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Week 4 – Independence Narratives, Past and Present

After completing the readings, a sense of inconclusiveness lingers over me. Honestly, it’s an impressive mix of feelings. 

From my maternal side of my family, I have been spoken to about “El Libertador” and his vision to unite Venezuela and Colombia as well as other countries in South America, since I was a little girl. And it is generally understood that his vision was an overall good one, an aspiration that is meant to be beneficial. However, my mother did always mention that though the ambition was a good one, a war always results in deaths, and as a result there were many lives taken in the midst. I want to mention this because I didn’t experience that idealization of Simon Bolivar. 

Unfortunately, at my figurative ‘dinner table’ politics are rarely talked about because my family is very passionate about our differing opinions. I have heard the spiel of Hugo Chavez’s Revolucion Bolivariana countless times, yet still I strongly oppose it. I have very intense thoughts towards the government of Venezuela, so I can tell that I am very biased towards Chavez’s speech. Frankly, I morally find it difficult to not discredit the speech just because it comes from his. It’s upsetting to see how Chavez misinterprets(uses) Simon Bolivar’s vision to create a plan that has only devastated an entire country. Of course, Bolivar did have many flaws and the idolizing of him, which is frequently seen throughout many places in South America, is not ideal. In fact, the quick idolizing of any historical/political figure readily happens across Latin America, and that perhaps has to do with the struggle of using the past to create a narrative for the present. 

I found Calle 13’s music video, “Latinoamerica” quite profound because I understood it as a reminder that it is impossible to think of Latin America without its people. Consequently, as the many theories, plans, revolutions, etc. pan out and are discussed, it is forgotten there are actual people at the receiving end. It heartbreaking to see how a government’s ideology can be placed at the expense of the people of a country.


Question: Taking into account the current situations of the countries, would Bolivar still see uniting into “La Gran Colombia” as something advantageous?

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