Bolivar (was: Re: Former Nepali PM blames Palace, India for coddling Maoists)

fajardos at fajardos at
Sat Sep 8 11:23:53 MDT 2001

Ricardo Figueroa wrote:
> To S Chatterjee:
> Even though you claim that Marx and Engels had an
> international perspective, they made remarks about
> Latin America that makes me pissed as a Latin
> American.  He critized Simon Bolivar(one of the
> liberators of the continent) and said that Latin
> Americans should be "confined to another hundred years
> of slavery".

Why the hell shouldn't Bolivar be criticized?  Sure, he had a vision of
a united Latin America that has been titillating and elusive to
generations since, but his vision was not of a united Latin America, but
of a Gran Colombia and he was unwilling to brook any dissenstion with
that vision.  Gran Colombia, it turned out, was not be a voluntary
association but a union to be maintained by war on any part that thought
of going its own way if things were not as they had expected.

Add to that, Bolivar's treatment of the populations he was supposedly
liberating.  San Martin, on his march nortward from Argentina, via
Chile, had abolished slavery and Indian servitude on the latifundia.
Bolivar, sent San Martin packing, and promptly reinstated both forms of
forced labor.  So much for the "Great Liberator."

As for Marx, he also criticized Bolivar for ...well...essentially, for
cowardice, citing several examples in which Bolivar fled the scene via
the backdoor and left his subalterns and soldiers holding the bag
against the Spanish and shouldering the blame for defeat, especially if
they were rivals of his.

Look up Marx's article for the New American Cyclopedia, "Bolivar y
Ponte" for the specifics of Marx's critique.  Its is available online in
Spanish at


Juan Rafael Fajardo Hathhorn
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