Military Review

Bolivar. Why are his ideas still relevant

24 July 1783 of the year, 235 years ago, was born Simon Bolivar - a man who in many ways turned history New World. His contribution to the transformation of the Spanish colonies into sovereign states is enormous, and a number of countries in South America keep the memory of Bolivar in its names and national symbols, not to mention the numerous museums and streets named after the general. For Latin America, Bolivar’s figure is no less, if not more significant, than his contemporary Napoleon Bonaparte for Europe. Moreover, Bolivar was not only a commander and political leader, but also one of the ideologues of Latin American sovereignty.

Simon Bolivar (his full name is Simon José Antonio de la Santisima Trinidad Bolivar de la Concepcion-e-Ponte Palacios y Blanco) was born in Caracas - now the capital of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, and then the city was part of the general captaincy Venezuela. The Bolivar family moved to South America not so long ago. The father of the future fighter for the independence of the Spanish colonies was a Basque by nationality, a native of the city of La Puebla de Bolivar in Biscay. Having lost his parents early, Simon Bolivar remained under the care of relatives, who sent him to Spain to study in 1799. There the young man mastered the subtleties of jurisprudence, then moved to France, where he attended lectures at the Polytechnic and Higher Normal Schools in Paris.

Bolivar. Why are his ideas still relevant

In 1805. 22-year-old Bolivar visited the United States. It was during his trip to North America that he finally became firmly established in his views - to seek the liberation of South America from Spanish rule at any cost. The example of the United States at that time inspired many Latin American revolutionaries, and this was not surprising, since the American colonists managed not only to free themselves from the power of Great Britain, but also to create a fully-fledged and rapidly developing state. However, in Venezuela, which was native to Bolivar, the situation was radically different from that in North America.

The bulk of the population of the Spanish general captaincy were Indians, mestizos and African slaves, and the white Creoles were a minority. The overwhelming majority of the Venezuelan population lived in poverty and was concerned not with the struggle for independence, but with elementary survival. Nevertheless, Bolivar and the other young Creoles were well aware that liberation from Spain would give at least a chance for improving the social, political and economic position of Venezuela and of South America as a whole.

As is known, the beginning of the armed struggle of the Latin American countries for independence was largely approximated by turbulent events in Europe. After the Spanish monarchy collapsed under the blows of Napoleon’s troops, most of the possessions of the Spanish crown in South America refused to recognize the authority of Joseph Bonaparte, proclaimed by the Spanish king. 19 April 1810, the city council of Caracas - the main city of the captaincy-general of Venezuela - has displaced captain-general Vicente Emparana. In Venezuela, a civil war began. Gradually, the ideas of full independence, dominated by Francisco de Miranda and Simon Bolivar, prevailed in the Congress of the Venezuelan provinces. At that time, Bolivar was under the enormous influence of the ideas of the French Enlightenment and was convinced that the declaration of independence would be the first step towards building a just society.

5 July 1811, Venezuela declared its political independence from Spain. However, the civil war between supporters of independence and the troops, loyal to the Spanish crown, continued. 25 July 1812, Francisco de Miranda was forced to sign an armistice, giving the royalist leader Captain Domingo de Monteverde.

However, Simon Bolivar and his supporters did not intend to stop the resistance. They moved to neighboring New Granada (now Colombia), where they continued fighting. In New Granada, an independent state was proclaimed - the United Provinces of New Granada. However, in February, 1815. Spain sent General Pablo Morillo's powerful expeditionary force to South America. Simon Bolivar fled to Jamaica, without losing hope for a speedy resumption of hostilities. And he really succeeded. Bolivar persuaded Haitian President Alexander Petion to provide him with military assistance, which soon allowed him to land on the Venezuelan coast. In 1816, Bolivar announced the abolition of slavery in Venezuela, which attracted numerous yesterday's slaves to its army.

In 1819, the troops under the command of Bolivar liberated New Granada. It was proclaimed the creation of a new state - the Republic of Colombia, which included the territories of modern Colombia and Venezuela, and in 1822 - the territory of Ecuador (Quito), where Spanish rule was also overthrown. 24 June 1821, the Bolivarian army inflicted a severe defeat on the Spanish forces in the Battle of Carabobo; in 1822, the Bolivar troops took part in the liberation of Peru, where the last Spanish troops in southern America were defeated in December 1824. Bolivar became the dictator of Peru and the ruler of the new republic of Bolivia named after him.

The idea of ​​Simon Bolivar’s whole life was not only the liberation of South America from Spanish domination, but also the formation of the Southern United States, which included Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, La Plata (Argentina) and Chile. 22 June 1826 was convened in Panama by a congress of representatives of the South American republics, but the participants did not reach a common denominator. Unlike the idealist Bolivar, the more practical Republican elites did not want to share their abilities and powers. Moreover, Simon Bolivar was accused of imperial ambitions and the desire to become the sole ruler of South America.

The Peruvians took Simon’s status of a lifelong president of the republic, and on September 25 1828, his opponents broke into Bolivar’s residence in Bogota. The commander was saved by a miracle, but since he enjoyed considerable popular support, he managed to retain power and suppress the speeches of his opponents. But the dream of creating a single South American state became less and less realistic. 25 November 1829 of the year Venezuela announced its separation from Colombia, and Bolivar resigned in 1830 and 17 December 1830 died at his home near the city of Santa Marta in Colombia.

The life of Simon Bolivar, full of heroism - a civilian, still in his youth, without any military education, who became a commander and general and smashed Spanish expeditionary forces, turned out to be tragic. No, he died his own death, was not killed, but that idea, whose loyalty he kept his entire adult life - the idea of ​​uniting South America into a single and strong state, perished before his eyes. Bolivar is said to have won 472 battles. Probably, it is impossible to count all the genuine victories of the troops commanded by this extraordinary man. But it is not so important. Bolivar is one of the most revered historical political figures in South America, whose popularity can be compared only with the popularity of Ernesto Che Guevara. In honor of Bolivar named the whole country - Bolivia. The name "Bolivar" is the national currency of Venezuela, and in Bolivia, the monetary unit is called "Boliviano". In honor of Bolivar named the strongest Bolivian football club. The provinces, cities, streets in various countries of South America carry the name of the legendary commander.

Bolivar became the man who laid the foundations of the future Latin American anti-imperialist ideology, which Fidel Castro, and Ernesto Che Guevara, and Hugo Chavez professed in various variations, and which many modern Latin American leaders continue to adhere to. Social justice, independence from external forces, the unification of South American republics that are linguistically and culturally close are the cornerstone pillars on which Latin American patriotism is based today.

What is the essence of Bolivarianism (Bolivarism) as a political ideology? Let's start with the fact that interest in the figure of Simon Bolivar and his political legacy seriously increased at the end of the twentieth century, when left governments took power in a number of Latin American countries. Despite the fact that two centuries have passed since the time of Simon Bolivar’s life and struggle, many of his ideas still remain relevant, and if they are followed and put into practice, the situation in Latin American countries can really change.

Back in 1970 - 1980 - s. in Venezuela, the formation of Bolivarism began as a modern political concept proclaiming continuity in relation to the ideas of Simon Bolivar. The main ideologue of the concept of Bolivarism was the young paratrooper officer Hugo Chavez, who served in one of the special forces of the Venezuelan army in the fight against partisans. At that time, government forces fought against the communist rebels, and Chavez's division was specifically against the Red Flag Party, a Stalinist rebel organization focused on the experience of Albanian Hoxhaism. As you know, the enemy must be known in person, so Hugo Chavez began to study left-wing literature and gradually penetrated to the left ideas with great sympathy. He, like many other young Venezuelan officers, was very annoyed by the situation when, in oil-rich Venezuela, the majority of the population lived in abject poverty and the country remained a semi-colony of the United States. At the beginning of the 1980's Chavez, remaining in military service, founded the underground organization Bolivarian Revolutionary Army-200, which was later renamed the Revolutionary Bolivarian Movement-200.

In fact, in its modern interpretation, Bolivarism is one of the ideologies of the “third way”, seeking the “golden mean” between the Soviet model of socialism and Western capitalism. According to supporters of the Bolivarian concept, a fair economy must be humanistic, self-governing and competitive. That is, the head of the economy should be a person, to the satisfaction of the interests and needs of which all the efforts of the state should be directed. Creating decent living conditions is indeed a very relevant goal in South America.

In countries rich in natural resources, with a good climate and a favorable geographical location, the majority of the population lives in adverse conditions, which is associated with the presence of foreign capital, pulling all the juice, and corruption, greed of the local elite. In order to ensure a decent standard of living for a person, the Bolivarian concept proposes the development of cooperation, associations and artels that would contribute to additional employment and the emergence of new income opportunities. But the products created by such enterprises should be competitive at the global and regional levels, which can be ensured only under the condition of scientific and technological development and productivity growth.

When Hugo Chavez came to power in Venezuela, he really did his best to fix the lives of ordinary Venezuelans. But, as we know, the miracle did not happen. Now Chavez is no longer alive, and Venezuela is experiencing many socio-economic problems. But the Venezuelan leadership’s fault in this is minimal — the country has become the victim of an aggressive US sanctions policy. The balance of forces turned out to be extremely uneven, so Washington was able to quickly achieve complete economic suppression of Venezuela.

Of course, the United States is trying with all its might to prevent major political and economic changes in South America, because they see them as a very serious threat to the current world order. Ever since the 19th century, the American elites considered the entire New World to be their regular sphere of influence, exploiting the natural resources of South and Central America and striving to fully control the political situation in the countries of the region.

However, US domination in the New World cannot remain forever, if only because South and Central America have higher population growth, the countries of the region are young and developing economies. Who knows whether the stars will converge in the foreseeable future so that the dream of Simon Bolivar will become a reality and South America will not only become an economically prosperous region of the planet, but also move to a model of maximum integration at the interstate level.

By the way, if we ignore the Latin American specifics, many of the provisions of Bolivarism are excellent for other regions of the planet. Independence from American imperialism and its financial institutions, the development of a socially oriented economy, concern for the well-being of its citizens - do these principles diverge from the outlines of the future that every true patriot of his country would like for his homeland, whether it is in South America or Eurasia.

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  1. Vard
    Vard 24 July 2018 06: 28
    How much life in the whole world would change ... If a volcano woke up ...
    1. Reptiloid
      Reptiloid 24 July 2018 18: 59
      Quote: Vard
      How much life in the whole world would change ... If a volcano woke up ...
      let him wake up, but not much.
  2. Gnefredov
    Gnefredov 24 July 2018 06: 32
    Two hundred years ago, Bolivar understood very well that power is in unification. It is curious that both then and now, local elites adhere to the exact opposite point of view. They would have to crush everything and divide, if only to "remain the main village prince". Separate do not collect, and break not build. What a paradox full of world we live in winked
  3. Kamaz
    Kamaz 24 July 2018 06: 42
    Well, all the same, much has been achieved here to unite South America in the economic profile, the so-called MERCOSUR. Without visa travel between countries, tax simplification and a lot of any trade simplifications. Now, for example, the deplorable situation of Venezuela is very much in the hands of Argentina, whose very large tide of Venezuelan specialists in Argentina is always in short supply
  4. Brutan
    Brutan 24 July 2018 09: 02
    Actual article, and Latin America will still become a powerful economic locomotive of not only regional, but also global scale.
    And the ideology laid down by Bolivar, developed by Chavez, will become an important foundation
    1. Alber
      Alber 24 July 2018 23: 29
      Quote: Brutan
      Latin America will become a powerful economic locomotive of not only regional, but also global scale.
      And the ideology laid down by Bolivar, developed by Chavez, will become an important foundation

      M-yes! Hugo Chavez was a real man in Venezuela
  5. Weyland
    Weyland 24 July 2018 11: 23
    The bulk of the population of Spanish general capitals were Indians, Mestizos, and African slaves, and White Creoles were a minority.
    Only now, the author does not write that Bolivar was supported only by Creoles (and after his edict on the abolition of slavery - former slaves), while Indians and Métis were on the side of the legitimate authority. The situation is one-on-one with Pin.dostan - there, too, during the "war of independence" the Iroquois fought for the king for the most part, realizing that it was better for them (it should be noted that in Canada the position of the Indians at least until the middle of the XNUMXth century was much better than in Pin.dostan)!
  6. mmaxx
    mmaxx 24 July 2018 15: 45
    All this can be right. For Hispanics.
    But Britain, at the same time, was fighting for markets. And she decided to spud the Spanish Empire. Britain, of course, was not allowed to enter her markets. So Bolivar was chosen. Where did he get the money? From the English pockets. The unity of the American people of the British did not care at all. Because he was gone.
    Suffice it to recall the Paraguayan war. Paraguay has decided to boost its economy. Yeah, right now. So they gave him. They gave money to his enemies and destroyed Paraguay.
    There is a monument to Simon Bolivar in London. And his words of gratitude are written on it. Something like: "Britain has always been a supporter of freedom around the world and helped everyone who was for freedom."
    After seeing it and reading to me personally, after that a lot became clear.
    The Spanish Empire is neither the first nor the last. There was still China. They tried with Russia many times.
    Fortunately, the British and the United States and the Soviet Union were dismantled using the same methods. USSR for ideological reasons, and the United States for the same. The need to open markets.
    And Latin America still eke out a semi-colonial existence. And the Anglo-Saxons immediately stop any attempts at least somehow these countries to escape from this dependent existence.
    Such is the personality of Simon Bolivar. On the one hand, a liberator from the yoke, and on the other, a simple English hired man. Did the thing - move over. Now serious people will do business.
    In general, the history of Latin America is the history of such contradictions.
    1. mmaxx
      mmaxx 24 July 2018 16: 05
      I searched. The inscription is: "I am convinced that only England is able to protect the rights of the world, since it is great, glorious and wise."
      Over time, memory failed a bit. I had to be there in 2007 and since then I haven’t gone there.
  7. Altona
    Altona 24 July 2018 20: 29
    Quote: mmaxx
    But Britain, at the same time, was fighting for markets. And she decided to spud the Spanish Empire. Britain, of course, was not allowed to enter her markets. So Bolivar was chosen. Where did he get the money? From the English pockets. The unity of the American people of the British did not care at all.

    Yes, actually, hardly one devil is better than another, Spanish or English? The situation is the same in the Middle East, where Arabs wanted to create a single Arab state, but the British and French cut the Middle East into separate states-Syria, Iraq, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Yemen, Tunisia, Libya, Palestine and Israel of course .. . And with such a bouquet of states the Middle East has turned out. The USSR was divided into 15 states along administrative borders and immediately recognized the "independence" of the separated. Also Yugoslavia. The scheme is the same everywhere.
    1. EvilLion
      EvilLion 25 July 2018 17: 02
      About the USSR is not even funny. In fact, the USSR was a confederation, and after the WWII and the February Revolution, RI without any republics similar to the state crumbled instantly, they were able to assemble only by proposing an idea that was more attractive than cave nationalism.

      What Arabs wanted to create there, start digging ... By the way, they standardize the language, all printing is in standard Arabic.
  8. VladGashek
    VladGashek 24 July 2018 23: 25
    Parochialism, or Russian estate, is the main danger to progress. Bolivar understood this very well. He strove to realize the idea of ​​the unity of the Latin American world. What we see now, small or large government education is not able to solve development problems. Obey the world imperial powers, it does not matter whether China, the states, the European Union, their task is to solve their problems at the expense of the Latinos. In the Russian Federation the same situation. The imperial USSR or the Russian Empire is destroyed. A Westernized elite has come to power, which does not care about the problems of our country. The meaning of Bolivirism: unity, progress, justice and freedom.
    1. mmaxx
      mmaxx 25 July 2018 10: 15
      Bolivar is also a Basque, it turns out. And those have an ardent love for the Spaniards.
      1. EvilLion
        EvilLion 25 July 2018 17: 03
        And the desire to fight, but to rob.
  9. tiaman.76
    tiaman.76 April 12 2020 08: 33
    and that not one word about the fact that his 2 thirds of the army were Irish and English mercenaries ... this "uprising" was sponsored by England ... naturally on his own terms ... and this "hero" himself was a landowner and a slave owner ... the abolition of slavery was only nominal former slaves were turned into tenants on enslaving terms ..
  10. Graduate student
    Graduate student 29 December 2020 17: 40
    The father of the future fighter for the independence of the Spanish colonies was a Basque

    That says a lot. And first of all it answers the question why Bolivar wanted to free himself from the rule of Spain.