Week 4 – Independence Narratives, Past and Present

What I found to be particularly interesting after reading the writings of Dawson, Bolívar, Martí and Chávez, was the recurring themes that each of the writers were expressing in their works. Even though Chávez was from a much more modern perspective than the others, he nonetheless references the thoughts of Bolívar on Latin America’s destiny for greatness whilst concentrating more on the detrimental effect of Neoliberalism. Chávez also took Bolívar’s basic ideas and spun them in a more nationalist way of thinking, which I think was more appealing to the Venezuelan people at this time. Whilst all of them continually reference the fact that the colonialists were underestimating the people over which they ruled. Martí’s writing was very appealing due to the stirring nature of his will that all Latin America needed was a passionate community instilled with togetherness, and this could be the catalyst for change. I also was curious in Martí’s idea that a ruler or ruling must entail a deep understanding and familiarity of the local people’s culture and society in order for it to remain successful.

On the subject of independence, it was interesting to learn about all the violence and instability that became of Latin America as a result of Spanish rule reaching its conclusion. I would assume, as I’m sure many would, that with the end of their rule over the region that there would have been a period of stability and neutrality. It is interesting to ask oneself at this point in time whether governance and politics in general would have been improved in Latin America if they had been influenced by the spread of liberalism, in the same way, that Europe had been at this time. Furthermore, I believe it could be said that Bolívar simply put too much of his concentration on the process and getting to the point of independence, rather than what would have to be done after this was achieved. It was because of these reasons that he saw his much-craved independence not reach the heights he had dreamed of.

Lastly from this week, I thoroughly enjoyed reading and learning about the successful Haitian revolution that took place from 1791. After reading of it initially in the syllabus of this week, I then did some further research on the internet and found that it is increasingly being defined by teachers and historians as the turning point of racism in Europe, Africa and the Americas. By initially expelling the French colonists, and then continually defending their freedom, it is remarkable how such a small country managed to be the catalyst for such great change.

Thanks for reading,


1 thought on “Week 4 – Independence Narratives, Past and Present

  1. Lauren Hart

    Hey Antonin, I thought you had a really thorough and well articulated post. I also became interested in the Haitian revolution after reading about it and would like to learn more about it. I found myself more attracted to Chavez’s speech than Marti’s “Our America” for the reason that you described as Marti’s short-sightedness with only hoping so far as achieving Independence. That being said, I did also really like Marti’s idea that one must know the place he/she is trying to govern, otherwise it is a failed project.


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