Tuesday, May 14, 2019
The reason the disenfranchised in Venezuela cling to Maduro is because they feel they can trust him – he is one of them. Maduro is a Mestizo Venezuelan, that is, he is from a group of people that are a combination of European, Amerindian, and African ancestries decent. They are the largest group in Venezuela and the poorest. The other prominent, but smaller group, is composed of people who are called Creoles. They identify as Europeans, or primarily identify with their European descent. The Creoles led the revolution that led to the expulsion of the colonial regime from Spanish America in the early 19the century. Prior to the Bolivarian Revolution they were considered second class citizens. Yet after independence (including Mexico, Peru and elsewhere), Creoles entered the ruling class. “They were generally conservative and cooperated with the higher clergy, the army, large landowners, and, later foreign investors”. ( ).
Simón Bolívar, who began the Bolivarian Revolution, was a rich Creole. However, he had the good fortune to become acquainted with Alexander Von Humboldt, a German scientist who first began to recognize that the earth was one living eco-system and wrote volumes about this. Contemporary author Andrea Wulf, in her book The Invention of Nature, talks about how Bolivar had always been attuned to the power and beauty of nature, especially the natural wonders of his home country of Venezuela. It was through the love of nature in his homeland that Bolivar began to love the Mestizo people who he recognized as being terribly enslaved and mistreated in the Spanish colonies of South America. He decided to do something about it.
Bolívar began what became known as the Bolivarian Revolution. It was a fight for freedom and justice, a fight to end slavery of all kinds. The revolution spread through many regions of South America, and by the end of 1819:
“Bolivar drove his entire army with single-minded determination from Angostura across the continent towards the Andes to free New Granada. His troops consisted of Paez’s horsemen, Indians, freed slaves, mestizos, creoles, women and children… There were also many British veterans who had joined Bolivar at the end of the Napoleonic Wars when hundreds of thousands of soldiers had returned home from the battlefield with no jobs or income…..In December Quito and Venezuela joined new Granada to form the new Republic of Gran Colombia with Bolivar as President.” (Wulf, 2015)