Chavez S Inspiration Simon Bolivar

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Simon Bolivar (1783-1830) is a Latin American folk hero, revered for having been a revolutionary freedom fighter, a compassionate egalitarian and a successful politician. He is credited with the liberation from Spanish colonial yoke of Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia, a country named after him. Venezuela’s new strongman, Hugo Chavez, renamed his country The Bolivarian republic of Venezuela to reflect the role of his “Bolivarian revolution”.

Yet, while alive, Bolivar was a much hated dictator and – at the beginning of his career – a military failure.

His aide and friend, Gen. Daniel O’Leary, an Irish soldier described him so:

“His chest was narrow, his figure slender, his legs particularly thin. His skin was swarthy and rather coarse. His hands and feet were small .a woman might have envied them. His expression, when he was in good humor, was pleasant, but it became terrible when he was aroused. The change was unbelievable.”

Bolivar explained his motives:

“I confess this (the coronation of Napoleon in 1804) made me think of my unhappy country and the glory which he would win who should liberate it”

And, later, after a victory against the Spaniards in 1819:

“The triumphal arches, the flowers, the hymns, the acclamations, the wreaths offered and placed upon my head by the hands of lovely maidens, the fiestas, the thousand demonstrations of joy are the least of the gifts that I have received,” he wrote. “The greatest and dearest to my heart are the tears, mingled with the rapture of happiness, in which I have been bathed and the embraces with which the multitude have all but crushed me.”

Venezuela became independent in 1811 and Bolivar, being a minor – though self-aggrandizing – political figure, had little to do with it. After his first major military defeat, in defending the coastal town of Puerto Cabello against royalist insurgents out to oust the newly independent Venezuela, he advocated the creation of a professional army (in the Cartagena Manifesto). Far from being a revolutionary he, justly, opposed the reliance on guerrilleros and militiamen.

He then reconquered Caracas, Venezuela’s capital, at the head of a small army and declared himself a dictator. He made Congress award him the title of El Libertador (the Liberator). The seeds of his personality cult were sown. When he lost Caracas to the royalists in yet another botched campaign, he retreated and captured Bogot


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