Every year, a few days before July 5, military planes fly over Caracas. The usual comment within this context is “They’re rehearsing for the July 5 parade,” the traditional celebration that commemorates July 5, 1811. Military promotions take place on that day, too.

And yet, July 5, 1811, wasn’t the date of any military deed. On the contrary, it was essentially a civilian event with hardly any military implications.

See: On July 5, 1811, Venezuela declared its independence from the Spanish monarchy in the General Congress, the first civilian parliament installed in Venezuela (there are no military parliaments), which would go on to issue the first Venezuelan Constitution (third of the modern world, after the American and French) later that year.

And yet, July 5, 1811, wasn’t the date of any military deed.

But the Declaration of Independence is an argument for the political reasons why Venezuelan elites thought that after the Napoleonic invasion of Spain, there was no justification for the government of this “land of grace” to remain subject to the Spanish Crown. Neither Simón Bolívar nor José Antonio Páez, both soldiers, are signatories on the Declaration of Independence.

Therefore, despite what would seem as evidence in a country with a long history of military governments, the foundational event of this Republic was essentially civilian.

For instance, there are no references to “assymetrical wars” in this fundamental paragraph of the Declaration of Independence:

“Considering all of these solid, public and undeniable political reasons, which so clearly show the need to recover the natural dignity that the order of events has restored for us, through the unalienable rights that all people have to destroy any pact, agreement or association that does not fulfill the purpose for which all governments are instituted; we believe that we cannot and should not preserve the ties that bound us to the Spanish government, and that, as all people in the world, we are free and able to forego dependency to any other authority but our own, and to take among the powers of the earth, the equal place that the Supreme Being and nature have reserved for us and to which the development of human events and our own benefit and utility inspire us.”

Venezuela’s formal declaration of independence from the Spanish Crown is signed in a room, not on a battlefield.

This reflects the best ideas of a modern civilian government and, as such, Venezuela’s formal declaration of independence from the Spanish Crown is signed in a room, not on a battlefield.

The document is particularly clear in its last paragraph:

“Thus, we, on behalf of and by the will and authority vested in us by the virtuous people of Venezuela, hereby solemnly declare to the world that its United Provinces are, and must be henceforth, in fact and in law, free, sovereign and independent States and that they are absolved from all submission and dependency to the Spanish Crown or to those who claim to be its representatives; and that as a free and independent State, it has full power to give itself any form of government that respects the general will of its people, declare war, make peace, form alliances, arrange agreements on trade, borders and navigation, make and execute all other acts that free and independent nations make and execute.”

It’s true that the process of independence, which was originally civilian, was later consolidated through a military process, but that has nothing to do with July 5; the military celebration which has become tradition, is in fact anachronistic. The main celebration should take place at the National Assembly, the successor of the General Congress, where independence was declared and the Declaration was signed.

Venezuela wasn’t born a military Republic: It was born from civilian ideas defended at the Santa Rosa de Lima Seminary Chapel, by civilians.

It shouldn’t be a military parade.

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13 COMMENTS

  1. Jesus fucking Christ.

    I can’t believe how people are going back to 1811 to explain anything.

    It’s fucking 2018, so deal with the present,

    No offense, but past VZ history in this context is pretty worthless.

    • @Ira “I can’t believe how people are going back to 1811 to explain anything.”

      i think THAT is a problem.

      There’s this brilliant quote of Shakespeare’s that has become popular, especially among history nerds. “Past is Prologue.”

      What happened before set the stage for where we are now, and what came before. As such, I do think looking back at history- even far back- is very instructive and useful to explain things. After all, if we don’t use history to explain it, what else can we do?

      And another thing that comes to mind is that beyond using the past as explanation, one can use the past as inspiration. After all, that’s what we all did here in America on the Fourth. And I’ve been waxing poetic a great deal about the likely value of armed resistance.

      So I do think CC can do an AWFUL LOT WORSE than looking back to 1811.

      And while I do think that going as far back isn’t the most helpful when it comes to explaining Chavismo and Venezuela today (unlike how talking about Kings Henry, Richard, and John against France’s King Phillip helps set the stage for the Hundred Years’ War so helpfully), I do think it is still of some help.

  2. Jesus fucking Christ,

    I do not want to hear about history.I am too stupid and do not have the attention span or patience to read about history.I would prefer we read about the following things:
    a) Trump invading Venezuela
    b) Trump Steaks
    c) Whatever Fox News says is true
    d) Cheeseburgers and matzo ball soup

    No offense but past VZ history is worthless.We need to talk about America and NASCAR lineup for next weeks race and how the libtards and democrats hate America.

    • @Ira likes boys

      I suppose we should all be glad that you’ve moved on from using “homosexual” as a slur into using “pedophile.” Truly you aren’t very smart, even when making a point (listen to history) I can agree with.

      • @Ira likes boys….whatever your opinion of It’s may be, the reference to “Matzah ball soup” was hitting below the belt in my opinion. I have no idea what ethnicity or religion Ira or anyone else that participates in these conversations may be and it doesn’t matter. If you question someone’s intelligence on these posts that is one thing but to make assumptions and start making references that relate to a particular ethnicity or religion is a different level of wrong.

  3. Ira, the Supreme Law of the United States of America is the US Constitution. It was written in 1787.

    You can freely express your thoughts (here in the comments section of CC for example) without fear of a knock on the door by your friendly neighborhood Gestapo. Why? Because your right of free speech is inshrined in that document.

    Do I need to go on about some other Constitutional rights you enjoy?

  4. Some levity

    Since July 4th was a big blowout here, and The Uncles (expat wife’s uncles) were in the mood to keep celebrating independence for everyone (euphemism for, “didn’t want to have to sober up”) we decided to take a “guys day” up to see a ball game last night (July 5). Lots of Venezuelans play béisbol I am told. Twins v. Orioles at Target Field.

    I pick these two goofs up, drinking since they got out of bed, and they can’t stop talking about the greatest beisboleros they have ever met. Themselves included. Because if it weren’t for (insert this injury) or (insert that circumstance) they would have been playing MLB béisbol and been in the Hall of Fame. Did I mention that they couldn’t make the 1.5 hour journey to the ballpark without their giant jug of “juice”? Something with rum and a little more rum with a dash of rum. Despite the fact that we have an open bottle law, apparently it doesn’t apply to them if they are sitting in the backseat and SOMEONE ELSE (me) is driving.

    ANYWAY, we get there, and these guys have been drinking and texting every Venezuelan buddy they know in Minnesota and it turns out that they are going to meet some other expats at a bar near the stadium for a few drinks, then come in for the game.

    Anyone want to take a guess on the outcome? (besides the score?)

    What the Hell is with you Venezuelans and partying? My God, I don’t even drink and my liver hurts just watching you all. I got to the bar to pick them up just before they cops arrived to clear out the bar. Blissfully, they both passed out and my 20 year old son and I didn’t have to listen to their outrageous stories of youthful indiscretions with beautiful Venezuelan women AGAIN. But I didn’t know humans could snore so loud and not wake the person next to them up. BOTH OF THEM. At least they didn’t puke in the backseat.

    Happy Independence Day!

    • @Guapo…at least you and your son got to enjoy the game without having to babysit a couple of drunk uncle’s. They might have gotten all of you tossed out of the ballpark! Lol

      • I had an idea that they weren’t going to make it to the ball park when I first picked them up. Which is why I didn’t get them tickets for the game. This has happened before. Actually, it always happens. It was just an excuse for a bunch of old expats to get together and drink themselves silly and scream at a big screen TV at a bar. That they didn’t have to drive was all they needed for an excuse.

        I doubt a single story told all night at that bar had 20% truth to it.

        • In the end an enjoyable evening was had by all (except for listening to the snoring on the way home)….you and your son at the game and the two uncle’s at the bar! Lol

  5. It’s not just a Field of Dreams regarding Venezuelans playing baseball in US. One of the few times our media will consistently report about social unrest in Venezuela is when it involves professional baseball players. In 2011 one of the young stars, Wilson Ramos, was kidnapped while at his home in Maracaibo. He was subsequently “rescued” which was assumed to mean a ransom was paid. In February of this year Ana Soto, the 72-year old mother of Pittsburgh Pirate Elias Diaz, was kidnapped in Maracaibo. Venezuelan “Special Forces” rescued her three days after the kidnapping. No one familiar with information on the CC will be surprised to learn that she was found in the house of a local Zulia policeman. In all, according to US press, five Zulia police and one of her neighbors have been jailed and charged with the kidnapping. There were many more incidents between the two I’ve cited. The game El Guapo’s uncles didn’t see had 8 Venezuelans on the Orioles/Twins rosters, but more Dominicans and Puerto Ricans which I believe is pretty consistent with the rest of the teams. Minnesota Twins have always had numerous Latino players. They just love leaving their warm Caribbean lands for the frozen tundra. Actually, for some reason, the Venezuelans and others all seem to buy homes in Florida or Texas. Twenty or thirty days in the winter at -20(F) or lower drove me from the Iron Range all the way south to Iowa.

  6. @ASA058…can’t blame you for heading south but you stopped too soon. If you had continued south for another two or three states you would have been out of the snowbelt pretty much completely! Lol.

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