Venezuela Celebrates 230 Years of the Birth of Sim?n Bol?var
The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela celebrates 230 years of the birth of El Libertador Simón Bolívar today. One of Venezuela’s founding fathers, he was born on July 24, 1783 in Caracas. Bolívar was lauded both for his military and political acumen, and he led the independence movement against the Spanish Empire, through which he liberated Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela, founded Bolivia and created Gran Colombia. In 1813, he was bestowed with the honorific title El Libertador (The Liberator).
Historian Alexander Torres believes the Bolivar’s thoughts, 230 years after his birth, are still relevant today. “Bolívar’s significance cannot be disputed, especially in this period of profound change in Venezuela as well as in our America.”
“I believe we have to revive Bolívar, that Bolívar who is not on a pedestal, who is not a bronze statue or words on a page, and who became part of the people,” Torres said.
According to him, today’s celebrations and the meaning behind them were redeemed by President Hugo Chávez. “One of the most positive things of the past 15 years we owe to the political teachings of [President Chávez], and that is that we learned to see Simón Bolívar not as a dead thought … but as a motivation and inspiration for profound changes.”
“That Bolívar who was on pedestals, that Bolívar who was distant, edified, deified by the historiography of lackeys of the bourgeois has been changed into a Simón Bolívar who is closer, of the people,” he affirmed.
Chávez: A Fighter for the People
Another historian, Manuel Almeida, notes that for many “experts” it is a challenge to link the figure of Simón Bolívar to recent events, because it could stain his legacy. Nevertheless, in comparing the processes experienced in one area “and placing them in a historical context to understand our present, we can put history to real use.”
“There is no doubt, and it is demonstrable with facts, that what Bolívar proposed, in a specific moment with a certain historical context that was less challenging, Chávez implemented in a more adverse situation where we can see and feel that the most powerful empire in history was [working against him]. Where [this empire] deployed its strength to subjugate the Latin American peoples,” he said.
The figure of El Libertador is fundamental, according to Almeida, as a central ideological focus of the revolutionary process, as a fundamental idea in the struggle Venezuela faces, and “as a fundamental part of the image of our dignity.”
“We can speak of [having] dignity due to achieving independence, but we also due to our creation of a new representative process different from the bourgeois system of representation, and also due to continuity through time. The figure of Chávez and Bolívar are two important persons in our process of independence,” he explained.
The wake left by Bolívar in Venezuela is, without a doubt, one of the most important events in our history of independence. Today, 230 years after the birth of El Libertador, his figure is redeemed by having part of his legacy implemented, and by the continuation of the fight for independence, established as the first strategic goal in the Plan for the Nation (the Venezuelan government’s plan for 2013-19) written by President Hugo Chávez.
YVKE Mundial / Press – Venezuelan Embassy to the U.S. / July 24, 2013