Cristóbal de Mendoza as the first of the three in exercising the Presidency.

Those who see the actors of April 19, 1810 as revolutionaries are exaggerating; those who point out that the process started in 1808, came to a head in 1810 and concluded on July 5, 1811 are right. It’s important to remember that there were many hues, that the thirst for independence was not unanimous at first. Reality is always complex, believing that it can be organized simplistically, in reductionist black-and-white plots, is the expression of a poor view of the world or even worse, a selfish, ideological view, seeking to reshape reality to its will. Both stances distort the truth, a treasure that is already quite complex to find and a titanically difficult to reach. Since there are always a myriad interpretations about history, we must return over and over to these events, to prevent the black hand of misrepresentation from changing facts. This is what I’ve modestly tried to do for you in this memorable date.

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24 COMMENTS

  1. That’s right. Venezuela’s longtime Super-Hero, Simon Bolivar was a Burguesito Sifrino Capitalista of the highest caliber. Pro-Spain. Elite among the Elite. Highly Educated. Creme de la creme.

    But of course, as always, Chavistas have exploited the Massive Ignorance of the Populace and totally corrupted Bolivar’s true identity to fit their avaricious goals of domination. He is now viewed by the Clueless Masses as a Pueblo guy, a super-hero from the pueblo, para el pueblo, which is simply false. Bolivar was smart, elitist, educated, as all Leaders must be. Leaders cannot be ‘otro mas del pueblo”, sorry to say. Leaders must be brighter, smarter, better educated, with higher moral values, (perhaps richer too, why not, they won’t need to steal if they are billionaires already). Leader must be like Leopoldo Lopez, Harvard Educated, or at least MCM, not the Populachero Capriles, and much much less Chabestias like the Colombian bus driver. And then EDUCATE the clueless pueblo, until they understand they must study and work hard to EARN a better life and become Elite themselves. Then, and only then, you have Elite Countries, with educated people, like Chile, Norway or Britain.

    Yet another example of how Populism and neo-tropical Kleptocracies exploit the Galactic Ignorance of the masses. In “school” they straight-up LIE. Even before Chavismo, before MPJ, we were all LIED to in school about the “national heroes” and crap. Just to manipulate the under-educated populace. Keep them misinformed, lie to them, keep them clueless and subservient.. There’s God, Bolivar, and Chavez. Therefore, they are right, and you, little pueblo guy, must obey, while we – the Enchufado Liars – get filthy rich and stay in power forever. As simple as that.

    Massive Ignorance in Kleptozuela is no bliss, as this history article illustrates. It’s precisely because of massive ignorance that Chavismo and Populism emerged are are still destroying nations worldwide, notably Kleptozuela as worst-case scenario of just how tragic, how lethal total cluelessness can be.

    • I’ve read that Bolivar was a huge admirer of Thomas Jefferson, and Jefferson was as bourgeois intellectual as they come.

      Being smart and rich doesn’t necessarily make you an unjust despot.

      • Ira
        Just a small factoid about Jefferson. He was elite, but not wealthy due to his habit of living the high life.
        In David McCullough’s biography of John Adams, he goes deep into the rivalry (hatred) that developed between the two men. Adams lost all of his money at one point with bad investments but was able to rebuild a modicum of wealth before he died.
        Jefferson died in debt. His debt was roughly the same amount as Adams’ estate.
        Jefferson earned great wealth during his life but had a taste for the finer things in life. Jefferson simply lived beyond his means.
        Adams by contrast lived a very modest life.
        It is a good lesson for many “rich” nations, especially the US.

      • They envy anyone who owns anything.

        In VZ these days, they envy EVERYONE. Whether it’s toilet paper, condoms, rice, beef, pork, chicken, Tampons…

        Wait. I’m just one man. And I simply don’t have the time or energy to come close to creating the full list.

      • Being a slaveowner at that time wasn’t a stigma. It was the times.

        But according to the history us Americans are taught (I saw the movies too!), Jefferson fought for the anti-slavery sentiment in the Continental Congress, and its verbiage in the Declaration of Independence, which you know he wrote.

        Even though he owned slaves.

        But who knows for sure? And it really doesn’t matter.

        The end result is the same. What he wrote and espoused resulted in the abolition of slavery…eventually…in the states.

      • pretty much, not being able to own property, not being able to profit from labour and depend on a state to support your entire well being is equally valid for a slave and for a “emancipated” communist worker

        But venezuelans have it worse than slaves, because feeding a slave and clothing him, housing him, etc is much more expensive than paying a salary to a professional in Venezuela. Being a slave would be an improvement for most wage workers in venezuela since their earning are not enough to even eat daily.

      • pretty much, living comunally in state property, not being able to own private property, not being able to profit from labour and being dependant on a state to support your entire well being is what communist strives for, literally their ideals, and that is exactly the condition a slave lives in. No difference whatsoever

        But venezuelans have it worse than slaves, because feeding a slave and clothing him, housing him, etc is much more expensive than paying a salary to a professional in Venezuela. Being a slave would be an improvement for most wage workers in venezuela since their earning are not enough to even eat daily.

    • just like his great great great grandson Leopoldo Lopez. the biggest mistake made in VE was an inability to spread the wealth. the Marxist took advantage of that.

  2. Contrary to common beliefs Venezuela was never a spanish colony , because legally the state of loyal subordination was not to Spain as a country (and its institutions) but to the person of the spanish sovereign, thus when the king was dethroned unlawfully by Bonaparte, obeyance to the rule of spanish institutions ceased to be binding and sovereignty devolved on the locals acting on behalf of the dethroned king .
    The institutions of colonial rule wanted to keep things as they were even if the king was dethroned , assuming that the detrhonement of the legitimate spanish king did nothing to alter the relationship between the american subjects of the king and the spanish colonial administrative authorities which now could continue to operate even if the new king was a french usurper ‘ …… . Efforts were made to maintain the american subjects obedient to the colonial administrative authorities regardless of the legitimate kings dethronement , but to many obeying the traditional colonial administration (including Captain General Emparan who contrary to most beliefs was actually very popular and liked and of liberal views and loved Venezuela ) which they feared might involve ultimately having to adopt the ideas of liberty and equality of the french revolution which they abhorred was not acceptable , instead they took the position that if there was no longer a king to rule over them then they would take control of government from the traditional colonial administrative bodies …..
    The idea was not yet one of becoming an independent country unthetered to the authority of the king of spain once he was restored to his throne but of keeping the french influenced administration out and waiting for the king to return and go back to becoming his loyal subjects .
    Mean time there were mantuanos who started thinking that they might gain something from making themselves wholly independent from both spanish colonial administration and the king of spain , these were divided into two groups , those who wanted to keep the country for themselves to rule without the burden of a spanish colonial administration who prevented them from smuggling or from treating the inferior orders and they arrogangly preferred and some of more advanced views who wanted to establish an independent republic dedicated to the enlightment principles embodied by the US republic and the french revolution . Two or three of the provinces (Maracaibo, Coro ..) decided not to follow Caracas lead of declaring themselves independent from the rule of the spanish colonial administration despite the dethronement of the legitimate king , but decided to remain loyal to colonial administrators even if there was no king….Caracas once it declared itself independent of spanish colonial control but faithful to the deposed king then slowly evolved towards the view that they should become wholly independent even if the king was restored which led a year later to the total independence of Venezuela and the foundation of an independent republic ……..This did not sit well with many mantuanos and pardos who thought that loyalty to the king was to be maintained , when a war essued most pardos and quite a few Mantuanos fought against the forces that wanted total independence ( even if led by Spanish leaders) so our war of independence was really a civil war ………, !! the true process of independence took many more years when most of the population who formerly had supported the kings cause slowly came over to the idea that total independence was desirable!! but thats a different story…!!

  3. Every nation has its epic birth narrative. These are often based only loosely in fact. As well, the narrative often changes with the times and the needs of the political establishment. Venezuela is not the only country whose national narrative is not historically accurate.

  4. I have read a few accounts of those times. A curious thing is some Venezuelans pretended Emparan represented the French powers, which is not true. He was in fact loyal to the king , he actually got out of French-occupied Spain once he heard the French wanting to appoint him as governor of Venezuela
    and he went to Seville, intending to join the forces against the French but he found out the Junta loyal to the king ordered him to go to Venezuela too…so he was doomed either way to go to Venezuela…he obeyed, not very happy about it.
    I suggest you to read the article in Spanish about Emparan in Wikipedia, even if it is not the best source.

    More interesting is what Venezuelan José Domingo Díaz wrote about the events.
    Again, you can find his book in Google books.

    The “revolutionaries”, among other things, spent the budget of a year in just a couple of months where they mostly had vast luxurious parties.

    These poeta criollo guy again uses the word Kleptozuela ad nauseam
    and thinks Bolivar was really creme de la creme. In reality he does not differ that much in his personality cult from the people he so proundly despises. Bolivar was indeed very rich but not precisely
    a person capable of governing a country. His actions even after the war produced economic chaos. His handling of the economy was a disaster. He also gave away Venezuela to the military caste
    and to British interests. He had the attention span of Hugo Chávez.

    One of the most productive Venezuelans of those times was the really smart inventor Carlos del Pozo, who remained loyal to the union with Spain and died a very poor old man during our civil war called independencia.

    All in all the movement of independence from Spain became stronger when the Spanish Americans from Mexico to Argentina realised Spain wanted to introduced a more equal society.

    Our so called independence was rather a movement to remain feudal. At the end of the day obscurantism prevailed on both sides of the Spanish speaking world, the improvements of the last decades of the XVIII century disappeared. The disarray allowed the USA soon to start invading half of Mexico and both British and Anglo American forces to meddle in our America.

    Neither Spanish Americans nor Spanish Europeans were ready to
    have a more open society.

    • My God:

      Can you ever do a single post where you’re not cutting and pasting to seem smarter than everyone else? Although your family background is Nazi?

      What?

      You wrote 12 paragraphs analyzing history? But won’t write three words about your Nazi past?

      • Ira, this will sound snarky and sarcastic, but I mean it most sincerely:

        Get some fucking help. As in mental health-wise.

      • Ira:
        You must be referring to the erstwhile (and I’m being kind here) self styled “poet” that lurks here under several nics.

        I can smell the bourbon from here old son.

  5. Lot of Bolívar bashing in these comments… If you want the result of a more “professional and egalitarian” nation, look to Colombia, who called Bolívar a tyrant and hated him. The result was a disdainful oligarchy and a level of social distinction that inevitably led to things like social cleansing and the FARC and which Venezuela, more prone to Bolívar style innocent megalomanía and feeling of brotherhood even with men of different social casts. They can keep their económic success if it maintains that level of social tension.

    As for the first republic, under Bolívar, the process that would take the war from a civil one to one against the empire took us, by the time of the fourth, to a very different, new society of admittetly disfunctional brothers.

    This tensión between revolutionary and royalist mantuanos became moot by the time Bolívar was exchanging letters with madmen on horses in the plains.

  6. And speaking of equality, it is those who scream most hysterically about it that least believe in it. Like in the US, where all these people see is, ironically, the color of peoples’ skin, pulling their hair out at racism, while treating the underclasses of society with utter disdain and even hate.

    In Venezuela some people do say “maldito negro,” though it is mostly European immigrants from the XX century and their descendants that do this, but those very people later that night are drinking themselves to the ground arm in arm with those “malditos negros,” singing the same songs and laughing at the same stories.

    • I am 100% certain that a black person in the US has more economic freedom and suffers less ostracism and impediments than any venezuelan citizen of any race, including white. They can´t get over the victimhood and the same speech they had 50+ years ago when there actually was a systemic impediment and the jim crow laws. But the left is anachronistic and exploits that, just how they teach anyone to blame it all on the empire and the colony 200 years ago.

      You are also really naive (trying hard not to say dumb) if you think racism in venezuela is just a silly joke or an out of hand comment here and there. I experienced all kinds of ostracism and insults just for being “too white” and for my parents having a different accent, ironically if i ever spoke something remotely similar against another person´s etnicity i would get grounded inmediatly, us evol european whiteys. I can also speak for colombians, chinese, arabs, etc who i have witnessed receiving similar treatment.

      Making fun of colombian maids and peruvian people was like a hobby for venezuelans, this is actually one of the most racist countries ever, as every single etnicity does it, from criollos to black people, they all partake.

  7. Whatever Emparans personal views might have been , when he acepted the job of Captain General of Venezuela he was representing the regular spanish colonial authorities not any self constituted local junta for the defense of the rights of King Ferdinad VII , thus when he was forced to resign his job on April 19 , he was replaced by one such junta which produced the effect of making Caracas and other neighboring provinces independent from the said spanish authorities ……..but always maintaining their alliance to the dethroned king. The situation in Spain was very fluid and confusing (with different authorities acting in tandem including some loyal to the newly appointed french king ) , this caused a very real fear that ultimately not constituting a local Junta would result in the spanish colonial authorities accepting the usurpers authority and bringing in the much abhorred ideas of the french revolution . There were two provinces or three that did not recognize the authority of the Caracas Junta so the head of the colonial administration in Havana sent a a lawyer by the name of Heredia to Venezuela to try and effect a reconciliation between the confronted provinces , the Coro authorities however did not allow him to travel to Caracas and after the Caracas junta declared an independent republic the effort to reconcile these provinces turned impossible and the effort was abandoned. This lawyer Heredia a man of great integrity left a book in which he relates his experience during his time in Venezuela and its clear from this book that when Monteverde arrived with his tiny force from Puerto Rico to squash the incipient republic he landed in Coro and begun from there an ultimately succesfu campaign agains the defenders of the new republic in Caracas. What then begun was a civil war in which most pardos and quite a few mantuanos took up the the cause of the spanish king while Caracas and a mayority of mantuanos (including Bolivar) took up the cause of an independent republic guided by the ideals of the US republic and the french revolution . The war lasted 10 years and was extremely barbaric bloody savage and destructive leaving a totally devastated Venezuela , most mantuanos were decimated and those that survived lost the hold on local power they once had opening the door to many low born creoles and pardos who as military caudillos won a position of power during the war… It was not Bolivars choice to create the dozen of military cliques that emerged to positions of power after the war , the civilians who could contribute the most to building a new republic lacked the strenght to make themselves felt when the war had converted Venezuela into a ruin. The text to read is Tomas Strakas chapter ‘reflexiones a dos siglos del XIX de abril’ from his book La Republica Fragmentada…

  8. Do you think Venezuela avoided the mess of Colombia because of Bolivar? I am not sure. Venezuela had lots of oil and few people in the XX century. That helped buy peace to a big extent.
    If we look at the whole of Spanish America and not just through the lense of Venezuela during its oil boom we will see we were not better off than many. Slavery was abolished later in Venezuela than in Colombia and other S. American countries.
    El General en su laberinto or Lanzas Coloradas might not be the best sources to have an image of who Bolivar was, I think.

  9. Independence proved to be a mistake. Just some local warlords and caudillos that didn´t want to pay taxes or be regulated. It meant jack for the population, who could only choose to get killed by one side or the other, even slaves remained the same afterwards, they just became debt servants instead of slaves, a lot got it even worse than before and the nation had to endure the civil wars.

    Fuck Simon Bolivar , really, fuck all caudillos, that is the mentality that keeps venezuela as it is, Bolivar wanted centralism, now 200 years later is still tabu for arguing against it.

    Miranda was probably the best of the proceres and he got betrayed by the napoleon wanabee that was Bolivar.

  10. pretty much, living comunally in state property, not being able to own private property, not being able to profit from labour and being dependant on a state to support your entire well being is what communist strives for, literally their ideals, and that is exactly the condition a slave lives in. No difference whatsoever

    But venezuelans have it worse than slaves, because feeding a slave and clothing him, housing him, etc is much more expensive than paying a salary to a professional in Venezuela. Being a slave would be an improvement for most wage workers in venezuela since their earning are not enough to even eat daily.

  11. One thing to understand is that the idea of cutting the cord that bound us to spain was not a popular one except among the Mantuanos and a few others . so when Monteverde arrived of the coast of coro with less that 200 soldier from Puerto Rico to lead the loyalist response to the independent Republic he had little trouble amassing a great deal of popular support and ultimately squashing the rebellion .

    The Mantuanos were not totally united in their view of the republic they saw as replacing spanish monarchical rule , the process whereby the mantuaos themselves finally took over the cause of total independence was a complex and tortuous one . Bolivar represented that Mantuano wing which ideas were closest to the ideals of the newly formed US republic and the french revolution .but he was not at heart a total equalitarian or democratic man , he was more in the mould of Washington and Hamilton and Adams in the US who saw abstract equality as desirable but saw rule by the lower orders with a great deal of suspicion. Modern notions of democratic rule were unknown to most of the founders both in the US and Latam ……!!

    What no one counted on was that the insurgence woke up the despised pardo giant from its slumber and that such giant led by popular spanish born leaders would declare war on the Mantuanos (and against any one white of skin who knew how to read and write) and transform itself into a barbaric chaotic movement which sought nothing less than a genocidal war ….the result was that the mantuano class was wiped out not only as an autonomous and commanding social force but physically as well .

    The loyalist were not formal elements of the spanish army or of spanish colonial administrative cadres , these in fact were largely ignored , they were brutal mobs of people led by natural leaders who went so far as to forcibly shut aside the latter , Heredia tried protecting the lives and rights of insurgent to no avail…, we went through a veritable bloodbath , one fourth of Venezuelas population died as a result of the war or of starvation ….., the economy which was fragile even at the best of times depended on the cocoa plantations and these were abandoned as slaves took up the loyalist cause which had given them their freedom to recruit them as soliders in the kings cause and as the mantuanos who owned them were either killed or exiled during the early stages of the war.

    Bolivar was devoted to most enlightment ideals but the conditions created by the war were savage and barbaric and created a maelstrom of chaos which could only be contained (barely) thru the exercise of an authoritarian style of command . The men who rose to prominence from this brutal war were not enlightened merchants or lawyers but strong men of action accostumed to the exigencies of a brutal war.

    I suspect that Bolivar although sincere in his belief in the abstract ideals of the enlightment was no democrat in the way we understand today , Juan Uslar relates on his book on the independence war during the year 1814 an revelatory anectode , As bolivar approached Caracas at the end of the Campana Admirable the loyalist sent a fellow mantuano officer to parlay with him on the terms for the surrender of Caracas , the officer on meeting him accused bolivar of catering to the often wild conceit of the pardo and slave population to which bolivar replied that he did so because the patriotic cause needed their help but that although he was a democrat here (pointing towards his lips) he was an aristocrat there (pointing to his heart) ….., however he showed again and again in the way he promoted pardo officers to higher ranks and recognized their merits that he did believe in the equality of all men , otherwise he would not have raised someone like Flores to head of civil and military authority in Ecuador , someone who had negroid features and was formerly a barber living in the town of Puerto Cabello. or his extravagance when in a party a dark skinned officer of his troops was denied an dance invitation by light skinnd lady and he himself invited the officer to dance in the midst of the party …….

  12. Very interesting post! Thanks to the author. I am probably one of those here with the least deep knowledge of Venezuelan history, so this is very helpful to me.

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