Week 4

Posted by in Week 4

Un pueblo sin piernas pero que camina. The metaphors continue. There is something captivating about Latin American tendencies to mesh art with politics, aestheticism with power. Martí’s eloquence places him firmly in this tradition. Chávez is decidedly not a poet. Yet his 2004 speech pursues the same themes as those of Martí and Bolívar in his demand for independence for Latin American nations (or nations of “the South”). It would be important, here, to characterize “independence” and how it has been conceived of over time.

It is hard not being critical in analyzing Bolívar and Martí’s stances on the topic. Their (narrow) notions of independence are linked to their narrow conception of the Latin American patria and history. “Gobernante, en un pueblo nuevo, quiere decir creador;” underlying assumptions that the “new governor” of the “new nation,” here, can only represent, in all their “creativity,” those who represent the colonial histories of the Americas. The ancient and first peoples are excluded, or at least inconsequential, to the new emerging Latin America. In terms of interest, it is not surprising that those who garnered most privilege from the colonial system are the ones tasked with “creating” a newly “independent” America. Was Latin American not independent before the Iberian conquests? Can colonialism reconcile with independence? What does this mean for the 19th century’s decidedly colonial promise of independence?