Week 4: Independence Narratives, Past and Present

To learn that Haiti was one of the first countries to win their independence was a surprise to me. If I was ever asked which countries in Latin America I would have thought won their independence first, I would have responded with countries like Chile, Peru or maybe even Argentina. I remember being part of monthly and yearly fundraisers for the poor schools in Haiti when I was in elementary school, hearing how rich the country was almost two hundred years ago and how it flourished by producing two fifths of the world’s sugar and half the world’s coffee was a real astonishment for me. Where did it go so wrong for Haiti?

Having no background information or understanding of the true situation at the time of Simon Bolivar’s letter, I would say that I agree with many of his opinions and ideas. Being governed by another country an ocean away seems like a foolish notion, but was their reality. Bolivar naturally angered, feels helpless because they are “no better than that of serfs destined for labor” and is why he became the great liberator.

Another interesting facet from this week’s reading was when Dawson pointed out that the Mexicans used the painting of the Virgin of Guadeloupe for their rebellion. It is ironic because this saint is supposed to represent peace and non-violence, yet, is pointedly used as a symbol for the Mexican rebellion.

One thing that really struck me when I first began reading Hugo Chavez’s speech at the opening of the G-15 Summit, was the date. This speech is fairly recent, being only twelve years old, compared to earlier readings in past weeks, and that is interesting because when I think of the history of Latin America, I never really imagined reading a speech from a man who only passed away a couple of years ago.

~Austin Chang

One thought on “Week 4: Independence Narratives, Past and Present

  1. I agree with the surprise of finding out that Haiti was the first country to get independence, who would of thought? Also, I think that your idea of how the Virgin of Guadeloupe was used as a symbol of revolution when it symbolized peace was interesting. I think it was away for them to say that here is a symbol of Christianity that even the Europeans accepted, and then saying it has the face of a Latino. It was their way of validating themselves in the eyes of their conquerors.

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